Homemade Italian Vegan “MeatBalls”

Homemade Italian Vegan “MeatBalls”

Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs gets a vegan makeover with these amazing Italian dried herb infused veggie balls. Made with chickpeas and couscous for amazing texture. These are loaded with flavor and spice and will leave you feeling wonderfully satisfied.

The day has arrived. You now have this amazing "meatball" recipe that I shared a teaser photo of on both IG and Facebook, which everybody went wild over. Guys, it is almost a bit "scary" how meaty these are, hahaha. They are soooo unbelievable and full of flavor. Speaking of flavor....I need flavor in my food! I've tried a few veggie ball recipes online and they have been SO bland that they only taste good with tons of sauce on them. No, I need every aspect of my food to have flavor. Well, these veggie balls are LOADED with flavor and spice and incredibly moist. They are moist without hardly any fat and zero oil.

I can't even count how many times I have been asked about turning my popular Spicy BBQ Lentil Loaf into "meatballs". Unfortunately, that mixture is way too wet to form into balls, but it has been on my list to create some veggie "meat" balls for a long time. One of my ALL-TIME favorite meals to eat pre-vegan was the classic, Spaghetti and Meatballs. Simple, comforting and delicious. My husband would always take me to eat at Carrabba's Italian grill and 9 times out of 10, that is what I would get.

Several years ago before I become a mom, I was heavily into fitness. Like, I worked out 6 days a week, sometimes-twice-a-day-fitness. I still workout now regularly, but I don't stress out obsessively if I miss a workout, like I did in the past. So silly, but that is how it was and I enjoy my life so much more now than being that old person. Anywaysssss, back then I trained for a figure competition and the first thing I wanted after the competition was over, which involved many weeks of intense training and strict eating, was one thing.....to go to Carrabba's Italian Grill and eat spaghetti and meatballs. My hubby took me and it was amazing. Since becoming vegan, I have not had a meal like that...until now.

Now, do they taste exactly like meatballs?? No, of course not, they aren't meat... nor do I want them to. But they have a very similar meaty texture and chew to them, which is exactly what I was after. I wanted them super moist, chewy and meaty, like meatballs, but of course so much healthier.

There are several key ingredients to nailing both an amazing flavor AND texture to these Italian veggie meatless balls. I used ketchup and salsa in them, as well as some chili powder. It gives them amazing kick of flavor that is only further enhanced by a delicious spaghetti sauce. They have a good kick of heat from the salsa and chili powder, but not too spicy. You can always use half the chili powder if you like. Also, make sure to use a mild salsa as well and that will totally make them less spicy. I used Trader Joe's medium regular plain salsa and they are perfect. The ketchup gives a very subtle sweetness to these balls, which plays well with the Italian herbs because if you think about it, Italian sausage has a bit of sweetness to it and I really thought the ketchup would go great in them, and I was right. I tried regular tomato paste and tomato sauce, and no, just not the same at all!

SO, for the meaty texture, what did I use?? COUSCOUS. Yes, couscous, it has a really chewy, hearty texture that worked freaking amazing in these balls! Dare I say it...they were amaze-balls, hahaha! I tried several different things and I'm here to tell you, none of them were that great, but the couscous was the final win! I tried cornmeal, like I did in my lentil loaf and it didn't work at all because the balls are so much smaller and cook much faster than the lentil loaf does, therefore the balls were crunchy and too cornmeal-ish, so that is when I thought of using couscous.

These are so reminiscent of a classic spaghetti and meatballs dish with the noodles and spaghetti sauce all mixed in, that you will be in such pasta heaven, you won't miss the meat. These even hold together and don't fall apart when you stick your fork into them, just like traditional meat. That was the biggest challenge I found when trialing these.

And oh boy will you be stuffed off this meal, just like a classic spaghetti and meatball dish. I mean, stuffed. Best part about this, besides the yum factor, it is sooo healthy and cholesterol-free, unlike the meat version. Absolutely zero oil and hardly any trace of fat!

Serve them with my 5 minute pizza sauce, which works amazing here as spaghetti sauce, and some spaghetti and you have total comfort food! I'm talking, LOADS OF FLAVOR. I am one happy vegan eating this! As usual, you only need 8 ingredients (+salt & pepper) to make these balls! There is the optional liquid smoke, which makes them taste a little more meaty, but it's certainly not needed if you don't have it.

Here's another fun video to get your salivary glands going! Be sure to subscribe to my Youtube channel!

