Vegan Meatballs (Keto & GF)

16 servings
40 min

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Finally! Vegan meatballs that are also low-carb! These little plant-based balls of yum are keto-friendly, gluten-free and have a perfect meat-replacing texture. Packed with flavour and nutrients, they’re sure to be a huge hit with the whole family!


The recipe comes together in about 40 minutes and makes enough to serve up to five people. Feeding a smaller group? No problem! Freeze your leftovers and thaw them overnight in the fridge whenever you’re ready to serve again.

I’ve been a “mostly vegetarian” for close to a decade now. I do my best to stick to a predominantly plant-based diet. But, after discovering a sensitivity to lentils, chickpeas and almost every grain under the sun, I struggled to find a plant-based meatball that agreed with my system.



Most vegan meatball recipes include some combination of lentils, legumes and grains. And, in my experience, the ones that don’t tend to have a crumbly consistency that just doesn’t hold together. So, I set out to develop a vegan meatball with a texture and consistency close to meat, without using any ingredients that caused me to have a reaction.

How to make keto vegan meatballs


Plant-based, Gut-happy Ingredients

The main ingredient in these keto vegan meatballs is quite simple- portobello mushrooms! When sautéed and blended, portobellos have an amazing consistency and flavour that lends itself really well to being a meat substitute.


To replace the texture that lentils or legumes bring to other plant-based meatballs, I opted to use chopped walnuts. The walnuts are sautéed and blended with the mushrooms, which brings out a nice toasty flavour while adding a bit of “crunch” to the consistency.


For gain-free, low-carb, binding ingredients, I experimented with a few different combinations. But, I had the most success, in terms of texture and taste, with using coconut flour and psyllium husk.


Finally, for that delicious meat-replacing flavour, I used onion, garlic, tomato paste, nutritional yeast, parsley, oregano and salt.


Sauté and Blend


To begin, you’ll chop the portobello mushrooms, walnuts, parsley, onion and garlic and throw everything in a large skillet to sauté. Once the mushrooms and onions are soft, and the walnuts are oily and fragrant, transfer all the ingredients to a food processor or high-speed blender. By the way- if you’re looking to invest in a high-speed blender, I own and highly recommend the Vitamix A3500!


The first time I made these, I blended the ingredients way too much. The second time around, I pulsed everything at a lower speed and was a lot happier with the consistency. It was enough to break down the mushrooms and some of the walnuts into a smooth texture, while leaving small pieces of walnut behind for delicious hits of crunch!


The photo below on the far right is the consistency you’re going for!


Roll, Pan-fry and Bake


Once the binding ingredients have been blended into the mixture, it actually becomes really easy to roll into balls- I normally get 16 from the recipe.


While your oven is preheating, give these vegan meatballs a quick fry in a skillet with some oil. They will start to slightly brown and seal. At this stage, the meatballs are still a bit delicate and malleable. Be careful when you’re moving them around in the pan so as not to break or misshape them.


Place the freshly fried vegan meatballs on a baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes at 400. They should come out browned and crispy, as pictured in the picture below on the right!

Serving ideas


Now that you have perfectly baked keto vegan meatballs, let’s talk about all the ways you can enjoy these delicious plant-based balls of nutrition!


I recently discovered a brand called Almond Love With that makes a gluten-free, low-carb pasta made from … you guessed it … almond flour!


The pasta has a nice chewy texture like a properly al dente pasta should, it’s super filling, and won’t leave you with that dreaded carb-o-bloat! Almond Love With only recently became available here in Canada, but it has quickly become a pantry staple for me! While not vegan (it contains egg whites), this pasta is a great gluten-free and keto option to serve with these plant-based meatballs!

If you’re looking for an entirely plant-based pairing option, I recommend using a spiralized vegetable! Zucchini, squash, beets and sweet potatoes are all awesome options. Hop over to my Zucchini Noodle Shrimp Scampi post for lessons in making pasta from veggies!


Not into pasta? Try these vegan meatballs on a bun as a sandwich. The very talented Paola of Gnom-Gnom has a Soft Gluten Free, Paleo & Keto Burger Bun that is fantastic! Top with your favourite sauce and toppings!

What to do with leftover vegan meatballs?


These vegan meatballs are SUPER dense and filling. At most, I’m able to finish three. So, I almost always have lots of leftovers.


You can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days without any problem. But, the great thing about these plant-based meatballs is that they also freeze really well!


To freeze, I place the meatballs in a large container and leave a bit of space between each so they don’t stick together. Then, the night before I want to serve them with dinner, I simply take out the amount I want and thaw in the fridge overnight. To reheat, you can either zap them for 1-2 minutes in the microwave, or add them to a pot on the stove with whatever sauce you’re using.

If you make these vegan meatballs, please rate them and add your comments below! I would love to hear how you served them!


Be sure to also tag @thebespokebites in your photos and videos on Instagram for a chance to be featured!


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Vegan Meatballs (Keto & GF)
Recipe details
  • 16  servings
  • Prep time: 15 Minutes Cook time: 25 Minutes Total time: 40 min
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Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 cups chopped portobello mushrooms (about 3 large caps)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup finely diced onion
  • 2 cups walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon psyllium husk powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Your favourite pasta sauce!
Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with tinfoil or coat with cooking spray.
Heat half the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high. Add chopped mushrooms, garlic, onion, walnuts and parsley to the pan and sauté until mushrooms are soft and onions are transluscent.
Transfer the mixture to a food processor or high speed blender. Add the coconut flour, tomato paste, nutritional yeast, psyllium husk powder, salt and oregano. Pulse until mixture is mostly smooth.
Transfer the blended mixture to a medium bowl for easy scooping. Heat the large frying pan over medium-low again and add the other half of the olive oil to coat the bottom.
Using your hands, roll mixture into 16 even meatballs and place them in the heated frying pan. Lightly fry the meatballs, rotating each to cover all sides; about 5 minutes total. Move the meatballs gently- they are a bit delicate until they’ve been baked and set.
Arrange the lightly fried meatballs on the lined baking sheet with some space between each and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Meatballs should be slightly crispy and browned on the outside.
Serve atop your favourite pasta alternative and cover with your favourite sauce!
Tips
  • *My preference is to blend the mixture until it is smooth enough to roll into balls and resemble meat, but still contains a few small pieces of walnuts for a bit of texture.
Kendall
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