Vegan Meatballs

Add a little pinch of Shiitake powder into your life to unlock a bolder, more flavorful approach to meatless meals.

Transforming a simple blend of vital wheat gluten, chickpea flour, and Shiitake powder into downright umami bomb meatballs. The mixture is first steamed to become plump and juicy, then quickly seared for a crisp, golden-brown exterior. They’re incredibly hearty, substantial, and won’t fall apart under pressure.

Prep in advance for busy days; finished, cooked meatballs can be frozen almost indefinitely, so you’ll never be caught without a plan for dinner.

Recipe & Photo: Hannah Kaminsky

Ingredients (MAKES 24 MEATBALLS; 4 SERVINGS) (35 minutes)

  • 1 1/4 Cups Vital Wheat Gluten
  • 3/4 Cup Chickpea Flour
  • 2 Tbsp Ground Flax Seeds
  • 2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Shiitake Powder
  • 1 tsp Dried Parsley
  • 1 tsp Dried Basil
  • 1 tsp Dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 1/4 tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Pound Pasta, Cooked Al Dente
  • 1 (24-Ounce) Jar Marinara Sauce
  • As needed Shredded Vegan Cheese
  • As needed Fresh Basil


In a large bowl, combine the vital wheat gluten, chickpea flour, ground flax seeds, nutritional yeast, shiitake powder, parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, salt, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes. Stir thoroughly to combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the water, oil, tomato paste, and soy sauce. Once smooth, add the liquid ingredients into the bowl of dry, mixing vigorously until it forms a thick dough.
Use your hands to knead it like you would bread dough for about 5 minutes.
Pinch off 1-inch balls and roll them between your palms to make sure they're fairly well rounded, but don't worry if they're not perfectly smooth. Place them in a steamer basket and steam over boiling water for 10 - 12 minutes, until firm.
Let cool for at least 10 minutes; the meatballs can be prepared up to this stage up to a day in advance if stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
When you're ready to eat, heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Gently saute the meatballs until browned all over; about 10 - 15 minutes. Serve over cooked pasta with marinara sauce, vegan cheese, and fresh basil, as desired.

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