These easy Vegan Mushroom Meatballs is hearty and rich meatless recipe that is both healthy and delicious. Packed with comforting flavors and ready in under 1 hour, these gluten-free meatballs are perfect for meal prep or cozy family dinner.
Meatballs made without meat, egg, and dairy...is it even possible?
These dairy-free, savory Vegan Mushroom Meatballs are proof that you don't always need meat for a complete and satisfying meal.
It's one of the best vegan mushroom recipes and you'll see why.
This best vegan meatball recipe is long overdue. Since I started on a plant-based diet, mushrooms took on the best "meat" substitute for me.
I've been replacing all kinds of traditional meat recipes with mushrooms. Mushroom Bolognese or Chanterelle Stroganoff are among my favorites.
So finally the time has come to incorporate mushrooms in vegan balls, specifically rice-Portobello mushroom meatballs.
These plant-based meatballs are absolutely delicious, flavorful, and cozy. You'll love the thick tomato sauce that coats each meatball and you won't want to waste a single drop of it.
These best vegan meatballs are made with simple ingredients. In fact, you might already have them in your pantry. Here's a brief overview of the ingredients.
For the exact quantities, please look at the recipe card below.
- mushrooms. I made these vegetarian meatballs with the Portobello mushrooms, however, Button or Crimini mushrooms will work here as well
- rice - I recommend white Basmati rice
- onion - for the meatballs
- sauce ingredients - onion, carrot, garlic, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, Maple syrup and smoked paprika
- salt, pepper
- Cook rice
Start off with preparing the rice for the vegan meatballs. Rinse it one time with filtered water, add to a medium pot along with water and salt, and bring to a boil.
Give it a stir, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until rice absorbs all water is cooked about 15 minutes.
After that, transfer the rice to a medium or large bowl to cool. Note, that the rice is supposed to be a little sticky and gluey.
- Cook the onion and carrot
Heat olive in a large skillet and over medium heat. Add half of the minced onion, carrot and saute stirring from time to time for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.
- Cook the mushrooms
Add finely chopped mushrooms and cook on a high heat for about 5 minutes or until mushroom slightly brown. Transfer the veggies to a plate and wipe down the pan with a paper towel.
- Prepare the sauce
Heat olive oil in a large pan and over medium heat. Add the remaining onion, salt, and sauté stirring occasionally until the onion is translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine corn starch and water. Whisk in tomato sauce, all spices, Maple syrup, salt and pepper.
Add the tomato sauce to the sautéed onion and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the sauce slightly thickens. Adjust salt and pepper if needed.
Using an immersion or stand blender, blend the sauce until fewer veggie chunks remain.
- Combine rice and sauteed vegetables
In a large bowl add cooked rice and sautéed onion, carrot and mushrooms. Mix with a spoon for a few minutes until the mixture is slightly "sticky". That way you'll be able to easily shape it into the balls.
Note: It's very important that the rice is soft and gluey. If it doesn't look like it, add it to a food processor and pulse for a few seconds until desired consistency. After that you can mix the rice with the other ingredients.
Taste the mixture and adjust salt and pepper if needed.
- Shape the meatballs
Take about 1 heaping teaspoon of the mixture and using your hands shape into the meatballs. I recommend placing a bowl with clean water nearby so that you can dip you hands into the water after each meatball. I had about 29 meatballs.
Place vegetarian meatballs into the tomato sauce, simmer for 2 minutes and remove from the heat.
Sprinkle these easy free meatballs with some fresh parsley and serve as they are or over some pasta.
💭 Top tip
To speed up the process, I used two separate pans for sautéing the veggies and making the sauce. You can totally make everything in one pan.
After you the sautéed onion and mushrooms, I recommend transferring the vegetables to a separate plate, wipe the pan clean and continue on making the sauce.
📖 Frequently Asked Questions
Plant based meatballs can be made with a large variety of ingredients that don't include meat, eggs or dairy. Some of these ingredients are lentils, beans, quinoa or eggplant.
I love using mushrooms in vegetarian meatballs recipes since they're packed with flavor and nutrients. In addition, mushrooms have a "meaty" texture which helps make the vegan balls delicious even for non-vegans.
Cooked rice helps the meatballs hold their shape and not fall apart. The trick is to overcook the rice slightly making it sticky and gluey. If your rice is fluffy, you'll have to use a vegan binding agent in a form of chia seeds or flax egg.
Yes! Make sure to freeze the sauce and the meatballs separately. Arrange meatballs in a single layer on a baking sheet (make sure they don't touch each other, otherwise the vegan balls will stick together) and freeze until solid.
Transfer the mushroom rice balls to a freezer bag and freeze for 1-2 months.
🥗 Serving Suggestions
These non meat meatballs are delicious on their own since they're made of both protein and carbs.
You can however serve them over pasta like spaghetti or linguine.
As for the side dish, I recommend pairing the veggie balls with a simple salad. My favorites are Vegan Beet Salad or Broccoli Mushroom Salad.
