Tempeh-Walnut Meatballs


Sure, you can go to your local Whole Foods and pick up frozen Gardein meatballs which are pretty tasty, but they are highly processed. When you have a little extra time, this recipe is worth the bit of effort it takes to create a tasty whole food, plant-based meatball that pairs perfectly with your favorite marinara sauce.


I have tried various combinations of grains, beans and nuts that call themselves meatballs, but these actually taste like the real deal:

Tempeh-Walnut Meatballs

  • 8 ounces Tempeh
  • 1 cup Walnuts
  • 2 tbsp. Nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp. Parsley, fresh
  • ½ tsp. Oregano, dried
  • ½ tsp. Basil, dried
  • ½ tsp. Thyme, dried
  • 4 cloves Garlic , rough chopped
  • ½ cup Onion, diced
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp. Tomato paste
  • 2 tsp. Tamari
  • 2 tbsp. Water
  • 2 tbsp. Olive oil
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees:
2. Steam tempeh: Using a steamer basket, steam tempeh for 25 minutes to soften. Let it cool.
3. Process ingredients: In food processor, combine walnuts and remaining ingredients until you have a semi-moist meal.
4. In a bowl, crumble the steamed tempeh with your hands until there are no big chunks left.
5. Add the mixture from the food processor into the bowl with the tempeh and mash together with your hands.
6. Form into balls about 1 1/2 inch in diameter. : Oil a baking sheet. Place balls and coat with a bit more oil and bake for 30 minutes.
Servings/Yield: 5 servings | 20 balls
Source: Sexy Vegan


  1. Was concerned that you use Worcestershire Sauce in your recipe, I was under the impression that it contained Anchovies, which are certainly NOT vegan as they are fish!

  2. I have been looking at a variety of vegan meatball recipes as one of my favourite dishes is spagetti with meatballs. This is the only recipe that has really captured my imagination! Can’t wait to try them!

    1. In this particular recipe tempeh provides the essential “meaty” texture for the meatballs. Tofu and tempeh are so completely different in how they combine and cook with other ingredients as shown here. I would not try this with tofu. I don’t normally interchange the two, myself because the textures are so different. You will see when you try tempeh!

      1. Ugh, that’s what I’m worried about – my first experiments are usually not that good :)..I’ll try and find something simple. Thanks for the advice. I really appreciate it. I’m trying various vegan recipes at the moment and there is definitely a learning curve!

      2. Tempeh is a very natural product that can take some getting used to, especially if you are already partaking of the new faux meat subs on the market. It helps to keep that in mind…and if you are invested in healthy eating…don’t give up if the first recipe doesn’t do it for you. And I would make sure tempeh is not competing with highly seasoned, processed proteins on the weekly menu. The humble soybean can’t compete against the food science labs.