I hope you all really love this vegan classic of spaghetti and meatballs and enjoy every bite of these Homemade Italian Vegan "Meatballs"! Be sure to make the recipe as is for the amazing results and then leave me feedback below after!

Yields 14 balls

Homemade Italian Vegan "Meatballs"

Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs gets a vegan makeover with these amazing Italian dried herb infused veggie balls. Made with chickpeas and couscous for amazing texture. These are loaded with flavor and spice and will leave you feeling wonderfully satisfied.

30 minPrep Time

30 minCook Time

1 hrTotal Time

Recipe Image
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5 based on 1 review(s)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup couscous + 1/4 cup water (I used regular original wheat couscous by this brand which is sold at most grocery stores near the rice, but if you need it gluten-free, you can try this brand , it should yield nearly identical results)
  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (75 g)
  • 6-8 Tbsp (start with 6, see directions) mild or medium salsa (I used Trader Joe's medium plain red salsa, keep in mind the level of heat and flavor your salsa is will be reflected in the veggie balls)
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup (gives a wonderful depth of flavor and mild sweetness to the balls)
  • optional: 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 2 tablespoons dried Italian spice blend (make sure to use one without salt or red pepper, I use McCormick brand)
  • 1-2 teaspoons regular chili powder (I used 2 and it has a kick of heat, use 1 for less spicy)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • Optional to serve with, but obviously!
  • My amazing 5 Minute Pizza Sauce which I always use as spaghetti sauce, so good!
  • Cooked spaghetti
  • Note: I cannot vouch for any subs on these veggie balls. I tested different flours and grains for texture and the above recipe reflects the best results. Whatever you do, don't use oat flour. They were awful with oat flour.

Instructions

  1. First, make your couscous. Add the water to a small pot and bring to a boil, AS SOON as it starts bubbling, stir in the couscous quickly and remove from the heat. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
  2. In a food processor, add your chickpeas and onion and pulse to break up the mixture for a few seconds (refer to video for visual). Add all of the remaining ingredients, except the couscous and brown rice flour. Pulse for just a few seconds, no more, just until the mixture resembles a wet rough chunky texture similar to a salsa. You don't want to over-blend and puree it too much or the balls will be too wet/mushy (refer to video for visual). You just want to make sure the chickpeas are no longer whole.
  3. Add the mixture to a large bowl and add the cooked couscous and brown rice flour. Stir for a few minutes until it all comes together in a sticky batter. Press the mixture repeatedly with the back of your spoon to make it come together. If the mixture is not sticking together, add a bit of the remaining salsa only if necessary. Once it is well mixed, place to chill in the fridge for about 20 minutes. This will make it easier to roll into balls.
  4. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Roll about 14 golf-sized balls with your hands, making sure they are tight and compact and place on the pan. Bake for 15 minutes on the first side, they should easily turn over. I just used my hand to flip them over. Bake another 15 minutes until firm and getting a nice golden brown crust. If you want them super crispy, go another 5 minutes. These balls are very moist inside so they can withstand the crispy exterior.
  5. While they are baking, heat up your pasta and marinara sauce of choice, or I highly recommend my 5 minute pizza sauce which works amazing as a spaghetti sauce! When the balls are done, coat them well with lots of sauce and pasta and enjoy!
7.6.4
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137 Comments

