Tempeh, a protein-packed soy food, is a fantastic way to make meatless meatballs for classic pasta dishes and other preparations. Lisa Dawn Angerame, who created this recipe for vegan tempeh meatballs for her book Wait, That’s Vegan?, has this to say:
“Meatballs and spaghetti are serious comfort food for me. It was always a good night when my mom called us down to dinner and served up a big pile of pasta and sauce topped with her homemade meatballs. The best part was the char she always managed to achieve on one side of every meatball.
In this recipe, the meat is out, and tempeh is in. It’s flavored up with Italian seasonings, plus a little miso, nutritional yeast and fresh parsley, for a modern version that is still total comfort food.”
Ways to serve tempeh meatballs
Serve over spaghetti or other pasta shape, along with your favorite pasta sauce for a classic recipe turned plant-based, or explore these recipes that use vegan meatballs:
- Vegan Italian Wedding Soup
- Pasta Puttanesca with Vegan Meatballs
- Budget-Friendly Vegan Pasta Primavera
Reprinted with permission from Wait, That’s Vegan?! Plant-Based Meatballs, Burgers, Steaks, and Other Dishes You Thought You’d Never Eat Again! by Lisa Dawn Angerame, Page Street Publishing Co. © 2019. Photo credit: Alex Shytsman.
- Explore more amazing recipes using prepared or DIY vegan meatballs.
- Learn more in our Guide to Tempeh and explore lots more tasty, easy vegan tempeh recipes.
- 8-ounce package soy tempeh, any variety
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- ½ cup water
- ½ tablespoon mellow white miso
- ½ tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 small handful chopped fresh parsley
- Break up the tempeh in big crumbles. Add the tempeh to a pot along with the tamari and water. Bring to a simmer. Every few minutes go in with a wooden spoon and break up the tempeh completely. Cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Let the tempeh cool.
- In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to mix the miso and tomato paste together. Add it to the tempeh along with the Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast and parsley. Use your hands to mix everything together thoroughly.
- Preheat the oven to 350º F (175C, or gas mark 4). Line a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Scoop out about 1 tablespoon of the mixture, forming balls by really packing the mixture together, and rolling it between your palms. If your hands get sticky, rinse them off in between. You should get 15 balls total. Place the meatballs on the sheet pan and bake for 30 minutes. At this point, the meatballs can be served, or you can cool them a bit and fry them up as directed in step 6.
- If making ahead of time, store the meatballs in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months. If frozen, defrost when ready to serve.
- Before serving, heat a small amount of olive oil in a cast-iron or nonstick skillet. When the oil is shimmering, add the meatballs and roll them around to coat with the oil. Cook for a few minutes, allowing one side to get really well done and heated through, about 8 minutes.
Wait, That’s Vegan?! is available wherever books are sold
MORE ABOUT WAIT, THAT’S VEGAN?! BY LISA DAWN ANGERAME
Over a decade ago, Lisa Dawn Angerame, creator of Lisa’s Project: Vegan, decided to switch to a vegan diet for environmental and ethical reasons, as well as for its health benefits.
She quickly noticed, however, that many of her favorite foods no longer fit into her new routine. Instead of abandoning them, Lisa took to the kitchen to research and experiment with clever and easy plant-based substitutes that maintain the rich flavors of many of these non-vegan dishes.
She figured out how to veganize all her favorites and now readers can, too, with her first cookbook, Wait, That’s Vegan?! (Page Street Publishing Co).
“Through the whole process, I realized two things: vegan cooking is no different than, well, cooking, and vegan food is just food that happens to be vegan,” writes Lisa in her introduction.
Divided into five simple chapters, Breakfast and Brunch, Salads and Sandwiches, Main Dishes, Desserts, and Basics, this book gives readers a number of options for all occasions that vegans and non-vegans alike will enjoy.
For classics-made-vegan, try Chocolate Chip Buttermilk Pancakes which uses soymilk and vegan chocolate chips, Meatless Meatballs, Crispy Tempeh Bacon BLTs with Herbed Mayo, The Beet Burger, or Lentil Bolognese.
For new favorite dishes, add some variety to the kitchen with recipes like Cauliflower Steaks with Pistachio and Caper Relish, Chinese Tofu Salad, Corned Tempeh Reubens on Rye, Chickpea Shakshouka with Avocados and Fresh Herbs, and many more.
From decadent desserts like Classic New York Cheesecake with Berry Compote, crispy-on-the-outside-chewy-on-the-inside vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie, and Coconut White Chocolate Crème Brûlée to vegan staples such as Nut Milk, Almond Parmesan, and an essential vegan pie crust, Wait, That’s Vegan?! shows new and experienced home-cooks that eating vegan will never again mean giving up the foods you love.
Lisa Dawn Angerame is a long-time vegan and the creator of food blog Lisa’s Project: Vegan where she posts recipes and chronicles her vegan cooking. She holds a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from eCornell and is a certified Plant-Based Professional from the Rouxbe Online Culinary School. She currently lives in New York City.
If you like this recipe from Wait, That’s Vegan? you might also enjoy …
Here are lots more easy vegan main dishes.