Welcome Green Monsters! We're your online guide to making conscious choices that help people, animals and the planet.
Download food monster: the biggest, baddest, yummiest vegan food app!
Buy the #EatForThePlanet book



Tempeh Meatballs [Vegan]

If you enjoy recipes like this, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App, it's available for both Android and iPhone and has free and paid versions. The app is loaded with thousands of allergy-friendly & vegan recipes/cooking tips, has hundreds of search filters and features like bookmarking, meal plans and more! The app shows you how having diet/health/food preferences can be full of delicious abundance rather than restrictions!

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]

This Recipe is :

Dairy Free 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.





When Rhea became vegan, there were no places in her Bronx neighborhood to eat so she had to learn to cook, mostly by watching TV cooking shows, especially Christina Pirello and Rachael Ray.  That led to the creation of The "V" Word website which focuses on vegan versions of favorite, familiar foods. Rhea has written several e-cookbooks which are available on her web site. It is Rhea's hope that she can spread the "V" Word to bring more compassion into the world and it is her dream to become the vegan Rachael Ray.



Want to read more posts like this? Sign up for our newsletter below!​

Browse through recent recipes below:

Vanilla Pear Cardamom Cocktail [Vegan]

Vanilla Pear Cardamom Cocktail

Super-Simple Sweet Potato and Quinoa Sliders [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Simplest-Ever Sweet Potato and Quinoa Sliders [Vegan, Gluten-Free]

Maple Chai Tea Loaf [Vegan]

Maple Chai Tea Loaf

Ginger-Citrus Tofu Powerbowl with Bok Choy and Cashews [Vegan]

Ginger-Citrus Tofu Powerbowl with Bok Choy and Cashews

Disclosure: One Green Planet accepts advertising, sponsorship, affiliate links and other forms of compensation, which may or may not influence the advertising content, topics or articles written on this site. Click here for more information.

4 comments on “Tempeh Meatballs [Vegan]”

Click to add comment
3 Years Ago

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.

3 Years Ago

So the first ingredient is canola oil, which is a GMO oil. Hmmm...

24 Jun 2017

It\'s a "GMO" through selective breeding to give it favorable lipids rather than inedible ones and is a good source of omega-3s. Hmmmm..... If you don\'t want to eat it that\'s fine, just sub with literally any other oil.

05 Feb 2018

Canola oil is not a good oil. It has a more Omega 6 ratio to Omega 3. Use Avocado oil much better.

4 Years Ago

These had a good flavor, but I didn\'t like the texture. They were very soft and mushy. I followed the recipe exactly. Browned them on all sides and simmered them in the sauce for 10 min. Probably won\'t make these again.

4 Years Ago

Where do you get GF/V bread crumbs? I can find vegan, and I can find GF, but I can\'t find both.

23 Apr 2014

I used oats instead. I ground them up in the food processor before everything else. Worked great!

Norman Mitchell
4 Years Ago


Weirdly Gruesome
4 Years Ago

I don't think I need Facebook anymore. I always end up going to your site. I'm going to just start there for now on.

Caitlin Greene
4 Years Ago

John Greene

John Greene
18 Apr 2014

Let's try it.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Follow us on

Do Not Show This Again


Submit to OneGreenPlanet

Terms & Conditions ×