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

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Broccoli Parmesan Meatballs

Prep Time

20 minutes

Cook Time

20 minutes

Total Time

40 minutes


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


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  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.


My 12 month old thinks these are the greatest! They are the perfect texture for her! For the adults, I think I’ll add more garlic and try a bit of basil to give it a little more flavor! A++ for the baby and probably and a- for the adults! But easily adaptable to change and add flavors! Thanks so much!!

You’d definitely need to substitute something else. I think walnuts or even cashews might work, but if you’re allergic to all tree nuts, I’m not sure what you could substitute without changing proportions of the other ingredients.

I’ve tried bread crumbs (usually half the amount of almonds) with success. I cover mine with barbecue sauce afterward anyway, which kind of covers taste differences.

You could try using a tablespoon of ground flaxseed mixed with 2 tablespoons of warm water, but I’m not sure it will work. The egg binds the meatballs together.

Hi Kierstan,

Great recipe, very delicious! It was hard to find almond meal (it’s also expensive) and i don’t have a food processor so instead I used gluten-free oatcakes (£1.50 for the correct amount) and bashed them with a rolling pin – came out a treat 🙂

Omg these “meat” balls are so good. They are such an awesome replacement for the real thing. It mimics the texture and color very well. I never comment on these sites but am so pleased with how they came out I had to come and let you know that I loved this recipe! Definitely bookmarking your blog to help keep my resolution of being fully vegetarian this year.

Happy New Year!

I made these last night. They were tasty, but needed a substantial uptick in seasoning. I doubled the garlic and added a bunch of spices and herbs. We’re an omnivore family, looking to up our plant based meals, I’m going to try these again with some additional tweaks, but overall it was a nice change.

Really good! For me spaghetti is often a “Shoot I didn’t have time to go grocery shopping” meal but adding these to the mix made it feel like a real, planned meal! They are very dry though, sauce is a necessity. I bet this would taste real good as a patty with a spicy aioli.
Question though; if freezing it what’s the best way to reserve them?

Very very good. Love them. my batter came out a little too wet, probably because my broccoli was frozen and it has a lot of water in it. Fresh wouldn’t. So I put in some gluten free flour. Wow, I couldn’t stop eating them. Like potato chips. Thanks so much for this recipe! I’m going to make them often.

Parmesan cheese is NOT Vegetarian!!
“Parmesan and other non-vegetarian cheese. There are some cheeses which are always made using animal rennet, for example, Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano). In order to be called ‘Parmesan’ this has to be produced according to traditional methods which use calf rennet”.
You can get Italian hard cheese’s that are vegetarian but Parmesan is definitively not!

Hey Jenny, you’re right that in order for a cheese to officially be named Parmesan, it must contain rennet. However, there are plenty of Parmesan-like substitutes that don’t contain rennet, and often the name is used interchangeably. It’s confusing!

This is a tasty and adaptable recipe, thanks for sharing it! I made some changes based on what I had on hand. I used breadcrumbs instead of almonds and added mozzarella to the mixture. I also added one shredded zucchini that was about to go bad (I first put the shredded zucchini in a colander, added salt, and let it rest for about 10 minutes; then I “squeezed out” the water using a paper towel; then I added it to the mixture)

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