  1. It looks delicious. Can't wait to try it!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Wonderful Joanne, can't wait to hear what you think!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Wonderful Joanne, can't wait to hear what you think!
  2. Could I serve them as marinated meatballs at a party? Would they stay together in marinara sauce/BBQ sauce in a crockpot or would they start to crumble? I'm going to make them but I wanted to know other options for them. Your recipes are always good!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Linda! They would definitely stay together, they are not crumbly at all, however I don't know if they would get a crispy enough texture and cooked through texture that way. The oven really bakes the outer layer and interior, I just have no idea how they'd be in a crockpot. I would probably bake them first and then add them to a sauce afterwards. These are so moist inside that I wouldn't worry about keeping them warm in a crockpot on low after baking them. Let me know what you try!
      • I was planning to cook them as directed (baking in oven) and then keep them warm marinating in a small crockpot during the event. I am looking forward to trying it and will let you know. Thank you for responding so quickly.
        • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
          Oh, gotcha, perfect then! I think they will be even more yummy that way!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Oh and I totally tried these with some bbq sauce too and they are to die for! Even better, haha. I'm a BBQ sauce freak so that will always win in my book!
    • ooh i used to make those frozen meatballs with bbq sauce and grape jelly in a crockpot for parties. I bet if they are baked first you could do the same. Thanks for the reminder.
      • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
        Yes! That's what I told her above, just bake them as instructed and then add them to the crockpot..these are sooo moist that I wouldn't worry about them overcooking. :)
  3. Oh these look to die for, Brandi! Love all the flavors going on here. Nobody wants bland recipes. I also have a new meatball recipe coming soon, but these are really different to yours. Love that you serve these over spaghetti and with oregano, comfort food pure! Amazing video. You are doing a fantastic job and your pictures are so inviting. Makes me want to grab my fork and just dig into the screen. :)
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Florian! I know, right? Bland flavor-less food makes me want to cry! These are ultra packed with flavor! You are so sweet, the videos are so much more work but they are fun to make, I'm so glad you are enjoying them :)
  4. This texture is unreal! I keep scrolling back up to stare at that inside shot again and again. It's so cohesive, not like many veggie balls or patties with chunks of bean poking out on one side and tomato poking out on the other. I never would've guessed couscous. (and i never knew GF couscous existed either, so that's exciting). But now that you say it I can totally see where it yields a really soft ground meat-like texture. The salsa inside for extra flavor is really clever too! Macaroni Grill was always our fancy celebration restaurant, which is pretty darn similar to Carrabba's. You could just work down the menu veganizing everything, lots of good ideas from there. But this is the classic :)
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much friend! Yes, exactly! I wanted these to look as meaty as possible and while I love all types of homemade veggie burgers and balls, etc. they do LOOK like vegetables, but this literally is all blended up and looks very similar to meat once adding the couscous. Bahahaha, I am going to rewrite the Carraba's menu and give them a vegan version, hahaha, your comment made me laugh!
  5. These look amazing!! The texture looks spot on! I just recently read somewhere I about using overcooked pasta in veggie burgers to hold them together, so couscous makes total sense. I gotta try these!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Jenn! It's definitely the closest I've ever tasted to a meat substitute! I have never heard that about cooked pasta, but couscous is so thick and dry and fluffy and somewhat sticky that is surpassed my expectations when all my other trials of cornmeal and rice and other flours failed. I'm so happy with it!
  6. Not having used chickpeas for much more than hummus, do I pop the skins off before using them in this recipe? And do these freeze well? Thanks so much for sharing--I can't wait to try them!!!!!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Oh yes, leave the skins on, just use them straight from the can, after draining and rinsing and patting dry! Let me know what you think of them! :)
  7. Hi Brandi, as a new Fan of the vegan8 website, I'm amaze by all the wonderful and testy recipes you have. At fist I was reluctant to try the recipes just because they are all vegan and oil free, I was worried about the flavor well, I was soooo wrong on that. My husband went crazy on the pumpkin bread with the almond butter sauce he devour every thing I only had one slice, the lentil meat loaf, cake, you name it he loves them all. Today I'll be making the spaghetti and meatball for dinner hope the kids love it, thank you Brandi, for all your hard work and time for making all these tasty recipes a success and sharing it with us. P.S that barbeque sauce should be on the shelves in the supermarkets its the best sauce I have ever taste, you need your own cooking show, your are fabulous, keep shining.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Wow Josie, that is one of the kindest comments I've ever received! I'm so happy you and your hubby are loving all of my recipes so much, that makes me so happy! I love proving that vegan AND oil-free can be amazingly delicious, so thank you. I would love to hear what you all think of these vegan balls, so be sure to let me know! For your kids, maybe omit the chili powder so they are not too spicy! Thank you again for such kind words, they really do mean so much to me!
