Walnut Meatballs with Vegan Tzatziki | FoodByMaria Recipes

Vegan Appetizers

Walnut Meatballs with Tzatziki Sauce

Prep

20 minutes

Cook

40 minutes

Yield

3 Servings

These walnut meatballs are hearty, delicious, and packed with the nutritional benefits of walnuts. These meatballs are great to eat on their own in tzatziki sauce, or thrown into a pasta dish, or on top of rice with your favorite sauce. 

Vegan walnut meatballs on a serving dish with homemade tzaziki

Why you’ll love these walnut meatballs: 

  • Healthy: These meatballs are made from a combination of walnuts, plus your choice of chickpeas, rice, or lentils which each pack their own benefits 
  • Short Prep Time: The prep time for these walnut meatballs is only 20 minutes!
  • Versatile: Use lentils, rice, or chickpeas in these meatballs then serve them on their own or in your favorite dish 

Ingredients: 

Here is what you will need to make these Walnut Meatballs with Tzatziki Sauce:

Ingredients for walnut meatballs

Ingredient Notes: 

Walnuts: There is a long list of benefits that come with this versatile ingredient that works so well as a meat substitute in recipes. Here are some of the winning qualities of walnuts: 

  • They’re rich in antioxidants 
  • They are a super plant source of Omega-3s
  • Can decrease inflammation 
  • Promote a healthy gut 
  • May reduce the risk of some cancers 

Can help with blood pressure

Chickpeas: You can choose between chickpeas, lentils, or rice in this recipe but if you use chickpeas you’ll help improve your digestion, and get a boost of protein while also helping to reduce the risk of several diseases. 

Lentils: Lentils are also great for digestion and can help lower your cholesterol while boosting your heart health. They are filling and a great source of protein. I’d use green lentils in this recipe. 

Tzatziki: If you’re lazy, you can buy it at the store, but if you want a very easy vegan recipe to make your own at home, check out this recipe.

 

Walnuts in a serving dish

Tip: I like to use California Walnuts

How do you make vegan meatballs? 

Tzaziki sauce in a dish

Step One: Premake your Tzatziki sauce by following the recipe instructions and let it sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour before enjoying. It is best enjoyed after an overnight sit in the fridge. Note, it will continue to increase in flavor as it marinates.

Onion and garlic cooking in a pot on the stove

Step Two: In a medium pot, add 1 tbsp. olive oil and gently cook your onions and garlic on medium heat for 5 minutes.  Stirring frequently to prevent burning.

Spices with onion and garlic in a pot

Step Three: To the pot, add all your seasoning and spices.  Stir till all the onions and garlic are coated with the seasonings/spices.  Cook for 2 minutes before adding the capers and feta.  Stir and cook for 3 minutes.

Ingredients for walnut meatballs in a pot

Step Four: To the pot, add the chickpeas, rice, or lentils (or a combination) and cook/heat for 5 minutes.

Step Five: Remove the mixture from the pot and place it into a large mixing bowl. To the mixing bowl, add the panko and dill.

Step Six: To the same saucepan, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil on medium heat and then cook down your walnut ground for at least 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  To incorporate all those beautiful flavors built up at the base on the pot, deglaze with lemon juice and stir/scrape aggressively to clear the base on the pot.

Ingredients for meatballs in a bowl

Step Seven: Transfer the walnuts to the mixing bowl with the other ingredients and stir to combine.  Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes before forming balls.

Step Eight: Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Forming walnut meatballs into balls

Meatballs on a tray ready to bake

Step Nine: Now you can form the “meatballs”. I used a 1 1/2 tbsp. ice cream scoop to measure the size. I then rolled them and placed them on the baking sheet.  Cook them for 35-40 minutes, flipping and turning at least twice to avoid any burning.

Step Ten: Serve with fresh salad, grains, tzatziki, or even as a part of a platter!

Walnut meatballs close-up on a serving dish                    

Expert Tips & FAQ: 

Storage: Place the balls in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to one week. You can also, bake, seal and store in the freezer for up to 2 months.  You can also premake, not bake and store in the freezer for up to two months.  Cook them in a preheated 400F oven on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 1 hour or until golden. Make sure you flip and move to avoid burning.

Pre-make: If you want to premake the recipe I suggest making the recipe up till the baking step.  Have them rolled and prepped in the fridge before baking.  You can do this up to 48 hours in advance.

