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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 these 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.  Broccoli parmesan meatballs are total comfort food.

This post was originally published June 3, 2013

Broccoli Parmesan Meatballs Recipe

Broccoli Parmesan Meatballs

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
Servings: 12 meatballs


  • 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


  • Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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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  • Reply
    February 23, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    Is there any way to make these without the almonds?

    They sound absolutely amazing—like I’m super tempted to go to the 24 hr market down the street and make them right now. But I’m allergic to nuts.

    I know I could probably sub in breadcrumbs or something like that, but I like that almonds add some protein. Anyone have any ideas for me?

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      February 24, 2014 at 9:39 am

      I’m sure there’s a way, but it will probably require some experimentation to get the right proportions. You could try subbing in an equal amount of breadcrumbs, but it might not work like that since breadcrumbs and almond meal are two very different ingredients. I’ve also used oat flour (just pulverize whole oats in a food processor) in other recipes, which may be a possibility as well. But if you want something that would add protein, you might want to try firm tofu–you can mash it (be sure to press the water out first!) and stir it into the meatball mixture. If you did that, you might want to omit the egg too. But since I haven’t tested this recipe with any of these substitutions, I can’t say for sure whether they’ll all work, the amounts you’d need, etc.

      • Reply
        July 4, 2014 at 9:03 am

        Quinoa would be a great substitute

    • Reply
      October 29, 2014 at 8:25 pm

      I’d give sunflower seeds a whirl!

    • Reply
      Jay Gagliano
      April 12, 2015 at 1:00 am

      I think if you wanted to substitute chestnuts instead of almonds, the meatballs would taste great and have the same consistency as almonds do, but no allergy threat. Enjoy

    • Reply
      Verna Martin
      July 27, 2015 at 11:26 pm

      Chic peas / garbanzo beans, still gives you the protein, it will not have the crunch unless you fry the beans first.

  • Reply
    February 24, 2014 at 7:16 am

    Thanks for the awesome recipe. My 18month old daughter doesn’t like broccoli but loved these!

  • Reply
    Anna Magliocchetti
    March 17, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    Made these the other day, they were a hit! Just curious if these might work using nutritional yeast in place of the Parmesan cheese. Any thoughts?

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      March 17, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      I haven’t tried it myself, so I can’t say for sure without testing it. The cheese does help bind the meatballs together a little bit, so they might be a little more prone to crumbling. If you try it, let me know how they turn out!

    • Reply
      January 21, 2015 at 1:21 am

      I make them all the time with nutritional yeast & they’re delicious!

  • Reply
    April 14, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Hi, its very nice to see the recipes . im from india and never commented before anywhere… i always like to rome around other cuisines because i like try new things ,,, your recipes are very good … keep up ur good work.. thanks for sharing….

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      April 15, 2014 at 3:44 pm

      Thanks for your comment! I’m glad you enjoy our recipes. 🙂

  • Reply
    June 19, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    These look delicious! Do you happen to have any nutritional information for these broccoli meatballs?

  • Reply
    July 6, 2014 at 10:05 am

    Just made these and they are super easy and delicious!!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      July 6, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      Thanks for your comment – I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe! 🙂

  • Reply
    July 23, 2014 at 8:06 am

    I made these for my family and served them as meatball subs and they were a huge hit; even the carnivores who weren’t huge broccoli fans loved them. My food processor was broken so I ended up using my 2-speed hand mixer, so the broccoli was a little chunky, but it still tasted delicious! 🙂 I’ve just gotten a new food processor and am eagerly planning on serving these again with pasta and just wanted to ask if you have any suggestions for a sauce that isn’t tomato based? (I was thinking maybe a lemon-butter-garlic-basil one.). Thank ya!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      July 25, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe! 🙂 I’ve had these tossed with pesto and pasta and I think that works really well. A lemony, garlicky butter-based sauce would probably be delicious too!

  • Reply
    November 6, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    I made these and wow are they good! I’m going to add the recipe to my blog and a link back to you.
    If you want to see the page drop me a email and I’ll add my link.

