Vegan sweet and sour tempeh meatballs from scratch are easier than you think! These make the perfect dinner when served over rice with some steamed broccoli on the side.
Sweet and Sour Tempeh Meatballs [Vegan]
For the Meatballs:
- 2 tablespoons ground flax plus 5 tablespoons water
- 2 blocks organic tempeh
- 1 cup finely chopped cilantro
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- Pinch of chili flakes
- Pinch each fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 1/2 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon sriracha or regular hot sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
For the Sweet and Sour Sauce:
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
- Pinch each sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup water, divided
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar (can sub apple cider vinegar)
- 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- 6 tablespoons ketchup
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 10-oz can pineapple chunks, juice reserved
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
- Cooked rice (enough to serve 4)
- Steamed broccoli or kale (enough to serve 4)
For the Tempeh Meatballs:
- Make the tempeh meatballs: First, make the flax egg. In a small bowl, whisk together the flax and water and set aside for a couple minutes to thicken.
- Place all of the remaining meatball ingredients in a food processor fitted with the S blade and add the flax egg. Pulse until everything is nicely minced and the mixture holds together when rolled into a ball.
- Preheat oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Roll the tempeh mixture into 16 evenly sized balls and place on the baking sheet as you go.
- Bake for 25 minutes.
For the Sweet and Sour Sauce:
- Make the sweet and sour sauce: Warm the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Saute until nicely browned, 8-10 minutes.
- Add 3/4 cup of water, the rice vinegar, coconut sugar, tamari, ketchup, ginger, and 1/2 cup of the reserved pineapple juice to a medium saucepan. Bring to a low simmer over medium heat.
- In a small dish, whisk together the remaining 1/4 cup of water and arrowroot starch to form a slurry.
- Add the contents of the medium saucepan to the onions and garlic in the skillet. Whisk in the arrowroot starch slurry, followed by the pineapple chunks. Shortly after adding the arrowroot, the sauce should thicken. (At this point, keep the sauce warm, but be careful not to overheat it, as this could cause the arrowroot to break down and lose its thickening power.)
- For serving, you have a couple of options. You can either add the meatballs to the sauce, as pictured, or you can plate the meatballs and spoon the sauce over individual portions.
- Either way, it's recommend serving these meatballs on a bed of rice, with some steamed broccoli or kale on the side.