Mamma Mia! No Meat Balls alla Toscana

The best meatballs I ever tasted! You don’t have to be vegan to love them. Everyone goes crazy for these flavorful plant-based morsels. With a taste and texture just like Italian meatballs, or “polpette”, they taste fantastic with tomato sauce. If you’re sensitive to Nightshades, try them with my No-Tomato Sauce. You’ll never guess there’s no meat. This recipe is Paleo, vegan, free of many common allergens: gluten, eggs, beans, soy, grains, cheese, and breadcrumbs. Ha ha! Even better, they’ve got that “Mamma Mia” Italian flavor, without parmesan cheese! What’s in these meat-free balls, you may ask? Aha! I’ll tell you. They’re made with high-protein nuts, chia seeds, mushrooms, vegetables, and a few magical hunt-and-gather ingredients. Serve with the tomato sauce below. Yield: 24 meatballs and sauce to cover. Serves 4 persons.

No Meatballs, Paleo and Vegan!



    Sauté for the Balls:
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 sweet potato, or 1 carrot, grated
  • Vegan Meatball Mix:
  • 1/2 cup nuts (almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, or pecans) soaked and dried, if possible
  • 3 tablespoons melted) coconut butter
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon onion flakes
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dry seaweed flakes (Hiziki or Wakame)
  • 2 tablespoons your favorite protein powder
  • 2 tablespoons liquid coconut aminos
  • 1/2 teaspoon unprocessed salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup diced parsley
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • ¾ teaspoon fennel seed, ground in a mortar & pestle
  • ½ teaspoon crushed rosemary
  • ½ teaspoon ground sage
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • Tomato Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped, about 1 cup
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 28-ounce can organic crushed tomatoes, in a BPA-free can or glass
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil, or 1 teaspoon dry
  • 1 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon coconut aminos
  • 1/4 cup sweet potato, grated
  • Unprocessed salt and pepper to taste


    Sauté for No-Meatballs:
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cover 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large non-stick skillet, melt oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Sauté 2-3 minutes until they begin to soften. Add mushrooms and sauté 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook all the veggies uncovered so they release their liquid. Add celery, and sauté a few more minutes. Add grated sweet potato and sauté. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Mix the No-Meatballs:
  4. Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl or food processor, add all remaining ingredients. Mix well. The trick to a perfect texture is to have everything mixed evenly. But you also want some interesting texture similar to meat. It's easy to over mix, especially with a food processor.
  5. Add the sautéed veggies last and mix briefly. Mix until you LIKE the texture. Now set the mixture aside and allow to set for 5-10 minutes. The chia and coconut flour will absorb moisture, and you’ll be able to form balls.
  6. Using your hands, form 1-inch balls and place them on the baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes until crispy on the outside and soft in the middle.
  8. Yummy Tomato Sauce:
  9. In a large non-stick skillet over medium heat, add olive oil. Saute the onion and garlic 4-5 minutes until they soften. Add grated sweet potato and sauté until it begins to soften. Add all the remaining ingredients: tomatoes, basil, oregano, nutritional yeast, coconut aminos, salt, and pepper to taste.
  10. To Serve:
  11. Pour 2/3 of the sauce onto a serving platter. Place the meatballs in the sauce.Top with the remaining sauce, Garnish with parsley. Serve these meatballs plain or with your favorite noodles, such as Zoodles!

1 Reply to "Mamma Mia! No Meat Balls alla Toscana"

  • comment-avatar
    Antonio July 27, 2023 (12:52 pm)

    As a born and raised italian I think you should try a rare ingredient called “deez”. It is paleo and very healthy for you. I could tell you more about it if you’d like!

    Sincerely, Antonio.

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