      • Brandi, let me be brutally honest you never disappoint. Yesterday my kids went nuts over these veggie balls they almost ate all of it even before they enter the oven. Yes people, tons of flavor and delicious. They really enjoyed the veggie balls I was surprised. Thank you Brandi.
        • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
          Yay!!! I'm so happy to hear that Josie! I was wondering how they turned out and I've heard from several people today that all the kiddos are loving them too, so that's a big win! Thank you so much for your kind words and the wonderful feedback!
  8. Love it! No one ever passes up a big ole plate of spaghetti and "meat"balls! It's so much more than a classic comfort food dish!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Rebecca!
  9. YUMMMMM I need to try these they look so mouth watering! and they look like they keep their shape really well too! ;-) I don't use couscous very often but I think I have been missing out!!! this video was awesome too I loved it!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      I absolutely love couscous but rarely ever eat it either, but oh man, I'm so glad I thought to use this because nothing else was giving me the texture I wanted! Thank you so much for watching the video girl! :)
  10. Wow this looks beyond words girl. I am patiently waiting for a food processor so I can tackle some of your recipes that use a food processor. I am hoping I am going to get one in three months. I am wondering if amaranth would work in this recipe. It is a very small grain and it is in the shape of balls. I might try it with amaranth and let you know. Just can't wait to try this. I am excited to watch the video but that will have to wait till I get home. You seriously are just amazing. I don't know how you do it.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Aww thanks so much Christina, you are always so sweet! It took me a few failed attempts to nail these, but they are so worth it! I have never tried amaranth before, but I know you are gluten-free so you could try that or maybe millet, I think they are similar in texture from what I've seen, but I've never tried either, so I don't know about the water ratios though because couscous cooks within a minute and uses equal parts water and grain, and I'm sure those other grains do not. Couscous is also very sticky dry. If you try the other grains, you will need about 3/4 cup cooked. You may have to play around with it to make sure the batter is sticky and holds together and rolls into balls, but that could be an option if you don't find the gluten-free couscous.
  11. Looks absolutely amazing as usual! And your note about the oat flour made me crack up ;)
  12. Fantastic flavour, but she is SERIOUS when she says don't over mix!!! Will definitely make them again and be more careful wielding the power of the food pro! Mega yumminess.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      I'm so glad you loved these! Thank you so much for making them! And yes, haha, over-blending can make the mixture too wet! You could always throw in some extra breadcrumbs at the end if you got it a little too over mixed!
  13. Hi Brandi! Can't wait to to tempt my vegan pasta wary son! Would subbing in white rice flour for brown work? That's what I have on hand. Thank you for sharing this deliciousness!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Danielle! I haven't tried it with white rice flour but another reader did below and said they turned out awesome, so I'm guessing it would work similarly! They react totally different in baked goods, but I think since these are veggieballs it should be ok.
  14. Lee
    Wow! I have to try this! I love to try all kinds of veggie-balls but in the end they are all a bit crumbly... I'm really looking forward to try these with the couscous since they look that they can hold well the sauce without falling apart all over :) Thanks for another great recipe
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Lee! Yes, exactly, all veggie balls I've tried totally crumble and fall apart and these don't at ALL. Totally hold together like typical meatballs do. :)
  15. Looking forward to trying this soon!! Just curious if you also tried quinoa instead of couscous and whether that would work?
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Julie! I have not tried it with quinoa so I can't say whether it would work but since it's not really as fluffy/soft or sticky as couscous, I don't think it would work as well and also would leave a strong quinoa flavor, which I'm not crazy about. The couscous works so well, I hate to say to try anything else!
  16. What a delight! I made these last night for date night and they went over so well! The hubs loved them. I followed the recipe exactly except that I used white rice flour. So delish! Keep the inspiration coming! Thank you
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Yay! SO happy to hear that Courtney!! Even better when the hubby loves them, glad to hear white rice flour worked too. Glad to hear date night went over well, haha! Thanks so much for the feedback!
  17. I never would have a thought a combo of couscous, chickpeas, salsa and rice flour would make a good faux meatball!! Totally going to give this a whirl the next time I'm craving Italian food.
  18. Omg I'm salivating! It's a shame I don't have couscous on hand. I do have quinoa and bulgur though. I might try one of those.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Julia! I have not tried it with quinoa or bulgar so I can’t say whether it would work but since it’s not really as fluffy/soft or sticky as couscous, I don’t think it would work as well and also would leave a strong quinoa flavor, which I’m not crazy about. Also, the cooking water ratios for bulgar and quinoa are completely different than couscous. It ends up being about 3/4 cup of couscous. The couscous works so well, I hate to say to try anything else!
