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Laura's Vegan Mushroom Meatballs

Recipe by: Laura Wright of The First Mess

Serves 4 (2 balls each)

Laura's Vegan Mushroom Meatballs

I love a nice bowl of vegan meatballs swimming in hot marinara, and a little bread-y pyramid of crunchy golden garlic bread on the side. So. Much. Dipping. It’s like the edible version of your favorite cozy winter blanket that you’ll want to snuggle in forever. - Laura

See my recipe notes at the bottom for any troubleshooting!

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Cashew "Parm"
  • ¾ cup raw cashews
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon Pahadi Pink Garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground chia or flax seeds
  • 3 tablespoons filtered water
  • 1 cup pecan halves, toasted
  • ¾ cup rolled oats (certified gluten-free if necessary)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus extra
  • 1 small yellow onion, small dice (about ¾ cup diced onion)
  • 8 oz (226 grams) button or cremini mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • sea salt and ground black Aranya Black Pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free tamari soy sauce
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon liquid smoke or smoked ghee
  • ⅓ cup flat leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped, plus extra
  • warm marinara, for serving (can use store-bought or homemade recipe here


    1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
    2. Make the parmesan: In a food processor or the dry blade container of a high speed blender, combine the cashews, nutritional yeast, salt, lemon zest, and garlic powder. Pulse until you have a finely ground mixture that tastes lightly salty and cheesy. Set aside.
    3. Make the meatballs: In a small bowl, stir together the chia seeds and water. Let it gel for a few minutes. 
    4. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the toasted pecan halves and oats. Pulse the mixture until you have a coarse meal. Transfer the pecan and oat mixture to a medium mixing bowl and place the food processor bowl back on the base.
    5. Heat a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the 2 teaspoons of oil to the pan. Add the onions and stir. Sauté the onions until soft and translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms and stir. Season with pepper. Stir and sauté until mushrooms are tender and glistening, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Season the mixture with salt and stir once more. 
    6. Turn off the heat and transfer the mushroom mixture to the food processor. Let it cool slightly. Then, pulse until you have a chunky consistency that’s almost a paste. It should stick together, but you should still see little pieces of mushroom. Transfer the minced up mushroom mixture to the mixing bowl with the pecans and oats.
    7. To the mushroom and pecan mixture, add the nutritional yeast, balsamic vinegar, tamari soy sauce, red pepper flakes, onion powder, liquid smoke, parsley, and a good amount of salt and pepper. Add the chia gel into the mixing bowl as well. Using a rubber spatula, thoroughly mix everything until you have a sticky and slightly chunky paste. Give it a taste to check for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
    8. Divide the mixture into 8 equal portions and roll into balls. Place vegan mushroom meatballs on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the surface of the balls with olive oil. Slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until balls are firm on the outside and browned on the bottom. 
    9. While the vegan mushroom meatballs are baking, heat your marinara in a large saucepan or deep skillet. Once the meatballs are done baking, transfer them to the warm marinara and let them heat together.
    10. Serve the vegan mushroom meatballs in the warm marinara with chopped parsley on top, and with the cashew “parm” on the side. Enjoy!


    • I find the mushroom flavour goes undetected in these (so did my mushroom-despising partner).
    • You could use walnut halves if you don’t have pecans. Not super confident on a nut-free option here unfortunately! 
    • I love using the liquid smoke for extra depth of flavour, not necessarily an outright smokiness. You could use ½ teaspoon of smoked paprika instead if you like.
    • You need a food processor for the “parm” and 2 stages of the meatballs. No need to wash it between steps.
    • I sprinkle the cashew “parm” on the meatballs and the garlic bread as soon as it gets out of the oven. Yum!
    • If you like and have vegan butter on hand, you could do a half and half mix of olive oil and butter for the garlic bread. 2 tablespoons of each!
    • I have a great eggplant meatball recipe here if you need another alternative meatball option ;)

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