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Broccoli Parmesan Meatballs

Broccoli Parmesan Meatballs Recipe

Broccoli Parmesan Meatballs
I think it’s time for more meatballs. (Or maybe it’s always time for more meatballs? I’m not sure.)

I’ve done Lentil Mushroom Meatballs before and if there’s one thing I learned from that post, it’s that you guys love meatballs. And that’s good, because I do too. In a world full of veggie burgers, veggie meatballs are a little harder to come by, so I think I’m going to make it my personal mission to post as many meatless meatball recipes as I can.

All meatballs! All the time!

Okay, no, that won’t happen. So: Some meatballs! Some of the time! Like theseย broccoli parmesan meatballs.

Coarsely Ground AlmondsBroccoli Parmesan Meatball Mixture

Broccoli Parmesan Meatballs

Although it’s not in the name of the recipe, the star ingredient of these meatballs is ground almonds. You don’t want to process them into a flour and you don’t want them chunky enough that you know these meatballs are made with nuts–they need to be a coarse crumb. These crumbs are what give my Broccoli Parmesan Meatballs their meaty texture. Well, maybe meaty isn’t quite the word I’m looking for, but without the ground almonds, these would be a little soft and mushy. The ground almonds are combined with chopped broccoli and shredded Parmesan cheese, formed into cute little meatballs, and then baked in a mini muffin tin.

Broccoli Parmesan Meatballs
Why a mini-muffin tin? Well, it helps the meatballs hold their shape! And it keeps them from rolling all over the place too. If you don’t have a mini-muffin tin, don’t worry–a regular muffin tin will do just fine. Since this recipe makes 12 meatballs, you might want to double it if you have a meatball lovin’ household. (And if it’s just you lovin’ meatballs, you can still double the recipe and freeze the leftovers–yes, these freeze well!)

Like all of my vegetarian remakes, these broccoli parmesan meatballs aren’t really meant to taste like actual meatballs. They just share the shape and function of meaty meatballs. They’re much tastier than the bland faux meat versions you can buy at the grocery store and I feel like I can say this with authority because Chris used to be hooked on those things and after I started making them myself, he completely changed his mind.

Broccoli Parmesan Meatball Sub
With the broccoli and Parmesan, these meatballs are an obvious addition to pasta, but we used some of ours to make meatball subs. I put them on a sub roll and topped them with chunky marinara sauce, some shredded cheese, and chopped basil. ย Broccoli parmesan meatballs are total comfort food.

This post was originally published June 3, 2013

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Broccoli Parmesan Meatballs

Broccoli Parmesan Meatballs Recipe

Vegetarian meatballs made with raw almonds, broccoli, and Parmesan cheese. Perfect for adding to your next bowl of pasta!

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 12 meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. raw almonds
  • 1 large head broccoli, cut into florets and steamed (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Olive oil mister or cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ยบF.
  2. Place the almonds in a food processor. Process until they’re coarsely ground (see image in post–it’s important to not under- or over-process!). Transfer ground almonds to a medium bowl.
  3. Now place the broccoli florets in the food processor and pulse until chopped. Add the chopped broccoli, cheese, and garlic to the almonds and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the egg.
  4. Spray a mini-muffin tin with olive oil or cooking spray. Form the broccoli mixture into 12 balls, squeezing them a little to make sure they hold their shape, and place each one in its own cup in the muffin tin. Bake until meatballs are golden on the outside and heated through, about 20 minutes. Remove tin from oven and run a butter knife along the edges of each muffin cup to loosen meatballs before gently popping them out.

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202 Comments

  • Reply
    Courtney @ The Fig Tree
    June 14, 2013 at 12:29 am

    These are fantastic! Such a great recipe! I’ve been wanting to make homemade meatballs, because I know the soy based ones we buy are filled with processed crap and salt. *haha* These will definitely be a staple in our weekly menu plan! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      June 14, 2013 at 6:36 pm

      Yeah, we stopped buying those after I started making them myself. You can make double or triple batches and freeze them–they heat up just like the frozen store-bought ones do. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Gila
    June 18, 2013 at 1:31 am

    All I can say is OMG! Easy and delicious. WAY better than the garbage you can buy, disguising as good nutrition. I just dropped them in the shape of mini burgers on a parchment paper covered pan. then after baking I froze them.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      June 18, 2013 at 9:12 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed them! I love freezing them too–you can’t beat homemade convenience food. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Jessica
    June 20, 2013 at 11:46 am

    I just wanted to let you know that I made these for dinner last week, served them with pasta & peperonata, and they were delicious! So simple but they had a real wow factor. Thank you for sharing such a great recipe.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      June 21, 2013 at 6:40 pm

      Thanks for your comment–I’m glad they turned out well for you! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Reply
        Maggie Baker
        January 12, 2014 at 11:49 am

        wondering if you can use panko bread crumbs if you have a nut allergy?

