Vegetarian Walnut Meatballs
with Garlic Tahini Sauce

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These vegetarian meatballs get a triple dose of good fats from luscious walnuts, extra virgin olive oil, and creamy tahini. Serve as an appetizer, entree, or sandwich.

Meatless Walnut Meatball Appetizer

Thanks to California Walnuts for sponsoring this post. 

February is one of my favorite months. It’s all about love and a time when all eyes and ears turn to heart health. This recipe fits right in. These versatile vegetarian walnut meatballs are packed with three of my favorite things – good fats, fiber, and protein!

I’m excited to represent #TeamGoodFat to share this easy recipe. No matter what you’ve heard, fat is not a bad word. When talking about walnuts, it’s actually a good thing. Walnuts are the only tree nut to provide a rich source of plant-based omega-3 ALA. And recent research suggests walnuts are a good choice for the heart. But consistency is key. In one study, eating walnuts one or more times a week was linked to a lower risk of heart disease. Enjoy them as a snack or in everyday recipes for crunch and a dose of good fats!

This recipe was inspired by a “No-Meatball” I enjoyed at Little Goat Diner in Chicago. The ingredient list is a little longer than my usual but it comes together quickly in the food processor. Plus, you can make it ahead – keep the meatballs in the fridge overnight or freeze to cook later.

How to Make Walnut Meatballs - Ingredients in Food Processor

Walnuts provide a meaty texture and just enough crunch in these vegetarian meatballs. The garlic, onion, and smoked paprika add incredible flavor and the chickpeas help everything combine with ease. The meatballs get another dose of healthy fats from a creamy honey garlic tahini sauce to bring it all together.

How to Make Vegetarian Meatballs

Once the meatballs are rolled, you can refrigerate them for 30 minutes to overnight. And once ready to cook, you can pop them into the oven or get a little more browning and crunch by pan searing on the stovetop. I’ve shared both options in the recipe below.

[clickToTweet tweet=”ad: Walnut No-Meatballs with Garlic Tahini Sauce #TeamGoodFat @CaWalnuts” quote=”ad: Walnut No-Meatballs with Garlic Tahini Sauce #TeamGoodFat”]

These vegetarian walnut meatballs make a delicious appetizer or you can add them to a green salad for an entree. Though I prefer them warm, these no-meatballs can also be served at room temperature making them perfect for lunch.

Vegetarian Meatballs with Walnuts

So, here’s the recipe. Be sure to tag me on Instagram (@marisamoore) when you make this recipe and show me how you use it!

Vegetarian Meatballs with Walnuts
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5 from 1 vote

Vegetarian Walnut Meatballs with Garlic Tahini Sauce

These vegetarian meatballs get a triple dose of good fats from luscious walnuts, extra virgin olive oil, and creamy tahini. Serve them as an appetizer, entree, or sandwich!
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Appetizer, Entree
Cuisine: American, Mediterranean
Keyword: vegetarian meatballs
Servings: 8 (3 meatballs + 1 T sauce)
Calories: 247kcal
Author: Marisa Moore


Vegetarian Walnut Meatballs

  • ½ cup coarsely chopped onion
  • 1 cup walnut pieces
  • ¼ cup oat flour
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • cup cooked chickpeas (1-15 ounce can, rinsed and drained)
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp coarse salt
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil for pan searing or baking

Garlic Tahini Sauce

  • ¼ cup tahini, lightly salted, room temperature
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Optional: toothpicks for serving


  • Add the onion to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped.
  • Add the remaining vegetarian meatball ingredients. Pulse until the mixture comes together and is easily formed into a ball. If the mixture is too wet, add a bit more oat flour.
  • Roll into 1-inch balls. (Tip: add a little olive oil to your hands for a cleaner rolling process.) Refrigerate 30 minutes up to overnight. The vegetarian meatballs can be cooked on the stovetop or baked in the oven.
  • On the stovetop: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the no-meatballs in batches. Turn to brown evenly on all sides, about 10 minutes. 
    In the oven: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or prep with olive oil mister generously. Roll each ball in the olive oil. Place onto the baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake 25 minutes, turning once halfway through cook time.
  • Remove from oven and let cool slightly before assembling.

Garlic Tahini Sauce & Assembly

  • Add all tahini sauce ingredients to a medium bowl. Whisk until smooth.
  • Place the walnut meatballs on a serving platter. Drizzle with tahini sauce and serve warm or at room temperature.


Note: The preparation time does not include the inactive time in the refrigerator or freezer. These vegetarian walnut meatballs can also be frozen and thawed for later. Serve them as an appetizer or entree.


Calories: 247kcal


4 Comments on Vegetarian Walnut Meatballs
with Garlic Tahini Sauce

    • Marisa
      February 5, 2018 at 7:53 PM (2 years ago)
      Thanks, Cindy! They are great for a party! Reply
  1. Kathryn
    February 5, 2018 at 10:36 PM (2 years ago)
    This looks incredible! I am always trying to find new versions of meatless meatballs and love the idea with walnuts and oat flour! Definitely trying this! Reply

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with Garlic Tahini Sauce

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