Spaghetti Vegetarian Quinoa Meatballs recipe with step by step photos. Healthy Spaghetti Vegetarian Quinoa Meatballs.. so good you'll be able to fool a red meat eater.
Nothing is better than Spaghetti Vegetarian Quinoa Meatballs. I know all you red meat eaters just got the WTF look across your face. Okay okay, wipe that look off your face. Allow me to rephrase.
After “real” meatballs, nothing is better than Spaghetti Vegetarian Quinoa Meatballs. How’s that?
Although I don’t eat red meat, I have nibbled at “real” meatballs on a couple occasions (@Lavo, Las Vegas) and they do undoubtedly taste better than any vegetarian/vegan meatball recipe out there.
But since we are all here to promote good health, here’s to second-best – Spaghetti Vegetarian Quinoa Meatballs made with quinoa and mushrooms and breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese and basil and then rolled into little balls and baked off in the oven.
Even my “picky eater” husband who isn’t a fan of quinoa or mushrooms for that matter L-O-V-E-D these quinoa meatballs, and thus I am pretty confident most people will enjoy this dish.
For this recipe, I strongly recommend buying a really “good quality” marinara sauce since the bulk of the flavor is in the sauce. My recommendation is Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce which is nothing short of perfection. I can’t stop raving about it, and just like I, you will be transformed to Italy after just one bite. Seriously! For all you meat lovers, you don't need meat to go wild. Enjoy!
spaghetti vegetarian quinoa meatballs are:
Good Source of Protein
Gluten-Free option (use GF pasta)
How to make Spaghetti Vegetarian Quinoa Meatballs recipe step by step?
Prep and Cook
1. Start by cooking the quinoa. This is what you should have once it is done. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
2. Chop the onion, garlic, and mushrooms.
3. Heat a large skillet on medium heat, once hot, add a tablespoon of EVOO, add crushed red pepper and wait till you hear a sizzle.
4. Add the onion and season with salt and black pepper. Cook until soft, just a few minutes.
5. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for about 30 seconds.
6. Add the mushrooms and season with salt. Allow the mushrooms to cook for about 10 minutes or until browned.
7. Once the mushrooms brown, add 3 tablespoon of Marinara Sauce.
8. Stir all the ingredients together and turn off the stove. Save the skillet for later use.
9. At this time preheat the oven at 350 degrees.
10. Add the quinoa to a mixing bowl.
11. Add the sautéed mushrooms to the quinoa.
12. While the mushrooms cool, grate some parmesan cheese and chop some basil.
13. Add the cheese and basil to the quinoa and mushrooms.
14. Add the breadcrumbs and egg.
15. Mix all the ingredients so everything is well incorporated.
16. Coat a baking tray with Sunflower Oil. Dampen your hands and use a 1 tablespoon measurement to form little quinoa balls.
17. You should have around 18. Into the oven for 15-25 minutes, however I baked mine for 25 minutes. Oven temperatures vary so check after 15 minutes and then every 5.
for the sauce & pasta
1. While the quinoa meatballs bake, you can clean up, and then heat a pot of water for the pasta, and chop up some basil.
2. Once the patties are done, using a flat stainless steel turner “gently” scrape the quinoa meatballs off the baking tray.
3. Add the quinoa patties to the original skillet you were using.
4. Turn on the stove, once hot, add a teaspoon of EVOO and crushed red pepper, wait for the pepper to sizzle.
5. Now add your favorite Marinara Sauce.
6. Season with very little salt (if need be) and ½ teaspoon of black pepper.
7. Add a handful of the chopped fresh basil leaves.
8. Cover with a lid and simmer on low heat (dial #3). About 7 minutes.
9. Follow the instructions on the box and cook the spaghetti until perfectly al dente.
10. Check on the sauce, this is what you should have. Looks like real meatballs, huh?
11. Using tongs, add the hot spaghetti directly into the sauce.
12. GENTLY TOSS so you do not break up the quinoa meatballs. Add ¼ cup or less of reserved pasta water if you want to thin out the sauce slightly.
13. Serve immediately. So comforting and tasty. I was full after just 1 bowl since quinoa is packed with protein. Love it!