  19. OMG!!! They look and sound absolutely delicious Brandi! I love how you used couscous in this recipe! Definitely will be trying this.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Anna, so kind of you!
  20. Love this dish and that you used couscous! Looks so, so good!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Mary!
  21. These look so impressive! I would love to try these soon :D
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you Aimee, I hope you do!
  22. Awesome! Awesome!, Awesome! made these tonight for dinner..."batter" was thick enough that I did not need to refrigerate. And I agree ...very very filling! keep them coming Brandi!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      I'm so thrilled to hear you loved these so much Susan, thank you so very much for the amazing feedback!!
  23. Best "meat"-like recipe ever! This is a staple in our home now. Love how we can eat pasta and not feel the bloat afterwards. Thanks, Brandi, for a taste-filled dinner meal!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Such a wonderful compliment Courtney, thank you so very much for rating the recipe and I'm so happy it was such a hit!
  24. I've tried many meat-less ball recipes over this last year.. however, i'm truly amazed by this vegan italian meatball recipe. These are absolutely on point! It's the first time i got a recipe that holds perfectly the sauce, moist inside and not crumbly! I've used smoked paprika instead of the liquid smoke and it was great too. I can't wait to try them with other sauce combinations! Thanks for this fool-proof recipe 😊 i'm in love!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so very much for the awesome feedback and pic on Instagram! So happy to hear you loved these so much and that these were the meatless balls to impress you out of all you tried! Thanks again for making them!
  25. Well hello, Brandi. Here is yet another winner! I made these bean balls ;) on Sunday and they came out really good. I didn't use pasta and ate them with a salad but regardless - very tasty. I might have over-blended them a bit (will keep a closer eye next time around) so when I turned them half way through baking I thought they were still too soft but after baking the next 20 min they came out well. They were approved by the hubby and my one year old. My husband even "reminded" me to put them on the list for dinner rotation :) You and Natalie (from Feasting on Fruit) keep me busy in the kitchen :D While I don't come up with my own recipes, I love "testing" your recipes. Keep up the good work and thank you from the (no oil low fat) community! :)
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      SO happy to hear they were a hit Milda, so wonderful! Yes, definitely don't overblend or you'll get hummus, haha!
  26. I have made the italien meatball in 2 ways, one time with couscous and your recipe and another with quinoawith your recipe. Well my husband and I loved both. I thought that the quinoa was lighter, but perhaps more nutritious. You know, both are very good and I thank you. , Kerstin
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      So wonderful to hear that Kerstin!! Thank you so much for letting me know!
  27. I made today and they were perfect! I think mine was a bit easier as I used fresh cooked garbanzo beans (chickpeas) but I under cooked slightly (only about an hour). Sort of like al-dente for pasta! I pulsed 2 cups until it was small crumbles, a little like when I put my nuts in the nut grinder. I just minced the onion by hand and then mixed it all in a bowl. I didn't have to refrigerate as the texture was perfect. I used my medium cookie scoop and made 26 balls! I've already eaten about 10 of them! The first good meal I've had in 3 months since I had to go 100% fat free (gallbladder and liver problems). Thank you again for a wonderful recipe.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      So very happy you loved this recipe Jeanne! And wow, what a compliment that is the first good meal you've had in 3 months, so glad it was a hit! Thanks so much for leaving feedback!
  28. […] Italian Vegan Meatballs – The Vegan 8 […]
  29. Oh Brandi! You are one talented wonderful woman and I am SO glad and happy of social media as I would be missing out so much if I haven't met you there. You share your amazingness and recipes with us and I'm so thankful! These "meatballs" were a big hit here, such a good texture and full of flavor!! We loved them so much that 2 days later when making burgers I decided to use this recipe for the burger patties and the recipe worked beautifully there too. Thank you again for sharing your hard work with us :)
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      So sweet of you Milla! Thank you so much for your kind words! I'm so happy to hear you all loved these so much! Your pic on IG was just beautiful, thank you again!
  30. Boy did these make for a fabulous dinner last night! I made these and your 5 minute sauce (also delish) http://thevegan8.com/2015/02/25/delicious-easy-homemade-pizza-sauce/ and served them up with some corn flour pasta. YUM! I had my daughter taste the "meat" mixture to see if she wanted any additional seasonings before I put them in the oven, and she said the taste reminded her of spaghetti and meatballs, and that was without the pasta! We KNEW it was a winner! The only hurdle was not being able to find gluten-free couscous (I looked everywhere), and I didn't have quinoa in the house, so I made basmati and used that. I was so thankful you told another reviewer to sub 3/4 C cooked quinoa if she couldn't find the couscous. Those measurements helped a lot, Brandi! I'm going to continue my quest for GF couscous, but in the meantime, they were truly delicious and cooked up/held up beautifully. I crumbled a few today and served them on a GF burrito with shredded lettuce, onions, and beans. Thanks for another awesome, healthy recipe!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Oh wow, that is a true testimony to these then, if she loved them without even knowing before they were even cooked! So glad to hear these were such a hit Colleen, thank you so much for the amazing feedback!!
