These tempeh meatballs are hearty and delicious but surprisingly easy to make. They’re the perfect plant-based addition to your next pasta night!

tempeh meatballs
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I’ve been on a tempeh kick lately and I love how this soy-based protein can be added to everything from sandwiches to salads. I wanted to add a little extra protein to a simple spaghetti dinner, so I decided to whip up some tempeh meatballs. These were easy to make and they have a really great flavor. You can make them in advance and reheat them when you’re ready to enjoy them, making them a great recipe for meal prep. These are delicious on pasta, but I also think they’d be perfect if you wanted to make a vegan meatball sub. If you’re looking for a vegan meatball recipe without tempeh, try my vegan nut “meatballs” recipe!

tempeh meatballs ingredients

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Oil– A little olive oil provides a healthy base for cooking the onion. If you want to make this recipe oil free, you can use a splash of vegetable broth.
  • Onion– Finely chopped onion adds depth of flavor to the dish. You could substitute with a shallot.
  • Garlic– Minced garlic enhances the savory taste of the recipe.
  • Tempeh– Tempeh, when crumbled, serves as a hearty and protein-rich substitute for ground meat. It’s one of my favorite plant proteins for a reason! You can find tempeh in the natural food sections of most grocery stores, near the tofu.
  • Panko crumbs– Panko crumbs help bind the mixture together and provide a hearty texture. You could swap the panko crumbs for regular bread crumbs.
  • Nutritional yeast– Nutritional yeast contributes a cheesy flavor, perfect for these meatballs. It’s also a good source of protein and Vitamin B12.
  • Tomato paste–  Tomato paste adds richness and depth to the meatballs.
  • Soy sauce– Soy sauce  provides umami and savory notes (use gluten-free tamari if necessary).
  • Maple syrup– Tempeh can have a bitter flavor so a little maple syrup balances the flavors with a touch of sweetness.
  • Italian seasoning- Italian seasoning adds aromatic herbs for a classic Italian taste. You could swap it for garlic powder and oregano, if desired.
  • Sauce– I recommend serving these meatballs with marinara sauce or tomato sauce.
  • Garnishes– Feel free to garnish with fresh parsley, crushed red pepper chili flakes, Parmesan cheese, or vegan cheese.

My Favorite Pastas

Lately, my favorite pasta has been Barilla’s protein pasta. It’s packed with protein and fiber but the texture is nearly identical to traditional pasta. If you’re looking for a gluten-free pasta that has extra protein and fiber, look into chickpea pasta like Banza or Chickapea.

How to Make Vegan Tempeh Meatballs