Vegetarian Meatballs

5 from 6 votes
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These crispy vegetarian meatballs with a refreshing garlic-mint yogurt sauce are an easy Mediterranean appetizer or main dish. Dip them in creamy sauce or serve them in warm tortillas for the perfect bite!

Vegetarian Meatballs arranged on an oval platter, with a white dipping sauce in a bowl.


 

Why I Love This Vegetarian Meatballs Recipe

Whether it’s a weeknight or special gathering, veggie meatballs with a golden breadcrumb coating are always a hit.

  • Freezer-friendly. Keep some in the freezer for last-minute appetizers or dinners.
  • Mediterranean-style. Simple seasonings and the garlic-mint sauce give these meatballs their Mediterranean flair.
  • Hearty. They’re loaded with potatoes, yellow onion, sweet carrots, and peas.
  • Versatile. Dip them in yogurt sauce or serve them in tortillas with more fresh veggies.
Ingredients for vegetarian meatballs.

What You’ll Need

The garlic-mint yogurt sauce adds a refreshing, creamy, and herby touch to each bite. Scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact amounts.

For the Meatballs

  • Olive oil – Avocado, vegetable, corn, and canola oil work too.
  • Onion – Yellow or white are best.
  • Russet potatoes – They need to be peeled.
  • Carrots – Don’t worry if they’re not crisp.
  • Garlic – Feel free to use garlic paste.
  • Peas – Thaw them if they’re frozen peas.
  • Salt and Pepper – Kosher salt and freshly-cracked black pepper are best.
  • Chili powder – You can use cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes.
  • Lemon juice – Reduce the amount by half if you use limes.
  • Corn flour – Use your favorite.
  • Breadcrumbs – Panko works too.
  • Oil – It’s for frying so it needs to be corn, canola, or vegetable oil.
  • Tortillas – Go for corn or flour.
  • Lettuce – Add your favorite kind or a salad mix.

For the Yogurt Sauce

  • Plain yogurt – It needs to be unsweetened.
  • Garlic – Avoid garlic powder because it’ll make the sauce grainy.
  • Salt – Use kosher salt.
  • Dried mint – Fresh mint works too.
  • Extra virgin olive oil – This is also referred to as “EVOO”. Avocado oil is a good swap.

How To Make Vegetarian Meatballs

With this recipe, creating delicious vegetarian meatballs is a breeze. Follow my simple steps, from cooking the veggies to frying the meatballs and preparing a savory yogurt sauce, for a great meal that’s sure to impress.

  1. Cook the veggies. Add the olive oil to a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook them until softened. Stir in the potatoes and carrots. Cook for another 5 minutes. Mix in the garlic and peas. Season with salt, pepper, and chili powder. Stir well and sautée for another 3 minutes. Remove it from the heat.
  2. Prepare the mixture. Mix the lemon juice, corn flour, and 1/4 cup breadcrumbs with the veggies until well combined. Set it aside until completely cooled.
  3. Shape them. Use your hands to roll the veggie mixture into 15-20 meatballs. Chill them in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  4. Roll them. Press the chilled meatballs into the remaining breadcrumbs until completely coated.
  5. Fry them. Add the frying oil to a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. Lower one meatball at a time into the oil. You can fry 4-5 at a time. Fry them for 3 minutes, flip them, and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until golden. Remove them from the oil. Set them on paper towel-lined plates to drain excess oil. Repeat for all the meatballs.
  6. Make the yogurt sauce. Add all the sauce ingredients to the blender. Process it until smooth. Set it aside.
  7. Serve. Spread yogurt sauce on a flour tortilla or pita bread, followed by lettuce, meatballs, and anything else you like. Enjoy!
A hand holding up a veggie meatball with white sauce on the end of it.

Tips & Variations

  • Make them spicy. Chop up 1/4-1/2 fresh serrano or jalapeño chili and sautée it with the veggies for a kick of heat.
  • Check the portions. Use a small ice cream scoop to help you measure how much mixture you’re adding to each meatball. They must be more or less the same size to ensure even cooking times.
  • Swap the spices. Add 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning into the meatball mixture for a different flavor profile.
  • Prep ahead. Prepare and shape the meatballs a day in advance so all you have to do is fry them the next day.
  • Use leftovers. Chop up leftover Roasted Vegetables. Add them to the mixture or swap half of the fresh veggies for them.
  • Add legumes. Mash 1/2 cup cooked lentils or chickpeas and add it to the mixture for plant-based protein.
  • Make them cheesy. Mix in 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese or 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese for extra savoriness.
  • Test the oil. Drop a teaspoon of the meatball mixture into the oil. If it sizzles right away, the oil is ready for frying. If it sinks to the bottom with no sizzle, you need to let it heat for 1-2 more minutes.

Serving Suggestions

These crispy vegetarian meatballs double as an appetizer or main dish. I love them with a side of Tomato and Cucumber Salad or Bulgur Salad. My Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes and Stuffed Grape Leaves are other great options. For main dish ideas, go for my Air Fryer Salmon or Chicken Vesuvio.