  31. Delicious is an understatment, I made these for Dinner last night and they were out of this world. usually my husdand makes a crack about meat free, but his plate was empty and looking for more.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Yay! SO happy to hear that Denny and wow, what a compliment from hubby! Thanks so much for the feedback!
  32. Love that you recreated a meal you use to love so much! That's one of my most favorite things to do. And I can only imagine how happy you were to nail it! Great job lady!!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Yes, so happy! These are such a great addition to my life now, lol!
  33. Did you by any chance try these with chickpea flour? Just wondering. They sound delicious! Cannot wait to try them!!! :)
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Kristen! No, I haven't, I would think it would make them taste rather beany since there is already the chickpea base. I have never used chickpea flour though and the rice flour does exceptional binding so these balls don't fall apart when eating cutting into them.
      • Thank you! I have a giant bag of chickpea flour and I've been trying to figure out what to do with it! :p Haha I'm so excited to try these!! :D
  34. Hello, Thanks for this great recepy. I just could not figure out the amount of chikpeas since I am not familiar with the oz can measure. Wat would be the drained amount in cups or in grams? I just went with a jar but it seems less red than in the video and I have about 25 balls. Thanks again for your ideas,
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Jauwkien! Once can is about 1 3/4 cup chickpeas I believe. They should be a brownish-red color, which comes from the salsa, ketchup and chili powder. Also, the red color comes from all the spaghetti sauce on top. Hope that helps :)
  35. Brandi! I just pulled these from the oven. I have guests coming tomorrow, so I will plate them then. But let me tell you, I tasted the mix before I started making the balls, and I thought I would like to just eat it all right then! I just ate a cooked one with no sauce, and they are deeeeeeelicious! DEE. LISH. OUS! I KNOW my carnivore friends are going to devour them. I'm also making them again this Saturday during Vegan Cooking Ckass. You are going to be such a hit!!! I am soooooooo very thankful for you.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Yay Carol!! What awesome feedback, I'm so thrilled to hear you love these so much and so excited you are making them for a cooking class, awesome!! Thank you so much!
  36. I notice you use a lot of brown rice flour in your recipes. I can't find brown rice flour ANYWHERE in my town and I'm anxious to try this. Can I just grind up some dried brown rice in my blender to make it into a flour?
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Wow, really? It's such a basic ingredient too. I am not sure if you will be able to grind brown rice flour and get it fine enough that is necessary for recipes, so my best suggestion is to order some through Amazon. It is very inexpensive and you will get your money's worth. http://amzn.to/29zluzf
  37. Hi Brandi! I look forward to making these meatballs! Can I use just regular couscous or does it have to be the gluten free kind? Also... Will you ever be writing a cookbook ? I made your Ranch dressing yesterday... It was delicious! Thank you for sharing your recipes! You are so talented in coming up with all these delicious healthy recipes!😊😊😊😊😊😊
    • Oops....Sorry Brandi... I should have read recipe more thoroughly... I see where I can use regular couscous!! 🙄😊
      • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
        No problem, Sheri! I hope you love these!
  38. Hi Brandi, These look scrumptious!! I can't wait to make them. I know you said that you tried many flours, did you happen to try garbanzo bean flour? I just got some and haven't used it yet. The recipe on the bag was for falafel.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Lori, no I have not used garbanzo flour and I imagine it would have a strong taste, but I can't say since I haven't tried it. I've never used it before. The rice flour does an exceptional job of binding the balls, so I'm not sure how chickpea flour works.
  39. These are OMG delicious.... I did not have couscous, so I used barley for the bulk... I swear it was like forming meatballs out of meat, the color was the same from the salsa and ketchup... I served them on Whole wheat spaghetti with a mushroom marinara sauce.. thank you so much for all the great recipes an tips.. I am a newbie Plant based eater and the recipes that I have tried have been wonderful!!!! :)
    • Also, I used corn flour instead of the rice flour... My husband said this is one of the best meals yet!!
      • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
        Yay! That is so awesome!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Wonderful Karen! I'm so happy to hear you loved these! Thank you so much for the feedback!
  40. I just made these yummy meatballs and they are so good!!! Thank you for all of your hard work in creating this recipe!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      So happy to hear that Tina, thank you so much for the feedback!
