Vegan Zucchini ‘Meatballs’- less than 10 ingredients and 20 minutes for a healthy and delicious plant-based meal. Each serving offers 12 grams of protein! (vegan + gluten-free)
I hope you guys aren’t getting burned out on zucchini recipes…
I’ve been on a kick lately- zucchini muffins , zucchini lasagna , zucchini boats . It’s finding it’s way into everything I make!
If you have yet to try any of the said zucchini recipes up to this point, I’m going to say this one is probably my favorite. That’s excluding the muffins; I’m referring strictly to the savory recipes. Muffins will always win because they’re muffins.
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So I really, really loved the lasagna but to be honest it wasn’t something I would make on a weekly basis. Why, you ask? Because I’m lazy.
On the other hand, these Vegan Zucchini Meatballs are waaaaay easier. They require less than 10 ingredients and 20 minutes to make, and all you have to clean is a bowl and a food processor. That’s the kind of recipe I like to have on repeat.
By the way, I have a quick question for you: does calling these zucchini meatballs bother you?
I’ve seen a lot of people express annoyance by the use of meat-related words when referring to vegan food. I know it doesn’t make sense to call something that’s meatless meat but when people go to search for vegan recipes, they are more likely to use those terms. Or that’s my suspicion, at least.
Anyway, let’s get back to the balls. In addition to being fairly simple, they’re also packed full of plant protein and fiber, making them a nutritious option to have on the meal plan. You can even prep them ahead of time so that they’re ready to bake and serve on busy weeknight.
I like to eat them smothered with marinara on top of whole grain pasta (which brings the protein to 25g per serving!) but feel free to substitute zucchini noodles if you’re wanting something lower in carbohydrates. Because there’s always room for more zucchini. 😉
- 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup rolled oats*
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 cup shredded zucchini (about 1 large zucchini)
- 32 ounces marinara
- 8 ounces whole grain pasta
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the drained and rinsed chickpeas, garlic cloves, and rolled oats. Pulse for about 5-10 seconds, until finely chopped. When you press the mixture between your fingers, it should hold together. Transfer to a large bowl along with the dried herbs, salt, nutritional yeast, lemon juice and shredded zucchini. Do not use more than 1 cup of shredded zucchini. Stir together until well-combined. If the mixture is too wet to handle, add a little flour (you can grind extra oats into a flour) or nutritional yeast to help absorb excess moisture.
Preheat the oven to 375°F then line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using your hands, scoop out on heaping tablespoon of the zucchini mixture at a time and roll into 12 separate balls. Arrange on the baking sheet a few inches apart then bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta as directed.
Once the zucchini balls are light golden brown, remove them from the oven and set aside. Serve warm over cooked pasta with marinara sauce. Garnish with fresh basil and enjoy!
*Be sure to use certified gluten-free oats for allergies
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days