Make these quick and easy flavor-packed vegan lentil meatballs with just 7 ingredients for a delicious vegan dinner ready in just 30 minutes! Based on my Italian grandma’s recipe- turned vegan and vegetarian friendly!

plate of lentil meatballs

This post is sponsored by the California Prune Board and all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Banana Diaries possible!

Why you’ll love these vegan and vegetarian-friendly lentil meatballs

My family just loves these quick and easy lentil meatballs. They’re the perfect protein-packed (nearly 15 g per serving!) and nutrient rich vegan dinner recipe to serve to both kids and adults, and one that tastes really good. Even to the pickiest of eaters!

It’s one of my favorite vegan dinner recipes to make for everyone (aside from my vegan lasagna recipe, 25 minute vegan baked gnocchi, and quick and easy vegan lentil loaf! These mushroom lentil burgers are also great in the summer!).

And by quick and easy, I mean everything is ready to go in under 30 minutes. How’s that for a weeknight vegan dinner recipe?! It’s also a great dish to serve at a holiday, like Thanksgiving or Christmas (along with, of course my Vegan Wellington recipe!).

Most of the ingredients you probably have on hand too (and if not, there are some delicious and flavorful swaps!). 

Plus, you’ve got a protein-packed and fiber rich plant-based vegan meal that will keep you full and satiated for hours!

close up of vegan lentil meatballs over spaghetti

These lentil meatballs are also versatile. You can make them as Italian-style vegan meatballs, serve them over homemade vegan pasta, make an opened face sandwich, or even grab a hoagie roll (or make a gluten free bun!) for a vegan meatball sub!

You and your kids are just going to devour these lentil meatballs- whether or not you enjoy meat!

Just 7 simple ingredients:

We’re not using any hard-to-find ingredients. Just simple, plant-based and pantry-friendly ingredients. 

  • Lentils: You can use green, brown, or mixed lentils here. 
  • Oat flour: If you don’t have oat flour, you can also make it yourself using rolled oats. Or swap in all purpose flour if you’re not gluten free!
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Ketchup: You can also swap in tomato paste if you’d like, though it’s a bit less flavorful.
  • Herbs: I like to use rosemary, but you can also throw in some oregano, sage, thyme, or more!
  • California Prunes: Like dates, prunes act as a vegan egg replacement. No need to swap in flaxseed or anything else! 

Of course, you’ll add in some sea salt and pepper as well!

plate of vegetarian meatballs over spaghetti

Last fall, I was invited by the California Prune Board to tour some of their prune orchards and see how a plum gets transformed into a prune (yes, a prune is a plum that’s been dried! And no, they’re not called dried plums, they’re called prunes, and they’re delicious!).

Now, let me tell you, prunes are extraordinarily versatile and can be used in both sweet and savory recipes. I made these gluten free vegan cinnamon cupcakes with them last fall, so I decided to go with a more savory recipe this time around that wasn’t just throwing them into salads (which is still delicious).

So basically prunes and oats together act as the binder of all of these ingredients, and it’s a pretty good one.

jar of prunes

Not only that, but the prunes add a really diverse and delicious flavor element to the dish. Don’t worry- these vegan meatballs don’t taste sweet! Prunes in general aren’t overwhelmingly sweet, like a date, which makes them amazing for both savory and sweet recipes!

It’s almost like molasses versus maple syrup. Maple syrup is very noticeably sweet, whereas molasses adds more flavor than sweetness to a recipe.

How to make vegan meatballs that even meat-lovers will love

Yes, it’s true. Much like my vegan lentil “meatloaf,” I had even the non-vegan eaters in my family loving these meatballs.

Even more-so than our family’s passed-down recipe!

The trick is all in the ingredients and how they come together, which is extraordinarily easy. All you’ll need is a food processor, a baking sheet, and a skillet, pot, or saucepan if you want to cook them in sauce after.

Now, if you’re making your own lentils and your own oat flour, just make sure you’ve got those prepped and ready to go. Otherwise, you’ll start by:

  1. Placing all of the ingredients into a food processor.
  2. Then blend everything until smooth. It should look like the photos below.

