vegetarian-meatballs 2OPTM

Who doesn’t like meatballs! Meatballs are so versatile and delicious. You can served them with rice, as an appetizer, on top of pasta, in sandwiches, and flavor them any way you like. You can even make them vegetarian! And let me confirm that vegetarian meatballs are far away from being yucky! Meat substitutes have come a long way since the first batch hit the market years ago, and they now taste pretty close to the real thing. But why vegetarian meatballs? What’s wrong with real meatballs (like these awesome Vietnamese beef meatballs)? Absolutely nothing! I was just in a mood to have a vegetarian meal. That’s all folks. 🙂


I don’t crave meat on a daily basis so coming up with recipes that are vegetarian and still filling (I hate feeling hungry an hour after having dinner!) is something I take very seriously! Okay, maybe not as serious as a New York Times headline, but definitely more seriously than discussing Drake’s reaction to Madonna’s opened mouth kiss. It’s nice to have a backup of good, solid recipes to rely on when my mind feels too tired to play Iron Chef in the kitchen.


This recipe for vegetarian meatballs is one I first created using real meat. I thought it was so yummy and flavorful (classic sweet and sour taste but with a teeny less sweetness) that I didn’t see the point in changing anything other than the protein used. The more I use fake meat and the more I realize there isn’t much of a difference between cooking vegetarian food and regular food. It can be just as delicious and comforting as a bowl of boeuf bourguignon or as sexy as tartare with caviar on top!

One egg is used in these vegetarian meatballs, so this recipe isn’t for strict vegetarians or vegans! But if you can make them entirely so, please let me know what you used as a substitute as I’d love to hear about it!

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Meatless Meatballs with Sweet & Sour Sauce

These Vegetarian Meatballs taste so close to the real thing, you won’t be able to tell the difference!

  • Author: Caroline Phelps
  • Prep Time: 8 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 2 people 1x
  • Category: main
  • Cuisine: American


  • 300 grams vegan ground beef
  • 1 thumb size ginger (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon corn or potato starch
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • black pepper
  • 23 tablespoons vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 stalk scallion (finely chopped)

Sweet and sour sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn or potato starch mixed with 3 tablespoons water


  1. Add all the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl and mix well using your fingers.
    NOTE: If you are using ground beef granules such as Gardein and Morning Star, briefly pulse the mixture in blender.
  2. Use a tablespoon to scoop up the mixture (this ensures all the meatballs will be the same size) and roll the mixture between your palms. Set the meatball aside on a plate and repeat the process until all the mixture has been used.
  3. In a large pan over medium high heat, add oil and after a minute, the meatballs. Fry for a few minutes on each side (for a total of 8-10 minutes) until the meatballs are cooked through.
  4. While the meatballs are cooking, add all the ingredients for the sauce- EXCEPT for the corn/potato starch mixture – into a bowl and mix well.
  5. Remove the meatballs and lay them on a paper towel to remove excess oil.
  6. Using the same pan over medium heat, add sauce mixture and stir for one minute. Add corn/potato starch and water mixture and cook for another minute or until sauce has thicken a little.
  7. Put the meatballs back into the pan and cook for a minute with the sauce, moving them around so all the sides are coated.
  8. Transfer the meatballs onto a plate or a bowl, sprinkle scallions on top and serve with warm rice.

Keywords: recipe, meatless meatballs

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