Quinoa Walnut Vegetarian Meatballs

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Vegetarian meatballs made with quinoa and walnuts. It’s what’s for dinner.
This is a recipe I first made years ago when I was just getting into cooking with no meat. It started with throwing a bunch of stuff in a food processor. It’s actually still kind of the same, but perfected a bit.
vegetarian meatballs
Now I know that with things like Beyond beef and Impossible burgers, vegetarian meatballs don’t need to be quite so vegetarian. But this recipe is actually pretty tasty, and full of nutritious things as well. They’re probably not going to fool any meat eaters into thinking that they are eating beef or anything. But they are pretty tasty with some pasta and marinara.
vegetarian meatballs
You’ll need a food processor for this. I mean, sure, you can probably chop everything if you want, but the walnuts need to one almost paste like in order for this to come together well enough to hold up. A food processor makes it pretty easy — just pulse the walnuts and parsley, add to a bowl with some quinoa and seasoning ingredients, and form into meatballs. You’ll bake these until they’re good and browned — don’t skimp here, you want them to be. nice and toasty.
vegetarian meatballs
I made a quick marinara for these. It’s a recipe that’s been making the rounds for a while — San Marzano tomatoes, butter, onion. I add olive oil because it makes the sauce rich and jammy, but it’s really simple, doesn’t take long, and is tasty on a busy night.
I would normally serve this with spaghetti or angel hair, but I had linguine. Penne would work fine too I suppose. Anything that you would eat with meatballs will work here.
If you wanted to serve this with garlic bread, that wouldn’t be a bad idea. Maybe a glass of red wine. It may not be grandma’s spaghetti and meatballs, but I promise you it will be good enough that you’ll want to make it again.
vegetarian meatballs

Quinoa Walnut Vegetarian Meatballs

These easy vegetarian meatballs are filling and nutritious and perfect with a big plate of pasta. A new kind of comfort food.
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 258 kcal


  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 5 basil leaves
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

To serve:

  • Marinara sauce
  • Pasta of your choice cooked according the package directions


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment.
  • Put the walnuts, parsley, and basil leaves in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until walnuts are very finely ground, just shy of becoming a paste.
  • Transfer this to a large bowl.
  • Heat a skillet of medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the garlic, Italian seasoning, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for about 30 seconds and turn off heat.
  • Add the garlic and onions to the walnuts. Add. the lemon, quinoa, Parmesan, and egg. Mix well.
  • Using a cookie scoop (or your hands) form the mixture into 1-2 inch balls. Put on prepared baking sheet.
  • Brush with the remaining oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until meatballs are well browned and crisp, turning once about halfway through.
  • Serve with your choice of pasta and sauce.


Storing leftovers: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container the fridge for up to 3 days.
Pairs well with: Double Garlic Bread, A Simple Green Salad


Calories: 258kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 5gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 12mgPotassium: 175mgFiber: 3gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 79IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 46mgIron: 2mg
Nutrition information is only an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. View full nutrition disclousre.
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