Wellness Tips

Delicious and Versatile Plant-Based Meatballs Recipe

Embarking on a plant-based diet is a rewarding journey that involves gradually reducing your meat consumption. It may seem like a daunting task, but here’s the silver lining: you can adapt many of your favorite meat-based dishes to be meat-free without sacrificing flavor or satisfaction. Meatballs are a prime example, and I’m excited to share my homemade vegetarian meatball recipe with you.

After years of hesitation, I finally took the plunge and crafted this recipe for delectable vegetarian meatballs. Not only are they mouthwateringly delicious and satisfying, but they’re also incredibly versatile, making them an invaluable addition to your meat-free lifestyle. You can relish them on a heaping plate of spaghetti, incorporate them into a macro bowl, top them with tomato sauce or pesto, pair them with soup or salad, or simply enjoy them on their own. 

Here’s an extra tip: this vegetarian dish can easily become gluten-free by using gluten-free panko crumbs. So, let’s explore the world of plant-based meatballs and enhance your wellness journey with this delightful recipe.


Preparation Time: 1 hour 
Makes about 12 meatballs


1/3 cup quinoa, or bulgur, or a combination of both  
2/3 cups water  
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, plus 4 tablespoons, divided, plus additional for brushing the baking sheet 
½ cup onion, chopped 
3 garlic cloves, chopped 
2 cups eggplant, diced into 1-inch cubes
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese cut from a block, and then diced into small square pieces, plus 2 tablespoons grated for garnishing
¼ cup parsley, chopped 
½ cup panko or gluten-free panko crumbs  
3 tablespoons of your favorite organic marinara sauce (mine is Rao’s marinara)
1 ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning 
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt to taste 
A few grinds of pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 375°F.  

Add the quinoa and the water to a small pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cover, and cook until the quinoa has sprouted, about 15 minutes. Salt to taste. Fluff with a fork and set aside.  

Heat the 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the onion and sauté until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic at about the 3-minute mark and continue to sauté the onions and garlic together for the last 2 minutes. Set aside in a prep bowl.  

Using the same skillet, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and eggplant. Sauté over medium heat until the eggplant is golden and tender throughout, about 8 minutes. Salt to taste.  

To a large food processor, add the quinoa, onions, and garlic, eggplant, Parmesan, parsley, panko crumbs, 3 tablespoons marinara sauce, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Pulse until the ingredients are well combined. The texture should be almost smooth but not completely.  

Using your hands or an ice cream scooper, gently roll the mixture into about 12 balls. (If you’re too rough with it, they will collapse.) 

Brush a baking sheet lightly with olive oil. Transfer the balls to the sheet and then to the oven. Bake for about 22 minutes, checking at about the 20-minute mark to make sure they’re not getting overdone (if using a toaster oven check sooner as they cook faster). When finished, remove the sheet from the oven and serve the veggie balls as desired, on top of pasta, as a side dish, or in a macro bowl.

My new book is out!

Reinvent your diet, take control of your health, and live a better life with a flexible and sustainable plant-based diet solution.