♨️ Storing and Reheating
These easy meatless meat balls can be stored in a refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To reheat, simply microwave the meatballs for about 40 seconds or simmer in a little bit of sauce just until warm.
🍄 Similar Recipes
For a quick overview of the recipe, please check out my Vegan Mushroom Meatballs web-story.
Vegan Mushroom Meatballs
- 1 c white Basmati rice
- 4 tablespoon olive oil divided
- 2 medium onions very finely chopped
- 1 large carrot grated on a large box grater
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 8 oz Portobello mushrooms finely chopped
- 1 ½ c tomato sauce
- 4 c water divided
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 ½ teaspoon corn starch
- 1 teaspoon Maple syrup
- 1 ¼ teaspoon salt divided
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoon parsley chopped
- Start off with preparing the rice. Rinse it one time with a filtered water, add to a medium pot along with 2 ½ c water and ½ teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Give it a stir, reduce the heat to medium low and cook until rice absorbs all water and is soft, about 15 minutes. Transfer rice to a medium or large bowl to cool.Note, that the rice is supposed to be a little sticky and gluey. That's why I use more water to cook it than for a regular rice.
Cook the onion and carrot
- Heat olive 2 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan and over medium heat. Add half of the minced onion, carrot and saute stirring from time to time for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.
Cook the mushrooms
- Add finely chopped mushrooms and cook on a high heat for about 5 minutes or until mushroom slightly brown. Transfer the veggies to a plate and wipe down the pan with a paper towel.
Prepare the sauce
- Heat 2 tablespoon of olive oil in the same pan and over medium heat. Add the remaining minced onion, ½ teaspoon of salt, and sauté stirring occasionally until the onion is translucent, about 5-7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine corn starch and 1 ½ c water. Whisk in tomato sauce, smoked paprika, Italian seasoning, Maple syrup, ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper.
- Add this mixture to the sauteed onion and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the sauce slightly thickens. Adjust salt and pepper if needed. Using an immersion or stand blender, blend the sauce until fewer veggie chunks remain.
Combine rice and sauteed vegetables
- In a large bowl add cooked rice and sauteed onion, carrot and mushrooms. Mix for a few minutes until the mixture is slightly “sticky”. That way you’ll be able to easily shape it into the balls. Adjust salt and pepper if needed.
Shape the meatballs
- Take about 1 heaping teaspoon of the mixture and using your hands shape into the meatballs. I recommend placing a bowl with clean water nearby so that you can dip you hands into the water after each meatball. I had about 29 meatballs. Place meatballs into the tomato sauce, simmer for 2 minutes and remove from the heat.
- Sprinkle the meatballs with some chopped parsley and serve as they are or over some pasta.
robehr orinsky says
Kates turned out quite wonderful and the Ancient Grains stash of whole grain pasta was broken out for the feast . I am one of those limited creatures that probably only has one poor underdeveloped taste bud hidden away in the recesses of my mouth so when it tasted a bit flat to me I dressed them with a pack of San-J Tamari sauce and those vegan meatballs turned into something I would would fight for . But I'm Irish ,heh. I used Krogers excellent whole grain Penne Rigate in the 2nd tasting and it was quite outstanding with the meatless meatballs also . Very quality whole grain taste from Krogers .
Robehr, thank you so much for your comment! I'm so glad you enjoyed this recipe!
Jennifer Z says
I recently saw a recipe similar to this on the cooking show My Greek Table. And the vegan chef baked the meatballs and let them cool and he said that creates a harder "shell" and keeps them from falling apart. I haven't tried it yet though! But this looks like a great recipe.
Sandra Rivera says
Very mushy. So much prep for a disappointing vegan meatball....
Sandra, I'm sorry the recipe didn't turn out the way you expected. I would like to troubleshoot of what went wrong if you don't mind. Do you think the rice was sticky enough before you shaped the meatballs? It should be kind of "gluey". That's what helps the meatballs keep their shape. Also, did you happen to add more oil when you cooked the onion, carrot and the mushrooms? Too much oil in the filling can also cause the "meatballs" to fall apart.
I must make it
Ellen, I hope you'll give this recipe a try. It's one of my favorites.
Sorry just saw this now will be making this soon i love mushrooms sooooooooooooooooo much perfect for my office snacks will dm you if i make this and let you know how it goes Thanks Ramya
Ramya, I hope you'll have a chance to try these delicious meatballs:)
Can I use brown rice?
Hi Denise! In this recipe I used white rice because it's slightly more "stciky" and "gluey" when cooked, that's why I didn't have to use any vegan egg replacement. If you decide to use brown rice, I would suggest adding 1 vegan egg replacement, like tapioca/corn starch or flax egg.
Use 1 tablespoon of tapioca/corn starch, blended with 3 teaspoons of water, to replace one egg. Or in case of flax egg: 1 egg = 1 tbsp of ground flax seeds + 2 1/2 tbsp water. Hope this helps!