Spaghetti Vegetarian Quinoa MeatballsVegetarian, Healthyish, Gluten-Free option.
for the quinoa meatballs
- ¼ cup + 2 tbsp quinoa, uncooked
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 small white onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, chopped
- 3 tablespoon Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce, or use your favorite marinara
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- salt to taste
- 3 tablespoon parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoon fresh basil
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup Italian Style Bread Crumbs
for the sauce
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon crushed pepper flakes
- 32 ounces Rao’s Homemade Marinara Sauce
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- salt to taste
for the pasta
- 13.25 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
Prep & Cook
- Start by cooking the quinoa. This is what you should have once it is done. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
- Chop the onion, garlic, and mushrooms.
- Heat a large skillet on medium heat, once hot, add a tablespoon of EVOO, add crushed red pepper and wait till you hear a sizzle.
- Add the onion and season with salt and black pepper. Cook until soft, just a few minutes.
- Add the garlic and thyme and cook for about 30 seconds.
- Add the mushrooms and season with salt. Allow the mushrooms to cook for about 10 minutes or until browned.
- Once the mushrooms brown, add 3 tablespoon of Marinara Sauce.
- Stir all the ingredients together and turn off the stove. Save the skillet for later use.
- At this time preheat the oven at 350 degrees.
- Add the quinoa to a mixing bowl.
- Add the sautéed mushrooms to the quinoa.
- While the mushrooms cool, grate some parmesan cheese and chop some basil.
- Add the cheese and basil to the quinoa and mushrooms.
- Add the breadcrumbs and egg.
- Mix all the ingredients so everything is well incorporated.
- Coat a baking tray with Sunflower Oil. Dampen your hands and use a 1 tablespoon measurement to form little quinoa balls.
- You should have around 18. Into the oven for 15-25 minutes, however I baked mine for 25 minutes. Oven temperatures vary so check after 15 minutes and then every 5.
for the sauce + pasta
- While the quinoa meatballs bake, you can clean up, and then heat a pot of water for the pasta, and chop up some basil.
- Once the patties are done, using a flat stainless steel turner “gently” scrape the quinoa meatballs off the baking tray.
- Add the quinoa patties to the original skillet you were using.
- Turn on the stove, once hot, add a teaspoon of EVOO and crushed red pepper, wait for the pepper to sizzle.
- Now add your favorite Marinara Sauce.
- Season with very little salt (if need be) and ½ teaspoon of black pepper.
- Add a handful of the chopped fresh basil leaves.
- Cover with a lid and simmer on low heat (dial #3). About 7 minutes.
- Follow the instructions on the box and cook the spaghetti until perfectly al dente.
- Check on the sauce, this is what you should have. Looks like real meatballs, huh?
- Using tongs, add the hot spaghetti directly into the sauce.
- GENTLY TOSS so you do not break up the quinoa meatballs. Add ¼ cup or less of reserved pasta water if you want to thin out the sauce slightly.
- Serve immediately. So comforting and tasty. I was full after just 1 bowl since quinoa is packed with protein. Love it!
Making these this weekend! I love the bake and pan cook method. Probably makes them a little crispy, which I love!
I've been wanting to make vegetarian meatballs! Totally making these for dinner this week. Thanks, Nisha!
Harsha Vadlamani says
Bookmarking this recipe. I have been searching a lot for vegetarian meatballs and finally found the one. I am gonna make this soon.
absolutelyyyyyyyyyy digging this recipe. I have never made it before now i will. I have never tried that Rao's sauce however my current fav is Ragu's No Sugar Added Tomato Basil 🙂
OMG, this looks fantastic. I have never heard of quinoa meatballs but this is a great idea. I think this is my favorite dish you have made, but then again I have a few favorite of yours. I am so pining this and hopefully making soon 🙂
Wow... Clear n beautiful explanation... Any replacement for Mariana sauce ?
Event: Dish name starts with Q till Feb 28th
@Akila - I love Rao's Homemade Marinara, if you can get that, you won't be dissapointed. My backups are Barilla Marinara and Classico Marinara. Or you can just make it at home. hope that helps.
@eatgood4life - Thank you.. haha, a few favorites, I have to try some of your chicken recipes too, just don't cook meat at home. Let me know how it turns out. 🙂
@Dixya - If you make this, let me know how it turns out, can't wait for you to try it.
@Harsha - thanks... hope it works out for you.
@Lauren - you are welcome. let me know how it turns out, make sure you try it with Rao's, the sauce will make all the difference.
@Parita - you can totally saute the meatballs for 5 minutes with EVOO once you take them out of the oven, I'm sure it will make them crispier. let me know how they turn out. Thanks. 🙂
Mushrooms Canada says
I've never tried these before, but oh my goodness am I going to now!! What's not to love?? Quinoa, mushrooms..?? So good! Thanks for sharing...
