Try these Easy Vegan Meatballs made with seitan, a plant-based meat alternative with a great texture and flavor! Ready in under an hour and perfect for pairing with your favorite sauce and pasta.
Something about a piping hot bowl of pasta, meatballs, and marinara just screams comfort food.
Feeling tired of the standard vegetarian meatball options, I decided to try my hand at creating them with seitan, and the result turned out to be so juicy and well-textured. Plant-based meatballs often get the texture wrong or fall apart easily, so this felt like a pretty big win!
I find that these are just as easy to make as standard meatballs, only you use a few extra ingredients and simmer them in broth before browning in a skillet. Let’s meatball!
Ingredients in these vegan meatballs
These seitan meatballs are made by creating a gluten-based dough and then simmering in a flavorful vegetable broth. Here’s what you’ll need!
- Vital Wheat Gluten: We start off with 1 cup of vital wheat gluten, which is the main component of seitan.
- Water: When mixed with 1 cup of water, the seitan begins to form.
- Chickpea Flour: We will use ¼ cup of chickpea flour to help improve the texture of the meatballs
- Nutritional Yeast: ¼ cup of nutritional yeast adds a savory flavor to help replicate the flavor of meat.
- Italian Seasoning: We will use 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning to bring that classic meatball flavor. Feel free to throw in any other spices you might be in the mood for!
- Salt: Finally, salt helps to bring out all the savory flavors of these meatballs. Don’t skimp on it!
- Vegetable Broth: We’ll cook the meatballs in a vegetable broth to infuse them with even more flavor.
- Apple Cider Vinegar: This adds a bit of a bite without overpowering the other ingredients. I like using apple cider vinegar for “pork” seitan, but you could also use white vinegar here.
- Liquid Smoke: Liquid smoke is the final touch that makes these meatballs taste like the real deal.
How to make seitan meatballs
Seitan meatballs are a 4-step recipe that starts with creating and simmering the dough. From there, just cook in a skillet until they reach golden perfection, and then serve them atop your favorite marinara and pasta. These ingredients will create about 25 meatballs, depending on how large you make them.
Step 1: Create the dough
In a large bowl, stir together all of the dough ingredients until a ball forms. Transfer the dough to a clean surface and knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is elastic and cohesive (it will be still be lumpy, which is okay!).
Step 2: Shape the meatballs
Portion the dough into about 25 pieces, and then roll the pieces into individual small balls. They will expand while cooking, so make them smaller than you think you’ll want them. Let the meatballs rest while you prepare the broth.
Step 3: Simmer the seitan meatballs
Add all of the broth ingredients to a large pot and bring it to a simmer. Gently lower the seitan meatballs into the broth, ensuring that the dough is covered by the broth (if not, transfer to a smaller pot). Partially cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
Step 4: Sauté and serve
Remove the meatballs from the pot and let them cool enough to touch. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat and then add the meatballs. Cook, jostling the pan often, until the meatballs are golden brown on all sides. Serve with marinara sauce and your favorite pasta!
Go the extra mile with your own marinara
When it comes to the marinara portion of this recipe, you have options! I mentioned above that you can use your favorite store-bought sauce for pairing with the meatballs. But, you can also take things up a notch and make your own homemade rendition! This Fresh Tomato Marina Sauce is my absolute favorite to make right at home. The ingredients are simple, and the flavors are phenomenal!
More delicious plant-based recipes
Plant-based dishes are always just as (if not more) flavorful than the meat versions. These seitan meatballs are a perfect example! To provide your palate with some more vegetarian goodness, here are more of my favorite meatless dishes, featuring all of the “meat” you could wish for (yes, I included taco meat – don’t forget the queso!).
- Swedish Vegetarian Meatballs
- Vegan Burritos with Taco Meat and Queso
- Vegetable Bolognese
- Roasted Vegetable Grilled Cheese
- Vegan Garlic Bread
Or for a different take on meatballs, try these Eggplant Meatballs!
- 1 cup vital wheat gluten 120 g
- 1 cup water 236 mL
- ¼ cup chickpea flour 30 g
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast 15 g
- 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp salt
- 6 cups vegetable broth 1.4 L
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar 30 mL
- 1 tsp liquid smoke 5 mL
- 1 Tbsp olive oil 15 mL
- marinara sauce, pasta
- Dough: In a large bowl stir together all dough ingredients until a ball forms. Transfer to a clean surface and knead for about 5 minutes, or until dough is elastic and cohesive (it will still be lumpy, that's okay!)
- Shape: Portion dough into about 25 pieces, then roll into small balls (they will expand when cooking, so make them smaller than you think you'll want them!). Let meatballs rest while you prepare the broth.
- Broth: Add all broth ingredients to a large pot and bring to a simmer. Gently lower the seitan meatballs into the broth, ensuring the dough is covered by the broth (if not, transfer to a smaller pot). Partially cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Saute: Remove from pot and let cool enough to touch. Heat oil in a large saute pan over medium heat, then add the meatballs. Cook, jostling the pan often, until meatballs are golden brown on all sides. Serve with marinara sauce and your favorite pasta!
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