Tofu meatballs are easy to make in an oven or air fryer. Serve these hearty vegan meatballs with your favorite sauce, pasta, or on their own.
Just because you are avoiding meat doesn't mean you need to give up your favorite comfort foods like spaghetti and meatballs.
Tofu is a versatile protein that takes on the flavors of whatever it's prepared with. It can stand in for feta cheese in tomato basil cucumber salad. Or as a replacement for scrambled eggs in a vegan breakfast casserole.
Tofu meatballs may not look or taste exactly like the traditional version, but they are hearty, scrumptious, and satisfying.
Why you'll love this recipe
- It's easy to make with mostly pantry staples you may already have in your kitchen.
- You can either bake or air fry the meatballs.
- It's inspired by a classic favorite but made with whole-food plant-based ingredients.
Tofu: I recommend Hodo Organic Extra-Firm Tofu which doesn't require pressing. If you use extra-firm tofu that's packed in water, use a tofu press to remove the excess liquid before making this recipe.
For the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions, please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Step 1: Make a "flax egg" by whisking together flax meal and water.
- Step 2: Use a food processor to grind rolled oats into a coarse flour.
- Step 3: Crumble the tofu.
- Step 4: Fold in the flax mixture, ground oats, and remaining ingredients.
- Step 5: Roll the tofu mixture into balls and brush with olive oil.
- Step 6: Bake or air fry, flipping halfway through, until golden brown and crispy on the outside.
It's easier to form the meatballs if your hands are wet. Lightly squeeze the tofu mixture as you roll to ensure they don't fall apart.
This tofu meatball recipe can be customized to suit your tastes. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- Add crushed red pepper flakes, ground Aleppo peppers, or paprika for extra spice and heat.
- In place of Italian seasoning, use a combination of basil, oregano, and parsley. Or try rosemary, thyme, and sage.
- Add a cheesy flavor with a few tablespoons of nutritional yeast.
- Out of oats? Substitute and equal amount of breadcrumbs.
- Try vegan Worcestershire in place of tamari or soy sauce.
Tofu meatballs are delicious served in a variety of ways. You can eat them plain or with a sauce.
- Serve them with spaghetti and tomato sauce or pumpkin marinara.
- Enjoy them with Mediterranean yellow rice, grilled veggie kabobs, and vegan garlic yogurt sauce.
- Turn them into a holiday meal with olive oil mashed potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts and carrots, Mediterranean sourdough stuffing, vegan onion gravy, and cranberry raspberry sauce.
Storing and freezing
Leftover tofu meatballs can be covered and refrigerated for 3-4 days or frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
For tips on freezing, refer to USDA Freezing and Food Safety.
The combination of grains (like ground oats or breadcrumbs) and flax (a substitute for eggs) keep the vegan meatballs from falling apart.
After removing the tofu from the package, rinse, drain, and pat dry with kitchen towels. If it requires pressing, rinse, press, then pat dry.
Press the tofu for 10 to 15 minutes to remove the excess moisture. Or use super-firm tofu or extra-firm tofu not stored in water and you can skip the pressing. I recommend Hodo Organic Extra-Firm Tofu.
More tofu recipes
And for even more recipes, join the Vegan Mediterranean Diet Recipes Facebook group for support, inspiration, and fun.
If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars! ★★★★★
- 1 Tablespoon ground flax seeds, (flax meal)
- 3 Tablespoons water
- ½ cup rolled oats, (Choose certified gluten-free, if necessary.)
- 14 ounces extra-firm tofu, pressed (Or use super-firm tofu without pressing.)
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 Tablespoon tamari, (or soy sauce)
- 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- In a small bowl, whisk together the ground flax seeds and water to combine. Set aside.
- Add the oats to the bowl of a food processor. Process until a coarse flour is formed. Set aside.
- If baking, pre-heat the oven to 400°F. If air frying, pre-heat the air fryer to 425°F.
- In a large mixing bowl, crumble the tofu with your hands until it resembles the texture of ground meat.
- Add the flax seed mixture, oat mixture, tomato paste, Dijon mustard, tamari, Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Mix with your hands until well combined.
- Use your hands to form the tofu mixture into about 14 balls about an inch in diameter. Lightly squeeze so that the mixture stays together. Place the balls on a lined baking sheet or in the basket or tray of an air fryer. Brush each ball with the olive oil.
- Bake the meatballs for 25 to 30 minutes or air fry for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until golden brown and slightly crispy on the outside.
Nutritional information is an estimation only.