Lawyer Loves Lunch says
Heh, I totally had a WTF look on my face but these meatballs look so good (and almost meaty). I'm so impressed that they held up so well during the cooking process. Definitely bookmarked these beauties 🙂
This is wonderful! I'm always looking for new ways to enjoy quinoa and this certainly is one of them!! Can't wait to make these soon!
Natalie G says
This is amazing! I totally wanna try this recipe, quinoa meatballs are the best thing I've heard all day, awesome job.
@Mushrooms Canada - that means a lot coming from someone who blogs about "mushrooms." Thanks Shannon.
@Lawyer - haha.. they are pretty meaty. They held up well because I baked them a little longer, and the key is to gently toss all the ingredients. Thanks!
@Min - Thanks and welcome. Let me know how this works out for you. 🙂
@Natalie - thanks! They are so tasty. Glad you approve. 🙂
I would love to dig into this right now. It looks fabulous!
Wow thats something new...lovely recipe Nisha. Am gona try this at home:)
@Nina - thanks. Hope you like it. 🙂
@Asmita - thanks. 🙂
I need to stop stalking your blog. But I wanted to let you know that I ended up making a marinara sauce and along with your recipe the meatballs were such a success! So happy!
@Lauren - No no, don't stop stalking me. Lol! Wow, you made the marinara, I'm sure it turned out even better than mine. Homemade Marinara is the best. So glad it was a success for you. Thanks for letting me know. 🙂
Q for you Honey. I have a husband who doesn't eat egg, can I substitute egg for something else? If so, what?
@Anonymous - that's a tough one.. see if you can find an egg replacer at the grocery store. maybe 2% milk, what you need is a protein binder. Ener-G replacer?
Let me know.
These look like literal "Amazeballs". Can't wait to try!
@Whitney - thanks so much.. I hope you try them, they are "amazeballs" - great way to describe them.
So very delicious! Didn't miss meat at all. Thanks for the recipe.
@S - So glad to hear that. That was the whole point. 🙂
Yummy! Made this last night, thanks for posting and awesome pics and directions!
@Anonymous - so glad this worked out for you. Thanks for your feedback!
Chellz B. says
Is there a mushroom substitute for ppl who are allergic?
@Chellz - The 2 things that come to mind are:
1. eggplant - you will need to use a little more oil for cooking them, or you can roast them in the oven and then add them to the pan.
2. tofu - it doesn't have much flavor so you may wanna season it well with salt, black pepper, and thyme.
Let me know how it goes. Good luck!
Wow... Clear and beautiful explanation... Any replacement for Mariana sauce ?
@Quinoa - The original recipe called for "tomato paste" instead of Marinara Sauce, I just used Marinara since I was going to add it in the spaghetti. Give tomato paste a try. Hope that helps. 🙂
If you live in the Akron,Ohio area the very best marinara in DeVitis Uncle Vinny's. So delicious you could drink it!!
Thanks Anonymous. Hopefully I'll try it someday when i visit Ohio. 🙂
tried these meatballs at a friends house they were amazing!
Anonymous - I'm so glad you enjoyed this dish.. aren't they great? You really don't miss the meat, at least I didn't, but then I don't eat red-meat.
Made this tonight! Turned out great!
I made my own marinara using this recipe: http://theitaliandishblog.com/imported-20090913150324/2012/10/30/my-tips-for-homemade-marinara-sauce.html
Thanks! This recipe made it to my recipe box! 🙂
Hey, so glad that worked out for you. I'll check out your marinara sauce recipe. Thanks!!
Melanie Sharp says
So delicious! We loved this dish. My meatballs probably should have cooked longer, since they broke up a bit at the end, but man oh man....this recipe was a winner for sure!
Melanie - I'm so glad you enjoyed this. Sorry your meatballs broke, but I'm so glad it worked out. This recipe rocks! Agreed! 🙂
Melissa Urquhart says
Hi! This is a great recipe! I made it gluten free, subbed the pasta for GF pasta and the breadcrumbs for GF breadcrumbs (GF bread I had leftover in the freezer). Some of my balls fell apart when I mixed everything together but I didn't care because it was just so yummy! And filling, so I have leftovers yay! I will be making this again, I'd even say they are better than regular meatballs. =D
Melissa - I'm so glad to hear that. I know some of my meatless balls fell apart, but they were still so good. I'm surprised you think they are better than real meatballs... i don't eat redmeat, so I can't even say that. Thanks for your feedback. 🙂
This is a wonderful recipe. Thank you for sharing. I made this dish because I was coming off of the Master Cleanse and I'm looking for tasty recipes that are still healthy. I have added this to my recipe book. THANK YOU SO MUCH. I have to literally hide my spaghetti from the meat eaters in the house. Sad! Ok so I didn't have fresh Parmesan so just used the regular sprinkle on kind. (Still delicious) The next time I wont put salt while sauteing the onions since my mother is a little salt sensitive. I'm sure it will still be amazing. Thanks again!
