Vegan Tofu Meatballs

I’ve been looking for a great vegan and gluten-free meatball for a while. The problem has always been getting them to stick together.  I’ve solved the issue and was able to come up with really good tasting vegan meatballs that are 100% gluten-free

This recipe only has 7 ingredients and can be made in just a few minutes in a food processor. Basically, you combine extra firm tofu, an onion, some garlic, tomato paste, and the two secret ingredients. Then mix in the cilantro. Refrigerate to firm everything together, and then bake at 350 for 30 minutes. You can also fry them if you want.

What do you do when you want to make traditional meatballs but want something healthier. You make vegetarian meatballs with a tofu mixture instead. All the protein – none of the guilt!

The benefits of a vegetarian diet have been well established, and for over 35 years that has been my life.

This recipe comes together very fast.

The first 6 ingredients all get put into a food processor.

I like to crumble my extra-firm tofu, chop my onions into small pieces, and mince the garlic before putting it into the large bowl.  The other ingredients can just be added as they come.

Then pulse the blade several times to combine everything.  I like to use a silicone spatula to scrape the sides, and then pulse a few times more.  

The idea is to just combine everything.  Not turn it into a puree (which is easy to do if you aren’t paying attention).

Then I transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and add by hand the cilantro which I chop by hand. 

Next, you form the mixture into balls.  I use a little ice cream scooper that makes 1-inch perfect balls every time.

Place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in the fridge to cool and solidify for about 20-minutes or longer.  

At this point, you have a choice.  You can freeze them and cook later, or prepare them immediately.

These tofu meatballs can be cooked in two different ways.  Either in the oven or fried.  Can you guess my favorite way?  Yep.  Fried.  But I don’t feel gully because they are low fat, and very healthy to start with, so the added oil from frying isn’t a big deal.

Baking Tofu Meatballs takes about 30 minutes at 350° F.  Put them on a parchment-lined (or lightly oiled) baking tray and take them out when they are done.   You don’t need to turn or monitor at all.

The other way is to fry the veggie meatballs over medium heat in a non-stick pan.  Use a couple of tablespoons of good olive or avocado oil, and fry them up in batches.  Don’t overcrowd the pan, and turn them every few minutes to make sure all the sides get evenly browned and cooked.  

Serve with a savory sauce and your favorite pasta noodles, or any way you want!

The Special Detail I love in this recipe is the smoked Paprika. Not only does it give a more authentic color, but have you smelled it? Once you do, you will use it All. The. Time.

Substitutions and alterations for Tofu balls

Gluten-Free option – this recipe is 100% gluten-free!

Vegan Option – This recipe is 100% vegan too!

Carnivore Option – Ground beef. Duh.

There are several different add-ins I use when making this.  Sometimes I add in a half tablespoon fennel seeds or even a tiny splash of liquid smoke or soy sauce for extra flavor. Honestly, though this recipe for vegan meatballs doesn’t need it.  

Goes with

  • Spaghetti with tomato sauce
  • A nice side salad
  • Meatball Subs
Vegan Tofu Meatballs

Vegan Tofu Meatballs

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 12 meatballs
Calories 50 kcal


  • 1 Food Processor
  • 1 1" stainelss steel scoop with trigger


  • 1 Block Firm Tofu
  • 1 Onion
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 5 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 tbsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tbsp Maple Syrup
  • ¼ c Cilantro


  • Press the tofu to remove all water
  • Chop the onion
    Mince the garlic
  • Into a food processor Crumble the bolck of tofu
  • Add onion, garlic, smoked paprika, tomato paste, and maple syrup
  • pulse several times and be sure to scrape the sides to make sure everything is mixed well
  • chop the cilantro
  • Empty tofu mix into new bowl and mix in chopped cilantro and mix well.
  • using the scoop form 1 inch balls and place onto a tray.
  • Refrigerate the tray of balls for 20 minutes to allow them to solidify.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350° F or until golden.
Keyword Burger, dinner, easy, Gluten-Free, Tofu, Vegan, vegetarian

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