Vegetarian meatballs’ preparation resemble those made from meat. Here we describe first the preparation of a delicious vegetarian ragout. The taste comes pretty close to that of minced meat. The chef is not a vegetarian, but he easily offers and eats these vegetarian meat balls with dishes where these work so well. For example with potato mash and vegi’s, on a sandwich, or just as a snack with a beer. If you like meatballs without a sauce, you can create delicious crispy vegetarian meatballs. The vegi meat freezes and defrosts very well.

the art of making vegetarian meatballs

The inspiration for this recipe comes from master chef Ottolenghi. The reproducibility of this recipe is good, but small deviations may occur, as sap content of vegies may vary. A food processor comes in handy to help cut the many vegetables very fine.  Variations in the consistency may occur also depending on your oven type. You will have to experiment a little with the times, so keep these as approximate time indications.

The umami taste primarily comes from the tomatoes, various mushrooms, the fermented Japanese rice, barley and soybean paste, soy sauce and cooked garlic and onions. The beetroot should contribute to flavor and to color. It can be substituted with canned beetroot.

For the vegetable broth that is needed, please make it from scratch.

Special equipment

  1. deep oven tray
  2. food processor (if available)
vegetarian meatballs ©️ Nel Brouwer-van den Bergh

Vegetarian meatballs

Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Course Dinner, Lunch, Snack
Cuisine fusion
Servings 10


Ingredients that require fine cutting

  • 11 oz (310 g) carrots
  • 5 oz (140 g) culliflower rozets
  • 1 small sized fresh beet root or use from a tin or glass container
  • 12 oz (340 g) onions
  • 11 oz (310 g) oyster mushroom
  • 2 oz (56 g) dried porcini mushrooms
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 4 ripe tomatoes (around 14 oz, 400 g)

More ingredients for the first bake

  • 1/4 pint (130 g) olive oil
  • 3 oz (85 g) white miso paste
  • 0.2 pint(100 ml) light soy sauce
  • 1.7 oz (45 g) harissa
  • 1/5 oz (6 g) dried rose buts
  • 5 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 2.5 tsp ground cumin seeds
  • 8 oz (200 g) brown dried lentils
  • 4 oz (100 g) pearl barley
  • 1 qt (1 liter) vegetable broth
  • 0.2 pint (100 ml) red wine

Ingredients for the second bake

  • 6 oz (170 g) coconut cream
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste

Ingredients to make 'meat'balls

  • 10 oz (280 g) bread crumbs
  • finely diced small onion
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp nutmeg


Making the vegi meat

  • bring the oven to a temparature of 350 F (190 C)
  • cut the vegetables for the first bake in a food processor or do it by hand with a knife
  • Place the cut vegetables in a deep oven tray
  • Add all the other ingredients for the first bake to the tray and mix well
  • Place in pre-heated oven.
  • After 20 min mix the contents again and after in total 40 minutes, when the vegi's at the rim are bubbling, we reduce the oven temperature to 325 F (180 C)
  • Then we add all other ingredients for the second bake and we mix well
  • Then we cover the tray with aluminum foil and bake it for another 40 min
  • After that we take away the foil and bake for another 5-15 min. Check the consistency.
  • Therafter take the tray out of the oven and let it re-absorb some of the juices

Making and frying the 'meat balls'

  • When the 'vegi mixture is completely cooled down, add the finely sliced onion, the nutmeg and the egg and mix with bread crumbs until the consistency is thick enough to roll balls of it
  • Cover the balls with bread crums on the outside and panfry in oil or butter, until all sides are nicely browned and the inside is hot.


Method: pan frying
Food allergy & intolerance information: soy, but could be substituted
Keyword meat substitute, vegetarian


  1. Oven times and temperatures are approximate
  2. In some ovens in the last stage of cooking, the time without a cover needs to be longer. This is to reduce the moisture content of the vegetable paste

Leave A Comment

Recipe Rating