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Vegetarian Baked Meatballs - a non-soy recipe

Updated on December 1, 2008

If you want to make savory vegetarian meatballs, but don't want to use tofu or soy or any other type of "fake meat", here's a recipe that I like to use. The meatballs are robustly flavored, and hold up pretty well if you want to add them to spaghetti.

The non-vegetarians I've served this to have loved it, as well. The bean and bulgur texture, firmed up with egg and breadcrumbs, has the same savory taste and substantial texture of meatballs. 

This recipe will make about 20 large meatballs.


  • 1 cup bulgur wheat
  • 2 cups vegetable or mushroom stock
  • 1 cup adzuki beans (small, dark red beans)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 egg, beaten (2 eggs, if you want a "tougher" meatball)
  • 1 cup (or more) breadcrumbs 
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Cook the adzuki beans in plenty of water. (It will take about 40-50 at a slow boil). Rinse and set aside.
  2. Cook the bulgur wheat in the vegetable/mushroom stock. The resulting cooked bulgur should be fluffy. Set aside.
  3. Cook the onion and garlic in the olive oil; cook until the onion is translucent and the garlic fragrant but not browned. Add the cumin and coriander and cook for another minute or so. Let the mixture cool.
  4. Add the cooked beans, bulgur wheat, and onion/garlic/spice mixture to the beaten eggs.
  5. Mix in enough breadcrumbs to make the mixture semi-firm. Mix in chopped cilantro leaves. 
  6. Put in the refrigerator to firm more (about an hour).
  7. Turn on your broiler, and lightly oil a cookie sheet.
  8. Using wet hands, roll approximately 20 meatballs from the firmed-up mixture, and place on the cookie sheet.
  9. Broil for approximately 12-15 minutes.
  10. Enjoy!


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