        • Reply
          Kiersten Frase
          January 12, 2014 at 8:01 pm

          You could give it a try, but I can’t say if it would turn out, since I developed the recipe using almonds.

  • Reply
    Cathryn
    June 24, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Made these last week and they were delicious. Carnivorous husband and small child loved them too – thanks so much!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      June 24, 2013 at 9:01 pm

      I’m glad they were a hit! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    M T
    June 26, 2013 at 10:18 am

    The only problem with these is that parmesan isn’t actually vegetarian. A lot of supermarkets have a cheap “Italian Hard Cheese” which is vegetarian but parmesan is NEVER veggie (in order to be called that, you need to use calf rennet in the production).

  • Reply
    Kelly
    June 28, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    I gave them another go and they came out perfectly!! I realized that I didn’t steam the broccoli last time!! So yum.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      June 28, 2013 at 4:00 pm

      Oh good, I’m so glad they turned out this time! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Reply
    munchkin
    July 2, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    great idea, looks yummy cant wait to make it

  • Reply
    Brenda Williams
    July 6, 2013 at 7:54 pm

    OMG…these sound totally awesome! I have a brand new mini muffin tin and this is just the recipe to break it in:)

  • Reply
    livingreen2
    July 8, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    Yep, these are AMAZING! Just made them last night. They reheated beautifully for my lunch at work. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      July 13, 2013 at 4:51 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed them–thanks for your comment! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    ashlee
    July 9, 2013 at 10:17 am

    i am out of almonds. would regular breadcrumbs work. I do have Cashews?

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      July 13, 2013 at 4:27 pm

      I haven’t tried the recipe with breadcrumbs or cashews, so I can’t say for sure whether they’d work or not.

  • Reply
    felicia
    September 23, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Looks awesome!! Can these be frozen anyway??

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      September 23, 2013 at 9:20 pm

      Yes, they freeze well! Bake them first, then after they’ve cooled, you can pop them in a freezer bag.

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    October 8, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    There’s a meatball shop near me that makes similar veggie balls only they use mostly cauliflower. There are whole pine nuts & golden raisins in them too. They’re amazing. I need to try your recipe as it’s the closest I’ve seen so far.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      October 9, 2013 at 7:10 pm

      If you try making these with cauliflower, let me know! I’m really curious about how they’d turn out. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Reply
        Jennifer
        November 6, 2013 at 7:28 pm

        I finally got around to making these. Theyโ€™re delicious. So creative. I tried with green cauliflower and a nut mix. Added whole pine nuts & raisins. Think I need more salt. And maybe the green variety of cauliflower is more mild than the white? But good, fun & creative nonetheless. Have you tried with roasted eggplant?

        • Reply
          Kiersten
          November 7, 2013 at 8:10 pm

          I think the green variety is crossed with broccoli, right? So yes, I could see it having a milder flavor. It’s been quite a while since I’ve had it myself! And no, I haven’t made eggplant meatballs, but I want to soon!

  • Reply
    Wendy
    October 15, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Dinner tonight! If I had any doubts after reading the recipe (which I really didn’t) all of these glowing comments closed the deal! ๐Ÿ™‚ I found this at the perfect moment. My vegetarian daughter is attempting to go gluten free/ soy free (for health reasons) . This recipe meets ALL of her requirements! Thanks!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      October 16, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      Yay, I hope you enjoy it! And good luck to your daughter–cutting out gluten and soy can be difficult since it’s hidden in so many things!

