TVP Meatballs (High-Protein Vegan Meatballs)
These TVP meatballs are chewy and juicy with a delicious meaty texture and flavor.
Plus, they are packed with 16 grams of plant-based protein per serving and are low-fat, so they are perfect as a high-protein vegan meal.
Why Should You Add TVP To Your Meals?
Textured Vegetable Protein, or TVP, are one the cheapest, healthiest sources of protein for vegans.
If you have never bought textured soy protein, it’s made from soy with nothing else added. As a result, it’s a clean protein source for vegetarians with many other significant advantages.
Textured Vegetable Proteins are also:
- Fast to cook – All you have to do is pour hot boiled water or boiled stock, stir, and simmer for a few minutes.
- Cheap – It’s even more affordable than other soy proteins, like edamame or tofu.
- It tastes like real ground meat – Many vegans are trying to emulate the texture of ground meat. TVP is the best and cleanest option to do so.
You might have tried my TVP taco meat, but you can also use TVP to shape juicy, meat-free, high-protein meatballs.
So let me share with you how to make protein-loaded vegan meatballs.
How To Make TVP Meatballs
This is the easiest vegan meatball recipe, ready in barely 20 minutes for a quick and healthy vegan dinner.
The ingredients you need to make these vegan meatballs are very simple.
- TVP, also called Textured Vegetable Proteins or textured soy protein.
- Vegetable broth – We used a low-sodium broth. Feel free to increase the salt in the recipe.
- Onion Powder
- Garlic Powder
- All-Purpose Flour or chickpea flour if gluten-free.
- Tamari Sauce or soy sauce – This adds the Unami flavor.
- Nutritional Yeast
- Dried Oregano
- Ground Flaxseeds
- Parsley or cilantro
You can play with spices and add some dry herbs or spices like:
- Smoked Paprika
- Garam Masala for Indian-style meatballs
First, bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a non-stick saucepan over medium-high heat.
Next, reduce to medium heat, pour the TVP, stir, and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes or until the TVP has absorbed all the liquid.
The trick to making chewy meat-free meatballs is to stir flax meal and flour when the TVP is still warm.
Therefore, gluten is highly activated, and fiber from flax meal results in a chewier texture.
Stir in flour, ground flaxseeds, and all the remaining ingredients: nutritional yeast, dried oregano, fresh cilantro or parsley, tamari sauce, garlic powder, and onion powder.
Stir very well until it forms a sticky paste. It shouldn’t be liquid. If it is, add more flour, one tablespoon at a time.
It should be thick and sticky but dense.
Next, spray some avocado oil on your hands, scoop out one tablespoon of mixture, and roll it between your hands.
Repeat until no more meatball batter is left. You should get 12 to 14 meatballs in total. Don’t forget to re-oil your hands between each meatball, as the batter is very sticky.
Set the meatballs aside on a plate covered with oiled parchment paper.
Cooking Plant-Based Meatballs
You can fry, air fry, or bake these meatballs.
Keep in mind that these meatballs are better cooked without sauce.
When in contact with sauce, they hold their shape, but get softer.
Therefore, cooking the meatballs with oil for a crispy edge and soft, chewy, juicy center is better.
Then, serve them on top of tomato pasta or bread for a vegan meatball sandwich.
My favorite and fastest option is to fry the TVP meatballs with avocado oil. Avocado oil has a high smoke point and is the healthiest option for frying food at high temperatures.
Warm some avocado oil in a non-stick frying pan, then add all the vegetarian meatballs. Make sure they don’t touch each other.
Cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, adding more oil if needed to fry all the sides of the meatballs.
Spray some oil around the balls, and place the meatballs in the air fryer basket in a single layer, ensuring they don’t touch each other.
Air fry at 350°F (180°C) for 15 to 20 minutes, flipping halfway or until crispy on the sides and warm in the center.
Baking Vegan Meatballs
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly oil the paper with oil spray.
Place the vegan meatballs on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer, half a thumb apart.
Spray extra oil on top of the balls, then bake on the center rack for 22 to 25 minutes, flipping them halfway.
Cook them until crispy and warm.
These meatballs are delicious appetizers to dip into cold dip and sauce like:
- Cucumber Dip
- Tomato sauce
You can also serve the meatballs on top of tomato pasta like our red lentil pasta recipe or on vegan spaghetti Bolognese.
Alternatively, you can use the meatballs in a baguette or hot dog buns to make a vegan sub-style sandwich.
If you have food allergies, try some of the substitution options below.
- Gluten-Free – To make the meatballs gluten-free, replace the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free blend for the best results. You can also try chickpea flour or certified gluten-free oat flour. Both options provide different textures. For example, oat flour makes the meatballs fragile, and chickpea flour adds a slightly bitter aftertaste.
- Low-FODMAP – Skip the onion and garlic powder.
- Flax-Free – You can use corn flour or ground chia seeds instead of ground flaxseeds.
Store leftovers in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 4 days or freeze them for up to 1 month.
You can rewarm the frozen meat-free balls without thawing in advance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Find below my answers to your most common questions about this recipe.
Can I Add The Meatballs To The Sauce?
These meatballs soften quickly when soaked in sauce.
Therefore, serving them aside or on top of pasta cooked in their sauce is better.
This preserves the crispy texture of the meatballs, preventing them from falling into pieces after soaking too long in the sauce.
Can I Freeze TVP Meatballs?
Yes, this is a freezer-friendly vegan dinner.
First, you can freeze cooked or uncooked meatballs. Then, rewarm frozen vegan meatballs in a warm non-stick frying pan with olive oil.
More Easy Vegan Dinners
If you like this recipes, you’ll love these other easy vegan recipes:
Have you tried these vegan TVP meatballs? Share a comment or review below.
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- 1 cup TVP
- 1 cup Vegetable Broth
- 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
- 2 tablespoons Parsley - finely chopped
- ½ cup All-Purpose Flour
- 2 tablespoons Flaxseed Meal
- 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
- ⅛ teaspoon Ground Pepper
- ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 tablespoon Tamari Sauce
- 2 tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
- 1-2 tablespoons Water - if needed
- In a small saucepan, bring the vegetable broth to a boil. Add TVP, reduce to medium heat, cover, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring once in a while, until the TVP is dry and has absorbed all the liquid.
- Remove from the heat, uncover, and add all remaining ingredients. The warmth will activate the flour gluten and make the meatballs chewier, so don't wait.
- Stir to bring ingredients together and form a sticky, dense mixture. If too wet, add more flour.
- Set aside for a few minutes to cool down and easy to handle by hand.
- Oil hand with olive oil, scoop out one tablespoon of mixture and roll between your hands into a ball.
- Place meatballs on a plate covered with parchment paper. Repeat the steps above until all mixture has been turned into meatballs.
- Warm olive oil in a non-stick frying pan, then add all the meatballs. Make sure they don't touch each other.
- Cook for 5-6 minutes, flipping the meatballs on all sides to cook evenly.
- If too dry, add more oil until all meatballs are crispy and warm in the center.
- Serve on top of tomato pasta or any dish you like. Don't cook in lots of sauce, or they soften and can break into pieces.
- Store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 1 month.