Lentil & Quinoa “Meatballs” – Gluten Free, Vegan

These gluten free and vegan Lentil and Quinoa “Meatballs” taste amazing and have a wonderful texture! They are the perfect plant based meatball substitute!

Lentil & Quinoa "Meatballs" - Gluten Free & Vegan

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When I first heard the term “meatless meatballs” I thought it sounded a bit crazy.  I mean, what does that even mean, “meatless meatballs”? 

It wasn’t until I started making things like falafel and black bean burgers that I really could see how a meatless meatball might work.

If those bean based dishes could be so tasty and have a great texture then surely you can have something similar in meatball form.

So after doing some research, I realized that people are making meatless meatballs out of all kinds of different ingredients.  Black beans, mushrooms, chickpeas, lentils, and quinoa, just to name a few. 

Coincidentally I had been wanting to find more recipes to use lentils in so I went with a lentil and quinoa recipe. 

Part of the reason I wanted to use quinoa in addition to the lentils was because I have used it in chili and it really can give a meat-like texture to vegan recipes.

Lentil & Quinoa "Meatballs" - Gluten Free & Vegan

At this point, I was getting really excited to try out this recipes and with a few adjustments, the results were amazing! 

The texture was very similar to a traditional meatball for me which was really exciting and they had SO much flavor. 

I feel like anytime you stumble across a recipe that is a healthier version of something and it tastes similar to the original recipe, that is a huge win. 

What are some wins you have had in your kitchen making a traditional dish healthier?  These “meatless meatballs” are one of my favorite meatless meals and I hope they become that for your family as well!

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Lentil & Quinoa "Meatballs" - Gluten Free & Vegan
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Lentil & Quinoa "Meatballs" - Gluten Free & Vegan

Lentil and Quinoa “Meatballs” – Gluten Free, Vegan

  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 3034 1x


  • 1 cup uncooked green lentils
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 3 cups low sodium vegetable broth to cook lentils and quinoa
  • 1 Tbs olive oil for sauteing onions
  • 3 Tbs olive oil for cooking “meatballs”
  • 1/2 medium red or yellow onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 1/2 Tbs Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup gluten free oats (or gluten free breadcrumbs)
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. In a small pan, add green lentils and 2 cups vegetable broth and cook according to the package directions.
  2. In a separate small pan, cook quinoa and 1 cup vegetable broth according to the package directions.
  3. Mince the onion and saute in olive oil over medium heat for 5-8 minutes or until tender.
  4. Add lentils, quinoa, oats, and garlic to a food processor and blend until smooth.
  5. If the mixture is too dry, add water a tablespoon at a time until smooth.
  6. Transfer the lentil and quinoa mixture to a large bowl and add the cooked onion, Italian seasoning, salt, and stir to combine.
  7. Using your hands, scoop the mixture and form medium sized balls.
  8. Heat 3 Tbs of olive oil over medium to high heat in a large skillet.
  9. Add the “meatballs” to the skillet and cook 8-10 minutes rotating the balls occasionally to brown evenly*.
  10. Serve over gluten free pasta, gluten free bread to make “meatball” subs, or just with some pasta sauce.


  • *Be careful when you are rotating the meatballs, they are very soft during cooking. I find rolling them around using a fork to get underneath them has been the easiest for me.


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  1. I call mine “bean balls” … after many years vegetarian i became tired of referring to things by what they’re not (i.e. “meatless”) and prefer to call them by what they ARE 👍 great recipe!

    1. Hi Ali, thanks so much for sharing! I’m so glad you enjoyed them! I’m so sorry I don’t know the calories in these. Calories are not something I keep track of, but I know there are some sites that you can plug the ingredients into to get that information. Sorry I could be more helpful with that!

    1. Hi Georgette, you can definitely bake them they just may not be as crispy as they are when pan fried. I would recommend 350°F for 20-30 minutes. I would also flip them halfway through to help them get a little crisp. Hope this helps!

  2. I did half right out of the processor but refrigerated the other meatballs , the refigerated balls were easier to cook because they were chilled.

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