  • Reply
    Rina
    November 12, 2013 at 4:29 am

    My sister sent me the link to these yesterday and made them tonight, YUMMO!! I used cashews in place of the parmesan cheese as my son has a dairy allergy. Will be making these on a regular basis.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      November 12, 2013 at 8:09 pm

      I’m glad they worked out with the cashews–thanks for the feedback!

  • Reply
    Melanie
    December 2, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Holy Shamoly these are tasty! We are not vegetarians but due to my husbands declining health, we are looking for some healthier alternatives. He’s a meat and potatoes kind of guy and even HE loves them! We’ll be making these again. Added a little Italian seasoning.
    Delish! Thanks!

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      December 4, 2013 at 8:25 pm

      I’m so glad you and your husband enjoyed them! My mom went vegan this year because of health issues she was having and she was able to reverse them through diet alone–changing the way you eat is really tough, but I hope your husband will see results too!

  • Reply
    Kirb
    January 4, 2014 at 9:08 am

    Just made these and they were amazing. Great texture and flavour. Use of mini muffin pan is genius as it ensures a perfect crust.

    Made a few slight changes as I didn’t have all ingredients on hand:
    Only had small broccoli head so used stalk too.
    No fresh parmesan, used a combo of tasty and colby plus dried parmesan.
    Added about 2 chopped walnuts because they were handy.

    Fantastic recipe that I will surely modify a million times and continue to enjoy. Well done!

    • Reply
      Kirb
      January 4, 2014 at 10:15 am

      oh, i added a little feta too, but reduced the added table salt. And I added a few chillis because i love spicy food.

    • Reply
      Kiersten
      January 5, 2014 at 7:12 pm

      Thanks for your feedback–I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe! I’ve heard from others who’ve added feta too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Anne Gazzard
    January 6, 2014 at 12:55 am

    Have just found your website and am so excited – easy recipes, vegetarian AND vegan, lots of reader input, user friendly website! Am looking forward to cooking many of your recipes – am starting with these yummy meatballs!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      January 6, 2014 at 9:35 pm

      I’m glad you found us! ๐Ÿ™‚ And I hope you like the recipe! It’s one of my favorites.

  • Reply
    Laura
    January 7, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    I would like to use these just as an appetizer, is there a good sauce that you would recommend using as a dip?

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      January 7, 2014 at 9:01 pm

      I would just use a high-quality marinara–either homemade or store-bought. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Marci
    January 8, 2014 at 8:04 pm

    loved these, thanks!

  • Reply
    Komal
    January 14, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Hii,
    Made these last night and turned out delicous. Simple to make and full of flavor, served with spaghetti with Rao’s sauce. Perfect dinner. Thank you for the recipe.

    Komal

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      January 14, 2014 at 8:21 pm

      Thanks for your comment–I’m glad you enjoyed them!

  • Reply
    rekha
    January 14, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    Hi,

    What would you recommend as a substitute for the egg?

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      January 15, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      You could try using a flax egg replacer, but it probably wouldn’t bind quite as well.

  • Reply
    Emily
    January 23, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    Thanks for this recipe!! These were great – I served them with a pasta sauce I already had in the fridge. Taste great leftover too!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      January 24, 2014 at 8:35 pm

      I’m happy to hear they were a success! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    amanda
    January 26, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    I just made these, and they are fabulous! I used my vitamix to chop the almonds, and I think it provided the consistency suggested in the recipe. Since I had it out, I also used the vitamix to chop 3/4 of the broccoli and hand chopped the other 1/4. Because of all this vitamixing, I neglected to steam the broccoli! Ooops! I needed two eggs and one more clove of garlic to make the balls firm enough to stick together. However, they turned out fantastic. I baked them for 25 minutes.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      January 26, 2014 at 7:36 pm

      I’m glad they worked out! I’ve never tried chopping broccoli in my Vitamix before–I am intrigued. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    lori
    February 1, 2014 at 12:15 am

    what are the orange little pieces?

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      February 2, 2014 at 8:20 am

      They’re pieces of cheese that browned in the oven.

  • Reply
    Greg
    February 9, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    Delicious! I only had roasted almonds and they worked fine. I also love curry. 1/2 to 3/4 tbs adds a great taste. I also substituted half the Parmesan with oatmeal the 2nd time to lessen that flavor.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      February 11, 2014 at 7:42 pm

      Thanks for your feedback–I’m glad you enjoyed them!

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