Falafel in pita bread.

Proper Storage

  • Fridge: Store the meatballs and sauce in separate airtight containers. The meatballs will last for 3 to 5 days, and the sauce for up to 7 days.
  • Freezer: This only works for the meatballs before frying them. Spread them out on a large plate or baking sheet. Freeze them for 1-2 hours or until firm. Transfer them to a freezer-friendly bag or container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and fry as usual.
  • To reheat them: Sprinkle the meatballs with 1/2 teaspoon water. Microwave for up to a minute or until warm. You can also heat them in a pan over medium heat for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally.

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5 from 6 votes

Vegetarian Meatballs

This recipe for crispy vegetarian meatballs served with a creamy garlic-mint sauce, offers a simple yet delicious appetizer that doubles as a main course when nestled inside flour tortillas.
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 16 Meatballs

Ingredients 

Veggie Meatballs

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion,, diced
  • 2 medium russet potatoes,, shredded
  • 2 large carrots,, shredded
  • 1 clove garlic,, minced
  • 14 ounces can of sweet peas,, rinsed and drained
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper,, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons corn flour
  • ¼ cup plain breadcrumbs, plus more for coating the veggie meatballs
  • ¼ cup oil for frying
  • flour tortillas or pita bread,, optional

Yogurt Sauce (optional)

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 clove garlic,, minced
  • salt to taste
  • ½ teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon dried mint
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Instructions 

  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and add the diced onion; cook for 2 minutes or until softened.
  • Add the shredded potatoes and carrots and continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Mix in the garlic and peas. Season with salt, pepper, and chili powder; continue to cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Stir in the lemon juice, corn flour, and 1/4 cup breadcrumbs; set aside until the mixture is cooled.
  • Shape the veggie mixture into 15 to 20 meatballs and chill them in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
  • Place the remaining breadcrumbs in a shallow dish.
  • Heat the oil for frying.
  • Roll the balls in breadcrumbs and coat them on all sides.
  • Add them to the hot oil, 4 to 5 meatballs at a time. Cook over medium-high heat for 3 minutes, turn and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, or until nicely browned.
  • Drain on paper towels and repeat the process with the remaining veggie balls.

For the Yogurt Sauce:

  • Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse a few times, or just enough to mix it all together until smooth.
  • Spoon the yogurt sauce into a bowl. You could also spread the yogurt sauce on a pita or tortilla with lettuce, tomatoes, and the veggie meatballs; roll and serve.
  • You can also skewer the meatballs and serve as an appetizer with the yogurt sauce on the side.

Notes

  • Serving These Veggie Meatballs. You could spread the yogurt sauce on a pita or tortilla and stuff it with lettuce, tomatoes, and veggie meatballs; roll them up and serve. You could also spoon the yogurt sauce into a bowl. Skewer the meatballs and serve them as an appetizer with the yogurt sauce on the side.
  • Storage. Place leftovers in an airtight container and refrigerate for 3 to 5 days. You could also freeze the veggie meatballs before frying them.

Nutrition

Serving: 1meatball | Calories: 104kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 0.3mg | Sodium: 73mg | Potassium: 215mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1674IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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47 Comments

  1. Heather says:

    These look and sound delicious but was wondering if i can use a different kind of flour besides corn?

    1. Katerina Petrovska says:

      I haven’t tried, but I think it would be okay if you used all-purpose flour. You will probably need to use more than 2 tablespoons… I say try it with 4 tablespoons and let me know how it goes! 😀

      1. Heather says:

        Awesome! I’ll give it a try this week 🙂

  2. Jennifer says:

    I’d like to invite you to my Friday Flash Blog, where you can share your best blog entry of the week! The party goes on ALL weekend at thejennyevolution.com. And who knows, you may just get featured next week.

    Jennifer
    thejennyevolution.com

  3. Jean (Lemons & Anchovies) says:

    What a great find of a recipe–can’t wait to try this. Always on the lookout for a good vegetarian dish for the hubs.

  4. mjskit says:

    What a great dish and I love the way you used then in a wrap like a felafel! I made meatball this week and while eating them thought about trying a veggie version and we are. Thanks!

  5. Valerie says:

    Love your ball-shaped food streak! Keep ’em coming. These veggie meatballs look scrumptious!

  6. Angelo says:

    Wow this looks amazing, can’t wait to try it!

  7. Kimberly (Unrivaledkitch) says:

    these look fantastic. Love the ingredients. Yum

  8. kristy @ gastronomical sovereignty says:

    WOW! those look incredible! i’d likely shove some cheese inside there and have a hay day! once tomatoes come into season you could make a scratch tomato jam and dip dip dip! ..yeah, i’m pinning these.

    Happy SRC reveal!!

  9. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen says:

    Sounds perfect with the garlic sauce!

  10. Sandra's Easy Cooking says:

    How did i miss this post…I’ve been busy but I can’t pass the meatballs. First let me say how much I love each and every picture here…Kate those are an amazing images, like from the magazine! Just stunning! Recipe is yumilicious of course!