Lana - Thank you so very much for your kind words. I used to think that you can't make healthy comfort food, but so wrong. I'm so glad the meat eaters like this recipe - WIN! Next time try it with Parmesan Cheese, it's delicious. Thanks for your feedback.
These are so very good! Beat out my other recipe for sure. However, I didn't think they would reduce as much as they did upon baking. Size doesn't matter ;)but when I salted to taste before baking I had it just right, having reduced so much they came out rather salty. Note to self.
@Anonymous - Thank you.. I'm so glad you thought so. I was able to form 32 balls, they did reduce slightly, or maybe I didn't take note. Awww.. I'm sorry they turned out salty... I'll check to make sure I included the right salt amount. 🙂
Das sieht soooo lecker aus. Das wird ganz sicher schon bald nachgekocht.
Corinna Bell says
This recipe sounds really good. I cannot wait to try it.
It is awesome.. hope you try it Corinna. Let me know. 🙂
Stephanie Mazzawi says
Awesome recipe! They taste pretty close to real meatballs! Even my picky eaters (and mushroom haters) loved it. I will definitely be making this again 🙂
Thanks Stephanie. I'm glad you thought so. I'm surprised there are so many mushroom haters. Thanks for the feedback. 🙂
Cassie Bendel says
Thank you for this! I made it tonight and it was amazing. My husband asked if the quinoa was mixed in with the meat and I just smiled at him. ;o)
Thanks.. so glad your husband was fooled. Made my day!!!
Any substitute for egg as we don't eat eggs.
Hmmm.. you can try buttermilk - it has protein in it which would help with the binding. Or you can try 3 tbsp of flax and 1 tbsp of water. The flax MAY alter the taste though.
Just made this for dinner. Being the carnivore that I am, I was skeptical. It was actually very good!! I may make it again. I used roasted garlic quinoa. I loved the mushrooms.
Haha.. it was "actually" very good.. love your choice of words. I've fooled a couple carnivores with this. Love mushrooms too.
Rachel Page says
Totally delicious food! I am making these soon!
Thank Rachel.. hope you enjoy it.
I made this about 3 months ago, and ever since it has become a staple in our dinner repertoire. We love it so much that we often make it when we have friends over for dinner. Delicious!
Thanks so much. Love that it's a staple and more importantly that it turned out good. 🙂
Thank you very much for this recipe!!! A comfort food for me.I love it! I also made them into burgers by omitting 2 ingredients.Very tasty!!!! Thank you:)
Thanks. I would say this is more "healthy" comfort food. Glad you enjoyed it.
Thank you for the recipe! I turned it vegan and it came out delicious!!
Awesome. So glad to hear that.
Oklahoma City accident lawyer says
I plan to make these tonight. I’m really excited because the kids have been begging for meatballs.
Sorry for the late response. I hope you guys enjoyed it.
sewa mobil jakarta says
I'm truly enjoying the design and layout of
your site. It's a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more pleasant for me to come here and visit more
often. Did you hire out a designer to create your theme?
I used a Genesis Theme and bought a child theme. I made the customizations myself. Thank you! Glad you like it.
This recipe was a hit at my house! Didn't expect the meatballs to be so "meaty" 🙂 that's a good thing. $-; to sub whole wheat linguini for spaghetti because I forgot to stir the spaghetti while it was boiling (pregnancy brain at its finest). Anyways, the sauce is phenomenal ! Literally the best and loved the spice that the crushed red pepper gave it! So glad I came across your website. I'll be trying more recipes 🙂
Thanks Candace. This makes me so happy to hear coming from someone who is pregnant. Linguini/Spaghetti, what's the difference? 🙂
There are some great recipes on the blog.
Resep Masakan Indonesia says
Wow delicious. Nice article, thanks for share.
Thanks. So glad you enjoyed it.
Thank you for the mention. Appreciate it!