Vegan "Meat"ball Appetizer with Tangy BBQ Sauce Recipe

Happy Mushroom Monday!

I love parties especially when they are food related! I enjoy bringing healthy alternatives and it's always fun to hear that they can't believe it's vegan and healthy! One dish I absolutely loved pre-vegan days was meatballs with sweet sauce. I didn't have it very often because it was more of a party appetizer or special occasion type dish. I also knew it was an indulgent dish that was high in sugar, calories, and unhealthy fats. Today, I'm sharing with you the next recipe in my Healthy Holiday Meal series and this one is an appetizer recipe! This recipe you can feel good about eating and sharing with your friends and family. I love this perfect little appetizer because it's easy to serve, healthy, and super delicious! I can't wait to make this for my own Holiday get togethers coming up!

The secret ingredient in this "meat"ball is walnuts! I love the combination of using fresh mushrooms (from the always fresh and awesome Kitchen Pride Mushroom Farm), lentils, and walnuts. It makes an AMAZING meaty taste and texture that will satisfy even the most un-vegetarian guests! ;) As you know, I love including mushrooms in my meals because it has a naturally meaty flavor and texture but it's super healthy and economical. You won't find a healthier produce item with such a great nutrient value for you dollar! Combine the mushrooms with lentils which give this dish even more fiber and protein. PLUS the secret ingredient--walnuts! Walnuts are full of antioxidants, omega-3s, and protein which add even more to this healthy appetizer! 

For dipping, I created the Tangy BBQ Sauce that gets it's sweetness from dates which are full of fiber and antioxidants! Most BBQ sauces are full of sugar and lots of unhealthy ingredients. This recipe is simple yet compliments the "meat"balls perfectly!

Let's get started!

Vegan "Meat"ball Appetizer with Tangy BBQ Sauce

(Makes enough for 22 generous meatballs and dipping sauce)

"Meat"ball Ingredients:"Meat"ball Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup dry red lentils
  • 1 ¼ cup water
  • 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms (cleaned and roughly chopped)
  • 1 onion (roughly chopped)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke

"Meat"ball Ingredients:"Meat"ball Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 °F.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine lentils and water. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer and cover. Stirring often, cook for 10-15 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Set aside.
  3.  In a medium skillet heat olive oil and onion over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes or until onions become translucent and start browning.
  4. Add chopped mushrooms to cooked onions and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until mushrooms become soft.
  5. In a food processor, combine walnuts and flour. Pulse until walnuts become a finer texture.
  6. To pulsed walnuts and flour, add cooked onions and mushrooms, cooked lentils, garlic, basil, salt, pepper, and liquid smoke. Pulse until all ingredients are combined. (I like a little texture with the mushroom so I make sure to only pulse until combined and not over process.)
  7. Form into 1 tablespoon balls (use a teaspoon for small "meat"balls) and place on non-stick baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes. Flip "meat"balls over bake for another 10 minutes.
  9. Insert toothpicks and serve with Tangy BBQ Sauce.

Tangy BBQ Sauce Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces tomato paste
  • 4 dates (pitted)
  • 3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup soy sauce

Tangy BBQ Sauce Instructions:

  1. In a food processor or high speed blender, combine tomato paste, dates, vinegar, pepper, and soy sauce. Process until smooth.
  2. Serve with Vegan "Meat"ball Appetizer.
vegan meatball recipe

I can't wait for you to try this out at your next Holiday party! You'll love knowing there is a healthy meat-free option that is so delicious you'd never know it's good for you!

With Health and Happiness,

Nickole