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These easy Quinoa Vegetarian Meatballs have heaps of traditional Italian spices and two types of cheese! You pan sear them first then bake them for a beautiful crispy exterior and tender, flavorful interior. So toothsome, you will never even miss the meat!

Quinoa Vegetarian Meatballs in sauce on pasta on blue plate

Quinoa has made an appearance in everything from salad to these Vegetarian Meatballs. Instead of all the pumpkin and apple baking that I should be doing, I’ve been going a little quinoa crazy! The next stop is breakfast! Try these quinoa breakfast recipes with me!

I just can’t get enough!

Quinoa Vegetarian Meatballs in sauce details
Butternut Squash Chili Vegan in white bowl.
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I used to think of homemade, Italian meatballs as an occasional indulgence, but these are so easy to pull together and healthy that they are sure to become a regular dish instead!

These quinoa vegetarian meatballs are chewy, substantial, and have robust Italian flavors. You might know from my Italian Sausage Soup Recipe and my Ricotta Meatballs Recipe, that Italian-style aromatics are some of my favorites to cook! Due to the fresh herbs and cheese, you won’t recall this is vegetarian, plus the quinoa creates a texture that is reminiscent of meat.

Quinoa Vegetarian Meatball on fork detailed

I pan sear them before baking them for a nice crunchy, seared exterior characteristic of a traditional Italian meatball while being quinoa and vegetarian.

Herbivorous Italian dish in sauce on pasta

Whether or not you are vegetarian, you and your family will love these easy meatless meatballs! Serve several meatballs with whole-wheat noodles, homemade red pasta sauce, and a generous sprinkling of Asiago cheese! So toothsome and satisfying, you’ll never even miss the meat!

You might want to make a double batch of these quinoa vegetarian meatballs. Everyone will eat them before you can blink twice!

Herbivorous Italian dish sliced open on fork

Storing Quinoa Vegetarian Meatballs

You can also make them ahead of time and either freeze them or store them in the refrigerator for up to a week. I like to reheat the meatballs in a pot of tomato sauce to keep them moist. Dinner is ready when the sauce and quinoa vegetarian meatballs are heated through!

Herbivorous Italian dish in skillet

If you tried this recipe and loved it please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it goes in the comments below. I love hearing from you; your comments make my day!

Quinoa Vegetarian Meatballs in sauce on pasta
5 from 3 ratings

Quinoa Vegetarian Meatballs {GF Option}

These easy Quinoa Vegetarian Meatballs are packed full of traditional Italian spices and two types of cheese! They are first pan seared and then baked for a beautiful crispy exterior and tender, flavorful interior. So toothsome, you will never even miss the meat!
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 55 minutes
Servings: 6 people



To make the Quinoa:

  • In a fine sieve strainer, pour 1 cup quinoa, pick over for stones, and rinse with cold water. In a medium saucepan mix the quinoa with 2 cups cold water (or broth). Add about 1 tablespoon olive oil and a large pinch of kosher salt, and stir to mix. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stir, reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook covered for approximately 30-40 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa is soft.

To make the meatballs:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°. Heat a large cast iron skillet or pan over medium heat until searing hot.
  • Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl. Pour a little olive oil into the preheated skillet. Form a meatball a little smaller than a golf ball and place the meatball in the skillet starting in the center. Working as quickly as possible, repeat with the remaining meatballs, radiating them out from the center in a spiral pattern. [You could certainly pre-form all the meat balls and have them ready for this step, but I am all about cutting out wasted time, and that, is wasted time.]
  • Once you have finished placing all the meatballs in the skillet, it is time to start turning them! Gently turn each meatball once it has browned on the opposite side. My burner causes my large cast iron skillet to be unevenly hot, so I swap some of the middle meatballs for the outer meatballs to ensure an even sear.
  • Bake in skillet or transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.


Yield: 18 Meatballs
To make these meatballs gluten free, simply use gluten free breadcrumbs. You could also try substituting gluten free flour for the breadcrumbs but I cannot vouch for how that will work.
I like to make a large pot of quinoa at the beginning of the week, so that I can make these or anything else quickly without having to wait for the quinoa to cook.


Calories: 140kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 33mg | Sodium: 345mg | Potassium: 153mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 194IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 134mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Appetizer, Dinner
Cuisine: American, Italian
Calories: 140
Like this? Leave a comment below!

Before You Go

I hope you enjoyed this professional chef-tested recipe. Check out our other delicious, chef-developed dinner recipes or try these baked turkey meatballs next!

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Hi, I’m Chef Lindsey!

I am the baker, recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Chef Lindsey Farr. I believe in delicious homemade food and the power of dessert!

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Recipe Rating


  1. Being an old lady of Sicilian descent, I cannot even imagine a meatless meatball. BUT…for some reason which will be forever unbeknownst to me….5 members of my family have decided that “oh Gee – I want to give up meat. Sigh….

    I know they like quinoa. so I will reluctantly try this recipe based on the very informative comments from your readers and recipe testers.

    So thanks for posting this recipe.

    1. Hi Andrea! I understand your skepticism, but this recipe is worth a try, especially for your vegetarian dear ones! I think we have a good shot at holding up to your meatball standards, and I’m excited to hear how it goes. Thank you for commenting!

  2. 5 stars
    I loved these! I did have to adapt for moisture to hold them together and omitted the Cilantro. I used dried herbs, which are cheaper and what I had on hand. I made the gluten free version with gf bread crumbs. It was still good. I’m new to plant based eating because meat all of a sudden makes me ill. I didn’t miss the meat in these at all! Thank you for this recipe…it’s a keeper.

    1. I am so happy to hear that LeAnne! Cilantro is definitely not for everyone! I hear it tastes like soap to some people with a particular gene. These would be great with dried herbs as well. I do that for my meatballs also when I want to save on time! Cheers to meatless meals being delightful!

  3. These are amazing! I’ve made them 3 times. The toddlers and baby even love them, which is a feat in itself!!