Vegan Sweet & Sour Meatballs are my favorite game day or party appetizer. They’re super tasty, easy to make, gluten-free and also FUN. Plus they have the PERFECT texture so everyone will love them….even meat eaters. Put some toothpicks out and call it finger food!
This recipe has everything I would look for in a healthy appetizer: Gluten-free. Refined sugar-free. Vegan. Plenty of protein and fiber…all that and tasty too!
Ingredients for Gluten-free “Meat”balls
- Chickpeas: for plant-based protein and hiber
- Fresh Parsley: add taste, color and super green nutrition.
- Tomato paste: bring on the authentic meatball color
- Ground flax seeds: a healthier choice than bread crumbs…they add fiber and omega 3s.
- Old fashioned oats: An excellent whole grain, gluten-free choice for a binder….with plenty of fiber to make them low on the glycemic index.
- Shallots: hello flavor…and a bit milder than onions.
- garlic: more flavor, plus antioxidants and it’s anti-inflammatory too.
- Spices: oregano, crushed red pepper, white pepper, sea salt
Easy Vegan Meatballs
- Use a fork or potato masher to mash beans with other ingredients.
3. Next, wet your hands to roll vegan meatballs into smooth rounds.
4. Bake in preheated oven…and BAM…just like that, they’re done. So easy…and you can make the sauce while they’re baking.
What to serve with vegan meatballs:
Although I absolutely adore these with sweet and sour sauce, and served with toothpicks as healthy finger food, there are myriad ways we enjoy these plant-based meatballs in our house:
- Make them larger (you’ll get about 18) and serve with tomato sauce and zoodles for a super nourishing spaghetti and meatballs.
- Meatball subs anyone?
- Keep them “naked” (without sauce) and crumble over salad for a plant based protein topping.
- Make them even smaller and pop them on your pizza.
- They’re delish as part of a buddha bowl…..I like to include some baba ganoush, and a chopped salad with mine.
- Divide into 6 portions, flatten them out and bake as directed for delicious veggie burgers.
- Cook them in mushroom stroganoff for a vegan swedish meatball vibe. YUM!
- Serve them over rice or a basic cauli-rice for a delicious Meatless Monday Dinner idea.
A healthy appetizer that everyone will love.
Nutritious and Delicious aren’t mutually exclusive. Take these vegan sweet and sour meatballs for example. While they may not have any actual meat in them, they resemble something familiar to most people with a sauce that is delicious. Some people will appreciate how healthy they are, others will appreciate how tasty they are. Either way, I promise, people will eat them, and enjoy them.
Healthy food doesn’t have to be complicated or something you save for when you’re home alone. If you want healthy options when you go to someone else’s house, THEN BRING SOME HEALTHY FOOD WITH YOU TO SHARE.
Vegan Sweet and Sour Meatballs
- 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons flax meal ground flax seeds
- ¼ cup water
- 15 oz can chickpeas rinsed and drained
- ½ cup ground oatmeal
- 3 cloves garlic pressed
- 1 shallot minced
- ¼ cup fresh parsley chopped
- 1 teaspoons dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ½ teaspoon white pepper
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
Sweet & Sour Sauce
- ½ cup tomato paste
- ⅓ cup pineapple juice
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 2 Tablespoons arrowroot powder
- ¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- Mix tomato paste, olive oil, flax meal and water. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350. Line a small rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set aside.
- Mash chick peas with fork or potato masher. Mix in tomato mixture, oats, garlic, shallot, herbs and spices until well blended
- Use a small scoop or spoon to dish out 30 “meat” balls onto prepared pan. Wet hands and roll into balls.
- Bake 25 minutes, until firm.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce. In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together all ingredients. Continue to whisk as sauce begins to thicken. This will take about 5 minutes. You do not need to whisk constantly, but just enough so that sauce doesn’t boil or thicken inconsistently.
- When meatballs are done baking, add to the sauce and cook for about 5 minutes. Serve warm with toothpicks as an appetizer; or serve over rice or spaghetti squash as a main meal.
- MAKE AHEAD: Store cooked “meat” balls (without sauce) in the fridge for up to one week or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw and then gently reheat on the stove in the sauce for about 10 minutes, until warmed through.