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Vegan Sweet and Sour Meatballs in a bowl

The Easiest Vegan Meatballs (Gluten-Free)

  • Author: Liz Madsen
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 24-26 meatballs 1x
  • Diet: Vegan


Tender and delicious, these are the Easiest Vegan Meatballs ever, and they’re also gluten-free! Made of wholesome ingredients.




  • 2 15-oz cans (about 3 cups) kidney beans (or any)
  • 1 ⅓ cup oat flour or garbanzo flour, divided in half (see note 3)
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • ¼ cup ground flaxseed + ⅓ cup water
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dried herbs (I used an Italian blend)
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp sea salt

Sweet and Sour Sauce (bonus; optional)

  • 1 cup canned or bottled pineapple juice (fresh won’t work as well)
  • ⅔ cup coconut sugar (or organic cane sugar, or light brown sugar)
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • 3.5 tbsp organic ketchup
  • 2 tbsp reduced sodium gluten-free tamari (or soy sauce if not GF)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1.5 tsp beet powder (for color)
  • ½ tsp ground ginger, optional
  • 3 tbsp arrowroot powder / cornstarch


  1. Make the flax eggs: Mix the indicated amount of ground flaxseed (if you have whole flax seeds, you’ll need to grind them in a spice grinder, coffee grinder, or blender first) and water in a small bowl. Stick in the fridge to make it gel faster.
  2. Blend the beans: Now take the kidney beans and add them to the food processor, pulsing them a few times. You could also use a blender or a fork and a bowl (just mash them up). Add the gelled flax egg, nutritional yeast, spices, and HALF of the oat or chickpea flour. Blend or mix well.
  3. Mix in remaining flour: Now if you mixed in a food processor or blender, transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Sprinkle on the remaining oat or chickpea flour and mix with a fork until thick and well combined.
  4. Chill: Cover and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes or throw it in the freezer for about 10 minutes or so. This step is optional, but it does make the meatballs a lot easier to roll, and it helps them keep their shape while they bake.
  5. Preheat: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit (or 218 degrees Celsius).
  6. Form vegan meatballs: Make meatballs with about 2 tablespoons each of the mixture. This is a nice sized meatball, but you can use a smaller or larger amount according to your preference. I used a 2 tbsp cookie scoop to make this process a lot easier. Scoop out each meatball, roll between your hands to get a nice sphere, and place on a silicone baking mat or parchment paper lined baking tray. If your meatballs are cracking or not staying together well enough, you need a bit more moisture. Stir in 2 tablespoons of water at a time if needed. Repeat until all mixture is used up. 
  7. Bake: Bake them for about 20-24 minutes, flipping halfway through. I’d also recommend rotating the trays at that halfway point. Alternatively, you can air fry them, but I’d recommend only a single layer at a time, and give them a little room to breathe around each other. If you really want to brown them, you could finish in a skillet.
  8. Eat as is or use: If my husband doesn’t eat them all first, I like to add these to whatever sauce I’m using and simmer for a bit to infuse the flavor of the sauce into the vegan meatballs, like these vegan Swedish meatballs.
  9. Instructions for optional Sweet and Sour sauce: Add all ingredients except arrowroot powder / cornstarch and water to a small saucepan and heat over medium high. Bring to a boil. Mix the arrowroot powder / cornstarch with the water and pour into the pan. Whisk until smooth and lower the heat to medium. Stir until thickened--shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.
  10. Store: Refrigerate leftover meatballs in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or freeze in a freezer safe container for up to 3 months.


  • Note 1: Prep & Cook time estimates do not include chill time.
  • Note 2: This makes a LOT of meatballs, so you can freeze half when you’re done cooking them for a quick meal later on. You could also freeze the formed balls before baking them… Freeze them on the tray first, then when frozen you can place them in a freezer bag or container.
  • Note 3: I used oat flour, which I made from grinding rolled oats in my blender, but you could also use store-bought oat flour or chickpea flour (also called garbanzo bean flour, besan, or gram flour).
  • Note 4: I provided my recipe for the sweet and sour sauce here--it was one of the first times I made it, so it doesn’t have it’s own blog post yet. It’s a good sauce, I’ll have to make one! That said, you can use any sauce you like with these vegan meatballs, such as the gravy for my vegan Swedish meatballs or vegan BBQ sauce or marinara.
  • Prep Time: 11 minutes
  • Cook Time: 24 minutes
  • Category: Entrée, Snack
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Vegan, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Sugar-free, vegan meatballs, vegan sweet and sour meatballs