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+ servings
Tangy crockpot meatballs
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4.47 from 15 votes

Vegan Sweet and Sour Meatballs

I veganized Grandma's sweet and sour meatball recipe. Even meat-eaters love these vegan sweet and sour meatballs! So, don't tell anyone. Shhh!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time6 hours
Total Time6 hours 15 minutes
Course: Small Bites
Cuisine: American
Diet: Vegan
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 323kcal


1 recipe lentil meatballs or sub vegan meatballs of choice

  • 1 ½ cups cooked brown lentils
  • 1 Shallot minced
  • 3 cloves minced Garlic
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons fresh Basil chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian Parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon Muir Glen Organic Tomato Paste
  • 5-6 Tablespoons Italian Panko Bread Crumbs or bread crumbs of choice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper


  • 1 Tablespoons Flaxseed Meal
  • 2 ½ Tablespoon Water

Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 20 ounces Concord Grape Jam
  • 36 ounces Heinz Chili Sauce
  • Alternative BBQ Sauce Recipe
  • 1 white onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Organic Tomato Paste
  • 15 ounces Organic Tomato Sauce
  • 4 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup or date syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons Molasses
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • ½ teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • 15 ounces Organic Tomato Sauce
  • 1 Chipotle Pepper in Adobo Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Grape Jelly
  • 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar


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 while they cool, so don't disturb them.

Making the Sweet and Sour Meatballs

  • In a high-speed blender, mix the grape jam and chili sauce together and pour into the base of a crockpot.
  • If using an alternative sauce, combine ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  • Add prepared meatballs or frozen vegan meatballs
  • Gently stir.
  • Turn on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours if meatballs are frozen
  • Stir GENTLY a few times while cooking.



  1. If submerging the lentil meatballs into the sauce for an extended period of time, freeze the meatballs first, especially if put into a crockpot for the tangy meatball recipe.
  2. You want the meatballs to stay in a uniform shape.
  3. This will prevent them from falling apart in the crockpot. 
  4. If you don't freeze the meatballs first, I suggest heating the sauce and pouring it over the cooked meatballs before serving. 


Calories: 323kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Sodium: 1645mg | Potassium: 808mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 46g | Vitamin A: 1155IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 3mg