  41. Hi Brandi! I made these and your sauce tonight. Both are keepers! The meatballs came together very easily and are very flavorful. They have a slight crust on the outside, but soft inside. My oven is off a little so I should have taken then out a few mins early. Easy fix on that with the leftovers is I'll line a tupperware container with parchment and they will moisten up. Now for the sauce: I gave up on making my own sauce as it just never tasted good, but annoyed to have to pay $6 for a no salt no oil one. Finally one that is quick and doesn't taste blah! Next time I make it I am going to make a lot and freeze it. Thanks again for your awesome recipes :)
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      So very happy you loved these Kathleen!! Thank you!
  42. Jo
    The texture was wonderful - I've tried several other meatball recipes and none of them made meatballs that held together in the sauce as well as yours. I liked the taste too, but next time I'm thinking of replacing the salsa and ketchup with marinara sauce and the chili pepper with a shake of crushed red pepper for a stronger Italian flavor. I grew up on Italian food and I love it! Thanks, Brandi, for a great meal!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Glad you loved these Jo, I really loved the feedback! Yes, these hold together so well, which I really loved, too!
  43. I cannot wait to make these. I've tried so many other recipes and they were just so-so. Can I make these ahead and freeze them? If so, would I freeze BEFORE baking or after? Thank you for such great recipes!!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Donna! I hope you love these, they have been such a huge hit from all my readers! I would cook them as instructed first, then freeze! I have never tried freezing them though, but I would imagine it would work ok, just reheat them on low in the oven and then add to the sauce, that would be my guess! Let me know what you think!
  44. Very good! Even my meat-eating husband liked them. That is a win in my book! Thanks for the recipe.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      So awesome! So glad to hear that Lindsey, thank you so much for the feedback!
  45. Eva
    I just made these tonight and they were great! Next time I plan on adding a clove of garlic. Thank you! :-)
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Wonderful Eva, so glad you enjoyed them!
  46. These are wonderful! I made mushroom gravy and mashed potatoes to accompany instead of red sauce. Also thinking ground fennel seed might be a nice addition to the Italian style....
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Wonderful Janie, so happy to hear that!! Sounds delicious.
  47. Made these for the first time, but I used pasta in lieu of salsa, they taste great! I will definitely make these again!! Love your recipes!
    • I meant pasta sauce* Also used spaghetti squash for my "noodles"!!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      So glad to hear that Carrie, thank you so much for the wonderful feedback!
  48. can't wait to make these, have been dying to remake this dish. i was wondering though if perhaps quinoa would work in place of coucous? i can't find a gluten free version anywhere. thank you in advance and much appreciation!! love love love your recipes. they reel me in here just about every day. :)
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Marielle! I have never tried them with quinoa and personally don't care for quinoa, so I can't say the result without trying it myself. Quinoa is not as thick or "meaty" as couscous, so they would be a bit softer I imagine. There has been some readers to make them with quinoa though, so you can certainly try!
  49. Hi Brandi - love the name! LOL. I tried these vegan meatballs and they were delicious. I made a little mistake of cooking them in my sauce too long so they fell apart a bit but that didn't matter. I ate this for three days of leftovers. Thanks so much for your recipes!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Haha, yes, great name ;) I'm so happy to hear these were a hit Brandie, thank you so much for the feedback!
  50. These puppies are in the oven right now and excited doesn't even begin to cover it. I doubled the recipe and the first batch is gonna go with some fresh pasta and marinara sauce. The second batch will be frozen and then thrown in the crockpot with a honey glaze tuesday morning. I CANNOT wait to try. 5 more minutes!!!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Wonderful Nicolas! That sounds delicious! Let me know how they turned out! They are a favorite around here!
  51. Made this for the first time today ... DEE-LISH!! Plus they were super easy to make & made the house smell great while they were cooking. The mister really enjoyed them too. Served them over spaghetti squash - yum! Thanks for the great recipe.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      So happy to hear that Diana! Glad the hubby loved them too! Spaghetti squash sounds amazing! Will have to try that. Thank you so much for the feedback!
  52. Doe these freeze well for use at a later date?
  53. Thank you! they are so perfect - my omnivore boyfriend officially declared these balls are in his top5 of vegan things he had tried (I only cook vegan at home and I cook a lot, so he has some stuff to compare to) And thanks so much for the warning about oat flour: I've already ruined quite a number of meals with oat flour, because I'm like "oh, it's so healthy, why not add it instead of xxxxxxx" - and I never learn, so I'm sure I would have tried it in these balls at some point :D
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Oh, this is so wonderful Linda! Thank you so much for the fantastic review!
  54. These are wonderful! Do you have the nutritional info for these, especially the carbs? (I am diabetic on insulin)
