Vegan meatballs (Moroccan-inspired)

Vegan meatballs (Moroccan-inspired)

moroccan inspired vegan meatballs portion

As much as it pains me to say, one cannot live on chocolate mousse tarts alone, so today’s recipe is a savoury, main meal affair.

It’s the kind of meal that lends itself to making a large amount of in advance and then eating on repeat for the entire week.

A bowl of super filling and satisfying Moroccan-inspired meatballs (or neatballs if you are after semantic correctness) can be consumed in any way you like, straight from the pan, in a sandwich or with a heap of salad and maybe a dollop of hummus. I have mine over some couscous with plenty of tomato sauce and a sprinkling of toasted almond flakes for that extra crunch.

Don’t be put off by what may seem like a long ingredients list, most of them are ground spices which I bet are lurking in your cupboards, begging to be put to a good use. I am a massive cumin fan so added quite a bit of that spice to the mix, but if you don’t share my love for this pungent spice, dial it down a bit, skip or substitute at will.

moroccan inspired vegan meatballs baked

moroccan inspired vegan meatballs pan

moroccan inspired vegan meatballs bowl

34 balls
45 min
30 min
34 balls
45 min
30 min

  • 1 medium onion, diced finely
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced finely
  • 1 large carrot, diced very finely
  • 200 g / 7 oz (4 medium) mushrooms, diced very finely
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 3 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper or chilli
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 5 dried apricots, diced finely
  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas
  • zest of 1 small lemon
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast (or fine breadcrumbs)
  • ¼ cup walnuts, chopped finely
  • 2-3 tbsp parsley or coriander, chopped finely
  • 1 heaped tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • oil for baking / sautéing
  • toasted almond flakes, to serve (optional)

For the TOMATO SAUCE – follow THIS RECIPE. Optionally, season with cinnamon, cumin and/or nutmeg to taste.

  1. Heat up 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan. Add chopped onion and fry it, stirring regularly, until almost translucent. Add chopped garlic and fry until garlic is soft and fragrant and onion becomes completely translucent.
  2. While onion and garlic are getting ready, shred drained chickpeas finely in a food processor. Set aside.
  3. Add finely diced carrot and mushrooms to the onion and garlic mixture and sauté gently until the carrot becomes cooked and mushrooms brown and become dry (all their liquid cooks out).
  4. Stir in all of the spices and mix them well into the mixture. Saute for a minute or two on a low heat. Add tomato paste and sauté for another minute.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, combine onion / garlic / carrot and mushroom mixture with shredded chickpeas, walnuts, zest, chopped apricots, herbs and nutritional yeast. Season with salt and black pepper. Using your hands combine all the ingredients thoroughly so that they are evenly distributed throughout the mixture (if you’ve used chilli, you may need to use your gloves to do that).
  6. Place the mixture in the fridge for a few hours for the flavours to mingle and for the mixture to become more pliable.
  7. Before you are ready to make your meat balls, heat up your oven to 200º C / 390º F and line a baking tray with a piece of baking paper.
  8. Using your hands, shape small amounts of mixture (I used 20 g for each meatball) into balls. Squeeze the mixture in your hand before shaping each ball to ensure that they are packed well and won’t fall apart during baking. If the mixture is too crumbly, add 1-2 tbsp flour (I used rice flour to keep them gluten-free) to help the mixture stay together. You should get 34 meatballs out of this recipe.
  9. Brush baking paper with a bit of olive oil before placing meatballs on it. Bake for 15 mins, then turn over and continue baking for another 15 minutes. You could also pan-fry them if you prefer, but handle them with care.
  10. Serve with quinoa or couscous and a simple tomato sauce (recipe here) seasoned with a bit of cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg to taste.
1 g
2 g
0 g
2 g
5 g
*per meatball
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7 reviews, 20 comments
THE most delicious recipe. I added a few extra apricots, as I’m rather fond of a fruity ball.. Almost falafel-like.. But not quite. Pairs perfectly with a salty sauce. My mixture made 28 “meatballs’” & the 4 of us got through them all in one evening.. So much for saving some for the following day.. Oops!
Look forward to experimenting with more of the “Lazy Cat Kitchen” recipes!
    Thank you, Abie! So happy to hear that you enjoyed these meatballs and thanks so much for taking the time to leave this lovely review – I really appreciate it! x Ania
Tried this for dinner tonight, it was fabulous. Thank you for an amazing recipe!!
    Aw, thank you, I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed them! x Ania
These are amazing! The flavours and touch of apricot are delicious. I will definitely make it again. They are absolutely morish (pun intended)!
    Thanks, Michelle! I'm so happy to hear that! x Ania
Can these be made and then frozen? As the batch making 35 is far too much for 2 people in one sitting xx
    Hi Jess,
    I have not tried freezing them, but I don't see why not. I usually just keep them in the fridge and we have them twice over the course of the next few days. Hope that helps! Ania
Hi Ania, I have a question: I see coriander appears twice in the recipe. Do the 3 tsp refer to powdered seeds or fresh coriander? Thanks! :)
    Hi Camelia,
    It refers to 3 tsp of ground coriander. Hope that helps! :) Ania
      Yes, thank you! I'm going to try them today, I'll let you know how they turn out :)
      Hi Ania, they turned out a little too sweet for my taste, but good and flavorful otherwise. Also, they came out very soft, I probably should have added some flour, but I didn't know what the consistency was supposed to be like. And I think I wanted something more "meaty", but I guess that's hard to obtain without soy. I think I'll try some lentil meatballs next :)
        I'm sorry to hear that they weren't your cup of tea. Ania
What would you use as a substitute for the mushrooms? I'm allergic but have been craving meatballs.
    Hi Sharadyn,
    Hmm, that's a tricky question as mushrooms are quite crucial. How about trying THESE MEATBALLS instead. Hope that helps! Ania
Helen Ward:
Ever since I went vegan I've been craving meatballs. I even felt bad because of it. But your recipe transformed my week. I tried it twice already and oh my, what a delicious and flavorful meal! Love it so much! =D
    Hi Helen,
    Thank you so much for lovely feedback. You made my day! x Ania
hi!! i made these and the taste was spot on. Have to say that i think they would be nicer made in a pan with a lil bit of oil, so i'll try that next time. Had guests over and they really loved the vegan balls too! thank you
    Hi Ramona,
    Thanks so much, I am pleased to hear that they went down so well with you and your guests! Ania
Letty / Letty's Kitchen:
Love the addition of the apricots!
    Thanks so much, Letty! :) Ania
Ania! These meatballs look AMAZING! I love the moroccan spices you used.
    Thanks Laurel! So pleased to hear that :) Ania
They look scrumptious, as usual!
    Thank you :) x Ania
Hi Katie! These look yummy. One question: do you think it would work to put all the ingredients in the food processor after the sauteing part?
Thanks for your great recipes,
    Hi Sita,
    Thanks, glad to hear you like them :) Yes, if you have a powerful blender, this could work. Worth giving it a shot! Good luck! and my name is Ania, not Katie, btw ;)
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