This recipe for VEGAN cauliflower meatballs is made with a mixture of cauliflower, brown rice, breadcrumbs, and variety of herby and warming Italian spices.
We included options to either bake or fry the “meatballs” but we highly recommend frying it because the flavor profile is so much more amazing and delicious.
The outside of the balls sizzle in the vegetable oil, getting crispy and golden brown while leaving the inside soft and tender.
These vegan cauliflower meatballs are similar to our other lentil meatball recipe, just with cauliflower and rice. They tend to be a bit lighter than the lentil version, probably because there’s not so much dense protein in them.
There’s still plenty of healthy goodness in there, though, with the brown rice and the amazing cruciferous cauliflower!
The perfect pairings for these vegan cauliflower meatballs:
- MEATBALL SUBS WITH VEGAN ALFREDO. ♡ Don’t miss out on these delicious meatballs subs with creamy alfredo sauce. Matt and I made these meatball subs while dancing around the kitchen to our favorite soul radio station LOL!! We were sooooo happy this recipe was a hit and we’re super excited to share it with you.
- SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS WITH MARINARA. ♡ There’s nothing like a traditional Italian-American classic: spaghetti and meatballs with marinara sauce. 100% vegan, of course. Try this recipe for homemade marinara sauce. Feel free to use brown rice or chickpea pasta to make a wholesome, gluten-free family dinner.
- ITALIAN WEDDING SOUP. ♡ There’s nothing like a hearty, nutritious wedding soup with vegan meatballs to satisfy your cold-weather cravings. We’ve been having a snowy winter in Colorado this year and this soup has made a regular appearance in our home. You can make the meatballs a little bit smaller so they are more bite-sized for the soup. Recipe to come soon!
If you try this recipe, please leave a comment/rating below and tag us on Instagram or Facebook @pastabased.
Bake or fry these vegan meatballs made with cauliflower and brown rice. Easy to make using flavorful, simple, plant-based ingredients. Perfect for pairing with a variety of sauces, sandwiches, and soups.
- 2 cups cauliflower florets
- 2 cups brown rice cooked
- 1/2 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs gluten-free option
- 2 flax eggs see notes for instructions
- 2 tablespoon fresh basil
- 2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- vegetable oil*
Cut cauliflower into florets and measure out 2 cups (220g). Add to a small pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil for 5 minutes, until cauliflower is soft. Drain and set aside.
In a food processor, add softened cauliflower florets, brown rice, bread crumbs, flax egg (see notes), basil, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and paprika. Pulse until well-combined. You may need to do this in batches to make sure all the ingredients get processed well.
Roll even portions of the mixture between your hands into golf-ball sized balls (see photo). You should get about 16 balls — or about 46g of the mixture per ball.
Heat a thin layer of vegetable oil in a 10-inch frying pan on medium heat.* Add the balls in small batches, be sure not to crowd the pan and fry, turning frequently with a fork or spatula, until golden brown on all sides.
Once a ball is golden brown, carefully place it on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up any excess oil. Serve warm.
Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add vegan meatballs to the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until the outside starts to brown lightly and form a crust. Serve warm.
- To make 2 flax eggs: in a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds and 5 tablespoons water. Stir to combine. Let sit for about 10 minutes to thicken.
- *Frying tip: Make sure the oil is very hot before adding the balls, otherwise they may stick.
- To store: once cool, place meatballs in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
- This recipe also freezes very well. Cool first and then add to a freezer bag or tupperware.
Unfortunately when I go to print the recipe to take to my kitchen, it printed “warning: Illegal string….etc.
and another Warning at the top of the printed sheet. Could you fix that?
Thanks for letting me know! and so sorry that you’re running into issues with printing the recipe. I’m working on getting this fixed and hope to have an update soon.
I love all things cauliflower so these veggie cauliflower meatballs are right up my alley for sure!
Cooking these right now and having a very hard time. We followed the frying instructions carefully, but the crusts are separating from the still very mushy middle. Even those that come out of the pan intact are too soft to hold together well. The crusts are tasty, but the mushy portion is unappealing. We are now going to treat the pre-fried ingredients as ground beef, sauteing it as grounds to be out into a baked pasta dish.
Those are very appealing little cauliballs. I don’t often use much oil but you might have just convinced me to give this a shot as a special treat. Thanks for sharing!
These meatballs look wonderful! I don’t think any of my meat-eating friends will miss out!
would an air-fryer work?
What could I substitute for the flax? Would another egg substitute work just as well? I have one I just bought from Bob’s Red Mill,but haven’t tried yet. I am trying to stay away from flax because of estrogen content.
Tried this 5 different ways. Finally made it work. Fried the first batch and it fell apart. Baked the next small batch and it was dried rice lumps. Used my vitamix and basically liquified half the rice/cauli mix, then put it back into the rest of it. I baked another batch and they turned out edible, but were like puffs, empty on the inside. Would be cool filled with something if you were so inclined. Then I fried the rest. They were yummy.
Claudene Mc Hugh
sorry, i do not see where to use the breadcrumbs in the directions?
i added in the food processor, and mine were a bit soft, how can i make them more stiff?
taste was lovely, thanks
Hi Claudene, so sorry about that! Thank you for letting us know, I updated the recipe to show you were correct to add the breadcrumbs to the food processor. If they were too moist, you could add more breadcrumbs until the mixture forms a more solid structured ball. As far as being firmer after cooking, you could try frying in some olive oil if baked isn’t coming out as you like it.