Tempeh meatballs are really fast and easy to make – all you need is a food processor, though you could definitely make them by hand too. They come together quickly, you just fry them up and then simmer them in your favorite sauce. Of course, I make my Mom’s Marinara Sauce. One block of tempeh gives you about 8 or 9 meatballs. They are delicious served over pasta or in a sandwich. The tempeh meatballs taste rich and flavorful with a perfect soft yet firm meatball texture. They hold up well in sauce and are filling and satisfying. I served them over a bed of brown rice spaghetti and my Mom’s Marinara Sauce. My friend loved them!

Tempeh Meatballs [Vegan]




8 - 9 meatballs


For Mom's Marinara Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 large or 2 small shallots, minced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 28-ounce can whole or diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

For the Tempeh Meatballs

  • 1 tablespoon flax seed
  • 3 tablespoons warm water
  • 1 block tempeh
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free, vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 and 1/4 cup gluten-free bread crumbs
  • Vegetable oil, for frying


For Mom's Marinara Sauce

  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and sweat them out for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for about 1 minute.  Add the crushed tomatoes to the saucepan. Add the whole or diced tomatoes. If you are using whole tomatoes, gently crush them with a potato masher.
  2. Add the salt, pepper, basil, oregano and parsley to the sauce. Stir and let cook. When the sauce starts to bubble, lower the heat to medium-low and cover the pan. Let cook for at least 20 minutes. Taste and adjust for seasonings.

For the Tempeh Meatballs

  1. Prepare the marinara sauce. In a small mug, combine the flaxseed and warm water. Mix and let sit for about 10 minutes. This is your binder.
  2. Break up the tempeh and add it to a food processor. Add the shallots, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and the parmesan or nutritional yeast to the food processor. Process until everything is combined.
  3. Add the herbs and the salt to the food processor. Add the flax mixture and 1/3 cup of bread crumbs to the food processor and process until well combined.
  4. Spread the remaining ¼ cup of bread crumbs on a plate. Using a spoon, scoop up some of the tempeh mix and roll it into a ball – about the size of a golf ball. Roll the tempeh meatball in the bread crumbs so that it’s completely covered and set it aside on a plate. Continue making meatballs until you use up all the tempeh mix.
  5. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tempeh meatballs to the skillet and fry them. Depending on the size of your skillet, you may need to fry them in batches. Make sure the meatballs brown on all sides. The way I do this is to pull the skillet back and forth by the handle which makes the tempeh meatballs roll around. I find this covers all the sides better than trying to turn them with a utensil. When they are browned, transfer the meatballs to a paper towel-lined plate.
  6. Gently add the tempeh meatballs to the simmering marinara sauce. Let them cook about 10 minutes until they are heated through. Serve with pasta or in a sandwich.

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Nutritional Information

Total Calories: 1223 | Total Carbs: 196 g | Total Fat: 24 g | Total Protein: 61 g | Total Sodium: 7157 g | Total Sugar: 30 g Per Serving: Calories: 153 | Carbs: 25 g | Fat: 3 g | Protein: 8 g | Sodium: 895 mg | Sugar: 4 g Calculation not including oil used for frying. Note: The information shown is based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.


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  1. Only things I changed were not going gluten free or vegan…used regular parmesan. No shallots, so I subbed onion. Texture is like a mouse pate\’ and some were falling apart during frying. I\’m putting the rest in the freezer to firm up and hoping for better results. Flavor is very mushroomy/pate\’ like. Good, but maybe more for a pate\’ than a meatball.

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