My kids always ask for my grandma's sweet and sour meatballs recipe during the holidays. Of course, grandma wasn't vegan, so I made vegan sweet and sour meatballs and used her sauce recipe to keep her meatball tradition alive. Not only is this vegan sweet and sour meatballs recipe easy to make, but they also disappear in seconds whenever I take them to parties. Even meat-eaters love them, but I don't ever tell them the vegan meatballs are vegan. Shhhhh!
First, I make my lentil meatballs, which I often use for any recipe that includes meatballs. Since I use them often, I make several batches and freeze them for various recipes.
Then, I toss the frozen lentil meatballs in the crockpot with grandmas' simple sauce recipe, and BAM, a masterpiece, is born.
Although the sauce isn't the healthiest combination of two ingredients, I serve these meatballs during the holidays as a treat. So, if you follow a whole foods plant-based diet, I don't think chili sauce and grape jelly are on your grocery list. But, you can always make these meatballs with any healthy sauce, like my Healthy BBQ Sauce.
Other vegan meatball options for the sweet and sour vegan meatball recipe
Have you ever eaten Trader Joes Meatless Meatballs? Although I like making vegan sweet and sour meatballs with my Vegan Lentil Meatballs, if you're in a hurry and in need of a quick appetizer to take to a party, there are other vegan meatballs available in the freezer section of the grocery store.
Another alternative sold in many stores is Gardein Meatless Meatballs. Any meatless meatballs you choose work perfectly with this quick and easy recipe.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE LENTIL MEATBALLS
When I was a kid, my grandma used to say if we knew what was in her meatball recipe, no one would eat them.
But, if you tasted them and knew how delicious they were, you would never imagine or care what was in them.
Now, I'm sure I wouldn't think that today, but as long as it tasted good when we were kids, we ate anything.
How to make lentil meatballs
- Cooked Brown Lentils (Trader Joe's has excellent pre-cooked, oil-free, steamed lentils)
- Organic Vegetable Broth
- Italian Parsley
- Muir Glen Organic Tomato Paste
- Italian Panko Bread Crumbs or bread crumbs of choice
How to make a flax egg
- Flaxseed Meal
How to make sweet and sour vegan meatballs recipe in the crockpot
- Rinse the lentils: Measure the lentils into a strainer or colander.
- Pick over and remove any shriveled lentils, debris, or rocks.
- Thoroughly rinse under running water.
- Combine the lentils and veggie broth: Transfer the rinsed lentils to a saucepan and add veggie broth.
- Bring to a rapid simmer, then reduce heat: Bring the water to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer.
- You should only see a few tiny bubbles and slight movement in the lentils.
- Cook the lentils: Cook, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Measure out 1 1/2 cup
- Or use steamed prepared lentils for a quick option (Trader Joe's makes great seemed lentils)
Another idea is to use a mini-muffin pan for cooking the lentil meatballs.
How to cook lentil meatballs
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Add flaxseed and water and set up for 2-3 minutes; then add to a food processor.
- Add cooked, cooled lentils, sautéed garlic and shallot, Italian seasonings, parsley, tomato paste, and a pinch of each salt and pepper to a food processor.
- Pulse, mixing until combined; DO NOT purée or over pulse; it needs rice texture.
- Add breadcrumbs, and stir by hand.
- I like it salty, so add salt as desired.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt and pepper or herbs for flavor.
- Use a melon baller or cookie dough baller, scoop out rounded Tablespoon amounts of dough, and carefully form into balls.
- You may use your hands (I do).
- I don't use oil, so place lentil meatballs on a baking pan and bake them. Or, use a mini muffin pan for baking the lentil meatballs.
- While the lentil meatballs are baking, keep opening the oven, shaking the pan, and moving the meatballs around.
- Cook 30 minutes total, rotating the meatballs every 10 minutes to ensure all sides are covered.
- Remove meatballs from the oven and let cool slightly; about 10 minutes.
- They get firm sitting there, so don't disturb them.
- If submerging the lentil meatballs into sauce for an extended period of time, freeze the meatballs first, especially if put into a crockpot for the tangy meatball recipe.
- You want the meatballs to stay in a uniform shape.
- This will prevent them from falling apart in the crockpot.
- If you don't freeze the meatballs first, I suggest heating the sauce and pouring it over the cooked meatballs before serving.
Tangy sauce ingredients
This recipe is simple and easy to make; anyone can do it. I use my crockpot, and it takes all of 5 minutes unless you are making your vegan lentil meatballs.
Meat-eaters and vegans alike LOVE these little tangy veggie balls.
So, if you are looking for a quick and easy appetizer to take anywhere to please everyone, try this recipe. You won't be disappointed.
For an alternative option, try my healthy BBQ sauce as an alternative (included in the recipe card below)
If you are looking for an appetizer everyone loves, try these recipes.
- Vegan Buffalo Chicken Dip
- French Onion Dip
- Portobello Fries
- Greek Mini Bites The Perfect Party Appetizer
- Vegan Baby Portobello Mushroom Bites Recipe
- Chili Cheese Dip
- Cheesy Spinach Artichoke Dip Fat-Free and Fabulous
- Tater Tot Nachos
- Vegan Corn Dogs
Hi! My name is Kathy, I am a retired high school English teacher & vegan enthusiast and blogger. My entire blog is fully plant-based vegan. I truly believe what we eat & how we live determines our health & the preservation of our planet! 🙂