When recipes rely on meat — so much that the word meat is in the name — it’s quite hard to imagine a vegetarian-friendly version. Luckily, vegetarians are *incredibly* crafty. They have transformed countless classic meat dishes, like chili and burgers to name a few, into healthy meals that boast flavor, protein and fiber. Believe it or not, meatballs (or perhaps we can call them cheatballs) are a fabulous contender for a meatless dish. If you don’t believe us, check out these 15 impressive plant-based “meatballs” for yourself.


1. Thai Quinoa Meatballs: These stunning vegan and GF cheatballs are a total dream. Served atop a mound of spiralized veggies, these beauties possess all of that Thai-inspired garlicky and peanut-y goodness we covet. (via B. Britnell)


2. Eggplant Meatballs: To look at this glorious skillet, you’d never know these little gems aren’t your typical meatballs. Easy to assemble, these tender eggplant balls are pure perfection when simmered in tomato sauce and topped with gooey mozzarella. (via Two of a Kind Cooks)


3. Lentil Meatballs With Indian Fenugreek Sauce: These wholesome Indian-spiced lentil “meatballs” will leave your kitchen smelling amazing. With that in mind, we can only imagine how delicious they are served over that vibrant fenugreek and coconut sauce. (via Feasting at Home)


4. Farmer’s Market Spaghetti With Beat Balls: Market fresh carrots, zucchini and beets bring a hefty punch of nutrition to this fun and unique dish. These tasty beat balls are falafel-inspired and promise to leave you feeling full and satisfied. (via Hungry Couple)


5. Vegetarian Meatballs With Tahini Sauce: These robust chickpea balls are incredibly substantial and super versatile. Along with a brightly flavored lemon tahini sauce, they’re great on salads, in pitas or just on their own. (via Taste and See)


6. Vegan Eggplant Ball Sub With Kale Salad and Tahini Harissa Sauce: If you love the smokey flavor and creamy texture of roasted eggplant, you need this solid sandwich in your life. Stuffed with eggplant balls and a spicy kale salad, this recipe makes for a perfect lunch and dinner. (via Veggie Num Num)


7. Vegetarian Mushroom Meatballs: Thanks to their meat-y texture, mushrooms are a popular meat substitution in the vegetarian world. So, it only makes sense to create “meatballs” out of them. These are fantastic on their own or over a plate of spaghetti. (via Cooktoria)


8. Swedish Meatless Balls: These sweet and savory balls are made with ground soy protein and offer up a smorgasbord of flavors. Though it’s easy to enjoy these bad boys on their own, this recipe serves them over a bed of pasta. (via Planticize)


9. Ginger Glazed Tofu Meatballs: If you’ve got a hankering for sweet and gingery flavors, these shiitake mushroom and tofu cheatballs have got you covered. Doused in a tempting sticky glaze, they make for a perfect party app or dinner option when served over rice. (via Connoisseurus Veg)


10. Spaghetti Squash Marinara With Vegan Lentil Meatballs: This might look like your typical spaghetti and meatballs, but it’s the farthest thing from — and we’re excited about it! This here is a wholesome plateful of spaghetti squash, marinara, vegan “meatballs” and vegan cheese. (via Kale Me Maybe)


11. Black Beans Vegetarian Meatballs: Looking at these stunners, it has become more evident that beans truly are “the magical fruit.” GF and vegan, these healthy flavor bombs are drizzled with a spicy tamarind sauce and pair amazingly with roasted veggies. (via Pure Ella)


12. Quinoa Meatball Sandwich: These scrumptious “meatballs” come together with hearty quinoa and a blend of vegetables for ultimate flavor. Stuffed into a bun, drenched in marinara and topped with stretchy cheese, these veggie balls could fool any meat-eater at first glance. (via Simple Healthy Kitchen)


13. Vegan Teriyaki Meatballs: Slathered with an umami-filled teriyaki sauce, this sweet and salty snack is sure to be a hit no matter how you dish ’em. They’re great as a party app, but they can be enjoyed just as easily as a meal toppled over some rice. (via Yup.. It’s Vegan!)


14. Buffalo Quinoa Bites: Buffalo anything is crave-worthy, and hopping onto a plant-based diet doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all of that Buffalo-style goodness. These quinoa bites prove that. The kicker is that there is an ooey gooey cheesy surprise in each and every bite. (via The Iron You)


15. Mushroom Onion Thyme Veggie Meatballs With Spaghetti Squash Pasta: Spaghetti and meatballs — healthified! You simply can’t go wrong with the combination of mushrooms, onions and thyme, especially when pasta is involved. This recipe makes things even more rad by using the squash shell as a serving vessel. (via Brewing Happiness)

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