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These quinoa meatballs are totally meatless but have the same great flavor and texture!
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4.55 from 20 votes

Quinoa Meatballs | Vegetarian "Meatball" Recipe

Flavorful and nutritious, these vegetarian "meatballs" are sure to be a hit at the dinner table.
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Diabetic-Friendly, Gluten-Free, Plant-Based, Vegetarian
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 291kcal
Author: Gale Compton


  • 1/2 cup quinoa dry, pre-rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup green lentils cooked, well drained
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 cup onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 cup gluten free bread crumbs or whole wheat panko bread crumbs (add additional bread crumbs if the meatballs need to be firmer and aren't holding together well)
  • 1/4 cup parmesan freshly grated
  • 1 tablespoon parsley leaves flat, freshly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon oregano freshly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 egg white (for vegan add 2-3 teaspoons water)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil


  • Add pre-rinsed quinoa and water to a medium pot, cover, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking 15 minutes or until water is completely absorbed. In the meantime, in a large non-stick skillet add 1 tablespoon olive oil, heat to medium-low and sauté diced onions and bell pepper until tender about 4 minutes, add garlic, parsley and oregano and sauté one additional minute.
  • Remove quinoa from heat and allow to rest 10 minutes. Press down on quinoa with a paper towel to remove any remaining water.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine sautéed onion, garlic, parsley and oregano along with remaining ingredients, except oil. Use either a potato masher or fork and mash the ingredients until the lentils are well mashed. Using your hands, shape into 1 ½ “ (meatless) meatballs, place in a large bowl, cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.
  • Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to a large non-stick skillet, heat to medium-low and add quinoa (meatless) meatballs. Brown meatballs, turn over and brown on the other side. Cook until browned and heated through, about 16 minutes. Remove from skillet and drain on a paper towel.
  • If you plan to serve these (meatless) meatballs with marinara, add to the marinara sauce, gently turn to coat. Simmer until hot and serve over pasta.
  • These are a perfect food to eat prior to working out as they provide complex carbohydrates for energy and protein for building muscles. When on hand, I’ll have a few before a workout.
  • TIP: For a vegan version, use vegan egg replacer or 1 tbsp of flax meal mixed with 3 tbsp water rather than the 2-3 teaspoons straight water.


Here's a tip from Joey, one of our readers:

"Instead of browning the meatballs in a skillet, I brushed them with olive oil and broiled them for about 15 minutes (flip meatballs after 7 minutes). Result is evenly browned meatballs."


Serving: 2meatballs | Calories: 291kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 309mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 2g |
SmartPoints (Freestyle): 5
SmartPoints (Freestyle): 5