Next up, we have the lentil meatball rolling:

  1. Simply roll the batter into 2″ sized meatballs and place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  2. Bake for 25 minutes at 400F.

Next, just cook everything in a saucepan with the marinara and then serve!

pot of lentil meatballs

Tips for making lentil meatballs

To make sure that your veggie balls come out perfectly each time, here are a few tips:

  • You can use store bought prepped lentils or prep them yourself. Either way works!
  • If you’re really short on time, you can make the batter ahead of time, and store it in the fridge for up to 2-3 days. Then shape into meatballs and bake when you’re ready!
  • Make sure that the prunes you use say just prunes. You don’t want any sweet meatballs!
  • For an easy meal prep, make a double or triple batch on Sunday night to serve to you and your family throughout the week!
  • Feel free to swap in your favorite herbs or add more: these are very customizable!

How to serve vegan meatballs:

  • Over your favorite pasta dish (I love them in this vegan vodka sauce as well!)
  • With a side of vegan mashed potatoes
  • In a vegan soup (like an Italian wedding soup using vegetable broth!)
  • As a meatball grinder
  • Over rice and served with your favorite veggie
plate of sliced open meatballs

I hope you love these vegan lentil meatballs as much as I do! If you make them, let me know down below in the comments section, and be sure to give it a rating so that others can find this recipe too 🙂

As always, I love to see your beautiful creations on Instagram and Pinterest, so be sure to tag me there!

Happy cooking!

Want to save this recipe for later? Add it to your favorite recipe board on Pinterest!

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and a rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below. This helps others to find the recipes! As always, I absolutely love to see your beautiful creations on Instagram and Pinterest, so be sure to tag me there as well!

Print
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30-Minute Grandma's Style Lentil Meatballs (Vegan + GF)

30 Minute Grandma’s Style Lentil Meatballs (Vegan + GF)

  • Author: Britt Berlin
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Make these quick and easy flavor-packed vegan lentil meatballs with just 7 ingredients for a delicious vegan dinner ready in just 30 minutes! Based on my Italian grandma’s recipe- turned vegan and vegetarian friendly!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 cups cooked lentils (about 3/4 cup uncooked if cooking from scratch)*
  • 1 cup oat flour (homemade or store bought)*
  • 4 prunes
  • 1/2 cup ketchup*
  • 3 tbsp fresh rosemary*
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Optional: 1 cup marinara sauce, for cooking

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with tin foil. Lightly spray or coat the tin foil with coconut or olive oil to prevent sticking. 
  2. In a large food processor, pulse all of the ingredients together until it’s a consistent batter. It should not be very clumpy, but rather smooth.
  3. Roll the lentil batter into 2 inch sized meatballs and place the meatballs onto the baking sheet.
  4. Bake the lentil meatballs for 25 minutes in the oven.
  5. Serve and enjoy! Follow the below steps for another option of further cooking the lentil meatballs in marinara sauce when serving over pasta. 
  6. Optional cook in marinara sauce: When done, remove from the oven and let cool while you add 1 cup marinara sauce to a medium sized sauce pan.
  7. Add the meatballs to the pan, toss them in the sauce, then cover and set the heat to low/simmer for 30 minutes.
  8. Serve with fresh pasta or however you prefer!


Notes

Lentils: You can use brown, green, red lentils, or a mix. You can also use store bought pre-cooked lentils.

Oat flour: You can make your own or use store bought. If you don’t need gluten free, you can use all purpose flour. 

Prunes: You can swap in dates or 3 tbsp ground flaxseed with 9 tbsp water for a flax “egg” if you prefer.

Ketchup: Feel free to swap in tomato paste if you prefer. It’s slightly less flavorful, however. 

Herbs: You can use just rosemary or a blend of rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, or parsley!

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 312
  • Sugar: 8.5 g
  • Sodium: 1097.6 mg
  • Fat: 4.8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 54.8 g
  • Fiber: 9 g
  • Protein: 14.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 2 mg

Keywords: lentil meatballs, vegetarian meatballs, vegan lentil meatballs, vegan meatballs, gluten free vegan meatballs, vegan gluten free dinner recipes