So you’re in the mood for meatballs but don’t eat meat? No problem. I want to share this amazing vegan air fryer meatballs recipe with you. It’s so good! These gluten free air fryer meatballs are full of spice and flavour, and they pair beautifully with a tasty marinara sauce. These vegan meatballs with spaghetti marinara make a quick dinner that is a crowd pleaser.
These vegan meatballs with spaghetti marinara make a wonderful dinner. My Italian genes means I automatically love meatballs, spaghetti and marinara sauce (or at least I think that’s how it works!) But I also think this would make a great meal for anyone.
How to Make a Vegan Meatball Recipe
Despite the word meatball including the word ‘meat’ that isn’t a necessary ingredient. You can make easy vegan meatballs with lentils instead of meat. In addition, I added onion, garlic, almonds, tomato, chilli flakes and some Italian seasoning. Finally I used a flax egg, and I might have to explain that one to non-vegans! Oh, and there are some oats in the mix too.
A flax egg is basically a vegan-friendly egg replacement. To make one, you just need to combine a tablespoon of powdered flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water. Refrigerate this mixture for 15 minutes. Then voila – you have a flax egg!
Some of the meatball ingredients need to be cooked, while others can be added in. Then you can roll the mixture into meatballs using your hands, and finally cook them in the air fryer.
How to Make the Marinara Sauce
These vegan air fryer meatballs deserve to be paired with a great sauce. Bottled marinara sauces vary hugely in terms of ingredients and quality. I love making my own marinara sauce for these easy vegan meatballs.
Tomato puree is the main ingredient in the marinara sauce, along with onions, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Add some salt and pepper, and a pinch of sugar too if you like. Then give the sauce time to gently simmer, so the flavours can intensify. You can either blend it smooth or enjoy it chunky and rustic, as you prefer!
Gluten free air fryer meatballs are definitely something you will want to make again. In fact, this vegan meatball recipe is something I fully intent to revisit. I might even play around with the ingredients a bit. Or maybe not – I mean it is pretty amazing as it stands!
Serve these vegan air fryer meatballs in the tomato sauce over whole wheat spaghetti cooked perfectly to al dente. If you’d prefer to have these vegan meatballs with spaghetti marinara without the spaghetti, that works too. You can use different pasta shapes or gluten free spaghetti. You could even make zucchini spaghetti with a spiralizer, or avoid it altogether if you just want to enjoy these easy vegan meatballs as a snack.
History of Meatballs
It might surprise you to know that, although we don’t know for sure who made the first meatball, they didn’t originate in Italy! It’s believed that meatballs originated in Persia. The Persians used leftover meat to make kofta, and it’s possible this recipe made its way through the Middle East before reaching China. Some people think Venetian traders introduced meatballs via European trade routes. Others think the Ancient Romans developed the recipe!
Different Types of Meatballs around the World
Although these vegan meatballs with spaghetti marinara aren’t anything like historical meatballs, they’re still amazing! There are so many types of meatballs all over the world today. In North Africa and the Middle East, they’re made of lamb, while Chinese ones often use fish or pork.
Swedish meatballs come with cream sauce. You can use pretty much anything to make vegan air fryer meatballs, including lentils, chickpeas, mixed vegetables or even a soy-based product as the base. As long as they’re savoury and rolled into balls, they’re technically meatballs, right?
Meatballs in Italy
Although these gluten free air fryer meatballs are amazing, you won’t find a similar dish in Italy. And not only because they’re meat free! In Italy pasta is considered a first course while the meatballs are another course altogether.
This vegan meatball recipe would definitely impress an Italian palate (you can trust me on that!) and if you’re looking for a big flavour without the meat, these vegan air fryer meatballs are a winner.
Gluten Free & Vegan Air Fryer Meatballs with Spaghetti Marinara Recipe
GLUTEN FREE SPAGHETTI WITH AIR FRYER VEGAN MEATBALLS IN MARINARA SAUCE
- 1 onion chopped
- 4 Cloves garlic
- 1 Tablespoon flax eggs
- 3/4 Cup oats gluten free
- 1/2 Cup almonds
- 1 Cup red lentils whole
- 1 Tablespoon tomato puree
- 1 Teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 Teaspoon chilli flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Tablespoon onion
- 1 Tablespoon garlic
- 1 Cup tomato puree
- 1 Teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 Teaspoon sugar
- 1 Package spaghetti gluten free
- Start with the meatballs. Boil the lentils till it becomes soft but not mushy.
- Put a pan on the heat, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil, add roughly chopped onions and garlic and cook until it turns light brown.
- In a food processor add oats and almonds and blend until the almonds are finely chopped and oats become flour.
- Next add boiled lentils, cooked onion and garlic, flax eggs, tomato puree, dried herbs, chilli flakes, salt and pepper.
- Blend until everything is mixed properly, do not over mix as we need a little texture in the meatballs
- Preheat the air fryer at 350 degrees F.
- Now take a teaspoon of the prepared mixture and shape it into a ball. Repeat with the rest of the mixture.
- Brush some olive oil on an air fryer tray and arrange the balls, brush some oil on top and cook for 5 minutes. Turn over the balls and cook for another 5 minutes until it becomes light brown in colour. Repeat with the rest of the prepared balls.
- Next to make the marinara sauce put the pan on heat add 1 teaspoon olive oil and add finely chopped onion and garlic, stir for a few seconds, once it turns light brown add the tomato puree and rest of the ingredients. Cook it for 10 minutes until the sauce thickens and absorbs all the flavours. (You can blend the sauce if wanted a smooth consistency)
- Add the meatballs and switch off the flame (do not cook the meatballs in sauce, it just needed to be coated with sauce)
- Serve hot over boiled spaghetti.
- Take 1 tablespoon of powdered flaxseed and mix in with 3 tablespoons of water and set it inside the refrigerator for 15 minutes
The nutrition information provided are only estimates based on an online nutritional calculator. I am not a certified nutritionist. Please consult a professional nutritionist or doctor for accurate information and any dietary restrictions and concerns you may have.
So the next time you want something hearty and filling, try this vegan meatball recipe. Easy vegan meatballs taste so good, and I bet even the carnivores would love this, for a change of pace!
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Bella Bucchiotti is a storyteller, food lover, dog mom and adventure seeker living on the Pacific coast. She shares her passion for food, dogs, fitness, adventures, travel and philanthropy, in hopes of encouraging followers to run the extra mile, try new recipes, visit unfamiliar places and stand for a cause. Bella lives with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease.
Yum! I need to try this recipe.