    Thanks for sharing the recipe.


  • Reply
    December 9, 2014 at 11:53 am

    I made these for my 20 month old who refuses all veggies … and she ate them up! I was so happy- thank you for such a great recipe!

  • Reply
    December 12, 2014 at 11:14 am

    These look great – I am so excited to eat them! I feel bad discarding the broccoli stems though, since they pack a good nutritional punch. Can I steam them as well and just add more of the other ingredients accordingly?

  • Reply
    January 10, 2015 at 7:42 pm

    I made these tonight using pumpernickel bread crumbs instead of almonds, they were a hit with the entire family! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      January 14, 2015 at 3:07 pm

      I’m glad it worked out with the breadcrumbs – thanks for your comment!

  • Reply
    January 24, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    These were the best things I have ever made. AMAZING. Im making another batch, thats twice in 1 weeek!

  • Reply
    February 16, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    Help. I want to love these. What did I do wrong?
    I had a hard time making the balls. It kept falling apart
    And they tasted very dry.
    What can I do?

  • Reply
    March 8, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    These were so good! I made them in a regular muffin tin, but made them smaller than the cups so I still had 12. They held together brilliantly! I am amazed that they also had a ‘bready’ ‘ texture with the ground almonds and no breadcrumbs!

  • Reply
    March 29, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    These are AMAZING! I add in some frozen edamame with the broccoli– so tasty and easy to make

  • Reply
    April 11, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    I always have Bob’s Red Mill almond meal in my kitchen, do you think that will work?

  • Reply
    April 27, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    FYI…this recipe was chosen to sub as the vegan ones at Ik
    ea; however, vegans don’t eat eggs or cheese…unless vegan cheese

  • Reply
    April 28, 2015 at 11:16 am

    Any idea how these taste at room temperature? I would like to take this to a picnic this weekend.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      April 30, 2015 at 1:50 pm

      I’ve never had them at room temperature, but I think they’d be fine.

  • Reply
    Vanessa D.
    June 28, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    These look lovely and I will be pinning the recipe to try later, but my holy grail is meatloaf. I used to have a recipe that was perfect for slicing and slathering with ketchup, just good old fashioned comfort food, but I lost it. It had bulgur as the main ingredient with minced mushrooms and carrots along with some other ingredients.

  • Reply
    July 1, 2015 at 11:02 pm

    Love the broccoli meatballs! Thanks.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2015 at 8:28 am

    I’m surprised that you say these are vegetarian ‘meatballs’ when they are made with parmesan cheese, parmesan is made using the stomach lining from baby cows (who are still suckling from the mother, it cannot be made any other way….just thought you should know in case you all thought you were eating vegetarian…

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      August 10, 2015 at 7:20 pm

      I can see from your email address that you live in the UK; in the US, we’re not bound by EU labeling laws for Parmesan cheese and we have many varieties of domestic Parmesan that are made with microbial enzymes. Nearly all of our readers are in the US.

    • Reply
      August 24, 2015 at 12:18 pm

      Sorry Kerry but I agree with you, I think that should be made clearer. I live in Germany and use this website and I totally didn’t know that…oh man, (strikes another food off the list)

  • Reply
    August 16, 2015 at 5:34 am

    Absolutely fabulous!! I could have eaten the whole batch in one sitting! Will be making again soon!

  • Reply
    August 24, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    I so wanted these to work, but no matter how hard i squeezed, they just fell apart : (

  • Reply
    September 3, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    Please could you suggest how I could turn these lovely broccoli ball vegan? Would flax egg woork?

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      September 5, 2015 at 11:12 am

      I think a flax egg would work as a binder, but the cheese would be trickier to substitute. You’ll want to replace it with a vegan cheese that melts well, since the cheese also helps the meatballs stick together.

  • Reply
    October 4, 2015 at 9:17 am

    Today is Sunday… I want to make these today to serve later in the week. Yes? No? Will they hold up? Should o make and freeze or just refrigerate?

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