These vegan meatballs in a rich and tangy tomato sauce are packed with all the aromatic flavours of Italy and are super easy to make. The perfect meat-free meal for any night of the week.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- These meatless meatballs are delicious and perfect for when you are going veggie but don’t want to lose out on your favourite meals.
- My vegan meatballs are really easy to make. It’s just a case of whizzing together your ingredients before sauteing them while your sauce cooks.
- This vegetarian meatballs in tomato sauce recipe is super economical and uses basic store-cupboard ingredients.
I came up with the idea for these meatless meatballs for my daughter who wanted a vegetarian meatball recipe but without mushrooms as she just can’t stand them. So chickpeas became the base for these delicious Italian vegan meatballs.
Chickpeas are delicious and healthy too. I use them in a lot of recipes, why not check out my chickpea gnocchi and tomato sauce.
Ingredients for vegan meatballs in tomato sauce
The base – Chickpeas are the stars of the show here. They make up the base for these vegetarian meatballs along with some breadcrumbs. I used wholemeal bread which has more flavour than standard white bread and is of course healthier too.
Flavours – good old onion and garlic make up the flavour base, and lets face it, what self-respecting savoury dish doesn’t have them.
Herbs – These are your flavour powerhouses and make your vegan meatballs simply sing with fabulous Italian flavour. I’ve used my homemade Italian Seasoning which is a mix of oregano, rosemary, basil and thyme, but you can easily use the Italian seasoning mix you can buy in jars in the supermarket. Or simply use a pinch of each herb.
The other herb I’m using here is fresh parsley, this really lifts the flavour and gives these vegetarian meatballs a really fresh flavour.
I make a simple tomato sauce to go with my vegan meatballs, a mix of tinned tomatoes, onion, vegetable stock, garlic and herbs.
The complete list of ingredients and full instructions for making this recipe can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post.
How to make vegan meatballs
First whizz up your onion and garlic in a food processor but don’t go mad and let it run for ages, you just want to chop them up finely here not make a mush.
Now add the fresh parsley, dried herbs and bread to the processor and whizz again and you’ll get a lovely vibrant green mixture.
Drain the chickpeas reserving the liquid (aquafaba) to make vegan meringues and tip them into a mixing bowl and mash well with a fork.
Add all the ingredients from the food processor and mix everything together a bit like making a dough really.
Take bits of the mixture in your hands and toll into little balls. I got 12 vegan meatballs from this recipe.
Place the vegan meatballs on a small oven tray and bake for about 15 minutes while you make the tomato sauce.
When they come out of the oven they should be browned and crispy on the outside and moist and delicious on the inside.
Making the sauce
Saute your onion and garlic in a small frying pan with a little olive oil for about 2 minutes.
Now add the herbs, seasoning, tinned tomatoes and stock and simmer for about 15 minutes till you have a rich and aromatic tomato sauce.
Once your tomato sauce is ready simply remove the vegan meatballs from the oven and gently add them to the tomato sauce in the pan.
You don’t want to be rough with them and as they are already cooked and hot all you want to do is let them nestle in the tomato sauce and take on the fabulous Italian flavours. Let the meatballs simmer in the sauce for 5 minutes then your meatless meatballs in tomato sauce are ready to serve.
How to serve meat-free meatballs in tomato sauce
I love to serve my vegan meatballs in tomato sauce with spaghetti. It’s just so easy to pull together and that sauce just blends perfectly with the pasta.
Serve your meat-free meatballs with any other pasta you fancy or with chips on the side or rice or couscous.
Your vegan meatballs will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge and can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Looking for other super easy veggie meals to try? Then check these out before you go;
And for even more veggie inspiration check out my Vegetarian Recipes section for a whole host of tasty recipes.
Finally, if you do try this recipe don’t forget to leave a comment/star rating below as I just love to hear from readers. Want more Larder Love? Then follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and sign up for my newsletter too of course.
Vegan Meatballs In Tomato Sauce
- 400 g tinned chickpeas drained
- 1 slice wholemeal bread
- 1/2 onion chopped
- 1 clove garlic chopped
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 10 g parsley fresh
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 onion finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 400 g tinned tomatoes
- 200 ml vegetable stock
- 1/2 tdp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 200C
- Whizz up the onion and garlic in a food processor then add the dried herbs, parsley and bread and whizz again
- Drain the chickpeas (keep the aquafaba to make vegan meringues) and mash in a mixing bowl with a fork
- All all ingredients to the bowl and bring together with your hands like a dough. Pull off pieces and roll into small balls (I got 12 from this recipe)
- Bake the vegan meatballs for 25 minutes while you make the tomato sauce
Making the tomato sauce
- Saute the onion and garlic in a little olive oil for 2 minutes then add the tinned tomatoes, herbs, stock and seasoning
- Simmer for 15 minutes
Bringing it together
- Remove the vegan meatballs from the oven and add them gently to the tomato sauce and continue to cook for 5 minutes