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Stephanie! I'm so glad to hear you loved these! I do not have the nutritional info on this at this time. Sometimes I have time to include them, but it's hard at times too, due to my schedule. But if you input the ingredients in the nutrition calculator at caloriecount.com or myfitnesspal, it will give you a good estimate! https://www.caloriecount.com/cc/recipe_analysis.php
  55. I made them tonight since I was making meatball subs for my omni family. I loved them! So good! They were a little more moist in the middle than I'm used to and might try upping the couscous next time, or maybe the rice flour. I'm so excited to have meatballs again, as I haven't had them for two years now. Thank you very much for sharing your recipe.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      So glad you loved these Mandy, thank you! Yes, be careful not to overmix so they don't get too pureed, or of course, I'm sure the mixture can handle extra couscous if you like as well!
      • Oh I bet that's what I did! I totally overmixed it and now I know why not to do that! (I doubled the recipe for my big family and I have a medium-sized food processor). I'll try adding more couscous with salvage the mixture I have left. Very flavorful! I will totally make this again without over processing :)
  56. These are the tastiest meatballs. My husband and I love them. I will be making them again tonight. I have tried a variety of veggie burgers and none had the good taste that these have. Thank you.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Aww, so happy to hear that Kathleen! Thank you so much for the wonderful review!
  57. I made one batch using couscous and one batch using cooked millet (cooked 1/4 cup millet in 1/2 cup water, brought to boil and simmered for 15 minutes) for a gluten-free version for my husband. When I was combining the millet, processed chickpeas, and brown rice flour in a bowl, I also added 1 tsp tapioca flour to see if that might help it stick together better. The results look identical, so millet works great as a gluten-free option. I don't know how critical my adding the tapioca flour was. FYI, I made both batches by forming smaller balls, about half the size of yours (because that's my personal preference when I eat spaghetti), baked each batch for a total of 25 minutes, without turning them over halfway during baking, so the smaller size may also help the millet version stay stuck together really well. Just wanted to share my experiment with you and your readers! :)
  58. I made the "meatballs" using BULGAR I already had cooked, left over from another recipe (awesome chili - meaty texture gave me the idea for subbing since I had no couscous on hand), and the dough came together perfectly! I didn't have to chill, it was just right for forming nice firm balls a little smaller than golfballs. Also made the "Pizza Sauce", it's so easy - great spaghetti sauce sub! This was altogether a flavor party, for sure!! Thank you so much for your dedication and kitchen lab work - I've never made one of your recipes I didn't like!!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Candice, that is wonderful to hear!
  59. Sue
    These are so good! I made a few changes just to my taste (used chopped canned tomatoes instead of salsa, did not use chili powder or liquid smoke and I added a handful of fresh parsley). I may eat them all before I make the sauce
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Wonderful Sue! I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed these so much, thank you for the feedback!
  60. What can I use instead of salsa. Thx.
    • Jo
      I use jarred marinara sauce. It gives them more of an Italian flavor, I think.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      You can use tomato sauce in place, but keep in mind that I use salsa because it has a lot of flavor in it, acidity and spice so the balls will be more bland, so I would add some more spices to taste.
  61. I wonder if I could use homemade salsa in these, we don't have salsa here. They look amazing, btw!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi, sure I think so!
  62. Hi, I'm extremely new to eating vegan (only 8 days in) but I was wondering if Quinoa could be used in place of the couscous?
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi! I have not tested that personally so I cannot vouch for the results, but if you see some reviews above, some have subbed with quinoa with success and others have tried bulgar and millet too. I just can only vouch for the couscous since that's the only way I've made it. Couscous will give a meatier texture than quinoa though, I will say that. It's heartier and chewier.
  63. Hi Brandi! Very tasty and held together really well. I used a medium cookie scoop, because quite frankly I stink at making anything remotely round and uniform looking, and that yielded about 16 meatballs. The salsa flavor was noticeable and I wasn't sure how well it would pair with the homemade marinara sauce I had made the other day but after one bite any doubts quickly faded. Thank you for another terrific recipe.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Wonderful Laura, so very happy to hear these were such a hit! Thank you for the wonderful review!
  64. As a 16 year old trying to go vegan and having little to no experience cooking, let me just say the detailed instructions and videos are such a big help! I'm glad I found this site soon, it makes trying to cook vegan meals a lot more simple (and delicious) than what I was struggling to do before! Planning to make these tonight with the 5 minute pizza sauce! Thank you so much!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Aww, thank you so much Ashley for such a kind comment! So glad to hear the recipes are helpful. I hope you had success with the meatballs, let me know!

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