Mother Grain Meatless Meatballs

[donotprint] Quinoa, the mother grain, a vegan/vegetarian staple and one which is still underutilised by the wider population. The pronunciation still causes confusion, assumed to require a whole heap of cooking or require complex action in order to create something edible.

The reality is far from it! It cooks a hell of a lot faster than rice, using a simple 1:2 ratio of grain to liquid (though I always use a little more!), and it’s incredibly versatile. Granted it does have quite a distinct flavour, and by distinct I don’t me not all that appetising, it’s merely got more flavour packed in that blander grains like brown rice.

Not only does it make for the perfect protein packed side, the base of warm main meal or salad, it can easily be moulded together with a flax egg and a little flour or breadcrumbs.

Mushrooms, tomato paste, herbs and seasoning and one serving of cooked quinoa, either made especially or leftover from some other wondrous meal. 5 medium sized “meatless meatballs” later, served up on a bed of thick rich homemade tomato sauce, fresh basil over the top….

Delicious and nutritious! (My favourite recipe approval saying! It’s the equivalent of me giving a two thumbs up and a gold star to a new creation!)

I knew quinoa was quite rich in protein but it was only when I went and did a bit of reading prior to my plant protein post over the weekend that I realised it was made up of a hefty 16% protein; about 50% more than other grains!

These vegan meatballs are not only packed with protein, they also have a hit of B Vitamins and Omega 3’s thanks to the inclusion of ground flax seed and nutritional yeast. The rich quick tomato sauce was the perfect accompaniment. An incredibly fresh, light yet satisfying dish. Fresh basil is a must; nothing says Italy to me like fresh basil and it never fails to completely life a dish to whole new level of tastiness!

The meatless meatballs themselves went a little crisp on the outside as they baked in the oven, held together beautifully and remained soft in the middle. So simple, damn tasty and a fantastic vegan alternative to the classic meatball. I’m not sure you’d eat all five paired with pasta as a base but served up with a side salad they perfect just on their own.

Another amazing meatless meatball you must try if you haven’t already are my Indian spiced lentil balls with tahini sauce! The eggplant ones are also pretty incredible!

What’s your favourite take of the meatless meatball? [/donotprint]

Quinoa and Mushroom Meatless Meatballs


Serves – 1 (5 medium balls)

Preparation Time – 15 minutes

Cooking Time – 20 minutes


Quinoa Balls

  • 1/4 cup (60g) uncooked quinoa + 180ml (3/4 cup) water
  • 1 tbsp ground flax + 3 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tbsp chickpea flour
  • 2 small shallots finely diced
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper


  • 125ml (1/2 cup) passata (sieved tomatoes)
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Fresh basil to serve


  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
  2. Mix together flax and water and set to once side for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile add garlic and onion along with olive oil to a pot for the sauce and cook for 3 minutes. Add in all other ingredients, bring to the boil and allow to simmer over a low heat for 20 minutes.
  4. Cover quinoa with water, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, until all liquid has bee absorbed.
  5. Add mushrooms, garlic and shallots to a non stick pan with a drop of olive oil and cook for 5-8 minutes. Place in a bowl lined with kitchen paper to drain off any excess water.
  6. Mix together cooked quinoa with chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, mushrooms, onion and garlic. Add in tomato paste, seasoning and dried herbs.
  7. Once well mixed used damp palms to form 5 medium meatballs. Place on a non stick baking tray and bake for 15 minutes.
  8. Serve in a bowl, sauce on the bottom, basil over the top and a little fresh salad on the side.

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  1. Just out of curiosity, where do you buy chickpea flour. I know I could probably make these “meatballs” using other flours but I’d just like to know where other foodies buy their essentials. From twitter I know that you do a lot of online shopping 🙂