Tempeh Meatballs


We are now officially addicted to these meatballs to the point where my husband is asking for meatball sandwiches for breakfast. I am indebted to Isa Moskowitz and her book, Isa Does It! for the initial tempeh cooking method, but the rest of my recipe diverges from hers. I use a two-step process, which I believe ensures max flavor. After assembly, I bake them; then, when we are ready to eat them, I heat them up in my cast iron skillet with a little oil. Also, as you can see in the picture, we are not a drown-our-meatballs-with-sauce kind of family but feel free to dump as much sauce over your meatballs as you wish to! Or make meatball heroes with sauce or sandwiches with ketchup. Whatever works!

Makes 24 meatballs

1 lb. soy tempeh
1 cup of water
1 Tbs tamari
1 small onion
1 clove of garlic
1 Tbs miso
1 Tbs tomato paste
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 Tbs fresh chopped parsley, optional


  1. Break up the tempeh into crumbles. They don’t have to be too fine, just so that the block is broken up. Add to a pot along with the water and tamari. Mix it all together to try to coat the tempeh with the tamari. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook until the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Every few minutes go in with a wooden spoon and break the tempeh up even more.
  2. Let the tempeh sit and cool. In the meantime, dice an onion into a small dice and mince the garlic. Place in a pan and sauté in water or oil until soft.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the miso and tomato paste. Add it to the tempeh along with the onions and garlic, the Italian seasoning, salt, breadcrumbs, and parsley if using. Mix well.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form balls by really packing the mixture together, rolling the mixture between your palms.
  5. Place the meatballs on the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely
  6. Store in the refrigerator or freezer. When ready to serve, heat a small amount of high heat oil on a cast iron skillet. If you don’t have one, a nonstick pan will do. Once the oil is hot, add the balls and roll them around, coating the whole ball with oil. Cook for a few minutes until heated through.
  7. If you are making a big bowl of spaghetti and sauce, get it ready before the balls are ready and then serve as pictured. Or toast the bread or hero and pile the meatballs in. Enjoy!

This recipe originally appeared on Lisa’s blog.

Posted in Dinner, Lunch, Recipes

Lisa is a vegan, wife, mom, and yogi. She creates easy, vegan recipes that allow her family and others to be vegan for their health, the health and welfare of animals, and to protect the planet. Her recipes are easy to prep ahead; use fresh, organic ingredients (when possible); and, almost all of the dishes take less than half an hour to make. Lisa holds a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from eCornell, and she is a Certified Plant-Based Professional through