Servings: This recipe serves 3 as a main meal but around 5-6 as an appetizer.  Truthfully, I suggest doubling this recipe.  They’re that good.

Oil: If you prefer to make this recipe oil-free, then simply use water or vegetable stock to cook/steam the ingredients like the onions/garlic and walnuts. I recommend 3-4 tbsp. water or stock to replace the 1 tbsp. olive oil.

Seasonings/Spices: This recipe is quite versatile, so if you prefer or fancy other herbs/spices then we encourage you to have fun and play around with those ingredients.

Gluten-Free: To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free panko crumbs.

Feta: Vegan feta is completely optional.  If you prefer or aren’t vegan, regular feta is fine!

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Walnut Meatballs with Tzatziki Sauce

  • Author: Maria Koutsogiannis
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 3 Servings 1x
  • Category: Vegan Meals, Vegan Appetizers
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean Inspired
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

These delicious walnut meatballs are so versatile and can be served however you like (my fav is with tzatziki).


Scale

Ingredients

2 tbsp. Olive oil (divided)

1 small white onion, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 tbsp. umami spice

1 tbsp. Oregano

1 tbsp. Thyme

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 cup capers

1/4 cup vegan feta

1/4 cup chickpeas, rice, or lentils

1/2 cup walnuts, pulsed to ground meat in the food processor

juice of 1 small lemon

1/4 cup panko

Handful fresh dill, chopped

Serve with 1 cup Tzatziki


Instructions

Premake your Tzatziki sauce by following the recipe instructions and let it sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour before enjoying. It is best enjoyed after an overnight sit in the fridge. Note, it will continue to increase in flavor as it marinates.

In a medium pot, add 1 tbsp. olive oil and gently cook your onions and garlic on medium heat for 5 minutes.  Stirring frequently to prevent burning.

To the pot, add all your seasoning and spices.  Stir till all the onions and garlic are coated with the seasonings/spices.  Cook for 2 minutes before adding the capers and feta.  Stir and cook for 3 minutes.

To the pot, add the chickpeas, rice, or lentils (or a combination) and cook/heat for 5 minutes.

Remove the mixture from the pot and place it into a large mixing bowl. To the mixing bowl, add the panko and dill.

To the same saucepan, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil on medium heat and then cook down your walnut ground for at least 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  To incorporate all those beautiful flavours built up at the base on the pot, deglaze with lemon juice and stir/scrape aggressively to clear the base on the pot.

Transfer the walnuts to the mixing bowl with the other ingredients and stir to combine.  Let the mixture sit for 30 minutes before forming balls.

Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Now you can form the “meatballs”. I used a 1 1/2 tbsp. ice cream scoop to measure the size. I then rolled them and placed them on the baking sheet.  Cook them for 35-40 minutes, flipping and turning at least twice to avoid any burning.

Serve with fresh salad, grains, tzatziki or even as a part of a platter!

 

Notes

Storage: Place the balls in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to one week. You can also, bake, seal and store in the freezer for up to 2 months.  You can also premake, not bake and store in the freezer for up to two months.  Cook them in a preheated 400F oven on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 1 hour or until golden. Make sure you flip and move to avoid burning.

Pre-make: If you want to premake the recipe I suggest making the recipe up till the baking step.  Have them rolled and prepped in the fridge before baking.  You can do this up to 48 hours in advance.

Servings: This recipe serves 3 as a main meal but around 5-6 as an appetizer.  Truthfully, I suggest doubling this recipe.  They’re that good.

Oil: If you prefer to make this recipe oil-free, then simply use water or vegetable stock to cook/steam the ingredients like the onions/garlic and walnuts. I recommend 3-4 tbsp. water or stock to replace the 1 tbsp. olive oil.

Seasonings/Spices: This recipe is quite versatile, so if you prefer or fancy other herbs/spices then we encourage you to have fun and play around with those ingredients.

Gluten-Free: To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free panko crumbs.

Feta: Vegan feta is completely optional.  If you prefer or aren’t vegan, regular feta is fine!


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 3
  • Calories: 378
  • Sugar: 5.1
  • Sodium: 1229.5
  • Fat: 25.8
  • Saturated Fat: 4.7
  • Unsaturated Fat: 10.7
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 32.1
  • Fiber: 5.7
  • Protein: 11.4

Keywords: mushroom, walnuts, vegan, lentils

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