Basil Quinoa Meatball Marinara Sandwiches

by Kristina Sloggett

in Dinner, Gluten Free, Meatless Monday, recipes, Vegan

Basil Quinoa Meatball Marinara Sandwiches

Basil Quinoa Meatball Marinara Sandwiches – your favorite Italian flavors combine with warm melty havarti cheese – this is the perfect comfort food sandwich!


Another new week is here, and we are celebrating quinoa this Meatless Monday.

I made a new ‘meat’ ball from quinoa, TVP and huge handfuls of basil.

These are light and soft with a crunch on the baked exterior, and they hold together well with minimal effort. The garlic and basil flavors are bold in both taste and scent – your kitchen will smell wonderful with these in the oven.

Basil Quinoa Meatball Marinara Sandwiches

I also made quinoa flour!

I used it in another attempt at gluten free buns. They turned out better than the first, so I’m getting there. I hope to share them soon, after making them a few more times.

In the meantime, grab your favorite meat ball cheesy marinara vehicle and a bunch of basil and make these.

Basil Quinoa Meatball Marinara Sandwiches

basil quinoa ‘meat’ balls

egg, dairy and gluten free, vegan

makes 16 meat balls (1 to 1 1/2 inches each)

1 tablespoon flax seed, freshly ground
3 tablespoons warm water
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, divided
1/3 cup TVP, rehydrated
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 red onion, finely diced
large handful fresh basil, minced fine
2 cloves garlic, minced
sea salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup gluten free flour, divided (garbanzo/fava flour)

to rehydrate TVP: place TVP in bowl and cover with hot water, set aside for 5-10 minutes – TVP will expand and soften.

Grind flax seed in blender, coffee grinder. Place 1 tablespoon in a bowl, add 3 tablespoons water and stir. Place in refrigerator to set into gel.

In food processor, combine rehydrated TVP, 1/2 cup quinoa, nutritional yeast, onion, basil and garlic, pulse until smooth. Transfer to mixing bowl, add remaining quinoa, 2 tablespoons flour, flax gel, salt and pepper, combine completely. Using remaining flour (flour hands and have a plate of flour to work with), form 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls. Place on prepared (parchment / silpat) baking sheet.

Bake @ 325 for 20 minutes, turn and bake another 10 minutes.

Tuck meatballs into gluten free buns topped with havarti cheese sauce and marinara, garnished with crisp lettuce and onion rings. 

Vegan Meatball Sandwich


More quinoa creations:

seven layer dip with noocho cheese


cheesy roasted hasselback tomatoes


cherry ginger coconut quinoa


baby portobello stroganoff


crispy sweet potato enchiladas


quinoa bean burgers with basil aioli


mango and onion quinoa salad


carrot-ginger quinoa in pepper jacks



Happy Meatless Monday!



{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Heather (Where's the Beach) December 10, 2012 at 5:59 am

Those look perfect to me. I haven’t used tvp in ages and never thought to blend it, but great idea! Far less likely to be crumbly that way.


2 Kristina Sloggett December 10, 2012 at 10:27 am

I have been meaning to blend cooked quinoa into a burger for some time, and just figured the TVP would work as well – I liked it!


3 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table December 10, 2012 at 7:23 am

This is like how I do my chickless nuggets. I can’t believe I never tried to Italian-ize them into meatballs. I will be doing this ASAP!

I really can’t wait for your buns!! Hee hee.


4 Kristina Sloggett December 10, 2012 at 10:27 am

I have your chickless nuggets recipe bookmarked, but I haven’t even opened it yet! 😉 (I just know I WILL be making them…) how is this like yours, the quinoa? the processing? I really can’t wait to try them now! I am LOVING the TVP, and it is all your fault.

buns will be shared, hopefully soon!


5 Eileen December 10, 2012 at 9:22 am

These sound great–and I think I actually have all the necessary ingredients too! Do you think these guys would freeze well for future emergency sandwiches?


6 Kristina Sloggett December 10, 2012 at 10:22 am

I haven’t tried freezing them yet, but I bet they would be just fine in the freezer! Good idea, I may make a double batch next time just to do that!


7 Heather @ Better With Veggies December 10, 2012 at 9:27 am

Kirk emailed me to tell me he really wanted to make these this morning, so I just added it to our shopping list for the week. :) How many meatballs did you use per sandwich?


8 Kristina Sloggett December 10, 2012 at 10:20 am

awesome, you guys will love these! these sandwich rolls were larger than I normally make, and each sandwich had 4 meatballs. ENJOY!


9 kirsten December 10, 2012 at 11:08 am

This sandwich looks crazy good! I love anything smoothered in ‘cheese’ and tomato sauce!! WOW


10 Myra December 10, 2012 at 11:15 am

They look and sound yum. They are not soy-free. TVP is soy.


11 Kristina Sloggett December 10, 2012 at 11:54 am

thanks, I was using my recipe template for a soy free burger – I edited this one.


12 Kristina Sloggett December 10, 2012 at 12:00 pm

thanks Kirsten! I agree, anything with cheese sauce is good with me! :)


13 MaryC December 10, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Do you have a soy-free version? I am allergic to soy and eggs. Thanks!


14 Kristina Sloggett December 10, 2012 at 12:51 pm

hi Mary!

I have a basil quinoa burger that could easily be made into meatballs, here is that recipe: quinoa basil bean burgers with basil aioli



15 MaryC December 10, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Do you think you could substitute chia seeds instead of flax?


16 Kristina Sloggett December 11, 2012 at 7:20 am

I have not done that in this recipe, but I know chia has a similar action as flax.


17 Purely Twins December 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm

yum! this makes me want to go and get some quinoa tonight for dinner


18 Kristina Sloggett December 11, 2012 at 7:18 am

DO it! 😀


19 Nancy/SpicieFoodie December 10, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Yummy! I love quinoa but have much to learn about it. This is such a great idea and one I really want to try. Thanks so much for sharing your recipe and can’t wait to see the buns too.


20 Kristina Sloggett December 11, 2012 at 7:17 am

once you start using quinoa it quickly became my favorite, now I make a large pot each week to use for lunches and snacks… I love quinoa and it’s versatility!


21 Lou December 10, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Ummmm, amaze-balls? Of the non-meaty variety, naturally.


22 Kristina Sloggett December 11, 2012 at 7:13 am

thank you, Lou!! XO


23 Kate@Diethood December 11, 2012 at 6:24 am

Oh my yumminess!! I have a 10-pound bag of quinoa in my pantry… yeah it’s pretty big, and I had big plans for it… time to start using it! I am going to try these sandwiches for suuuuuure!


24 Kristina Sloggett December 11, 2012 at 7:05 am

once you open that bag of quinoa, it may go quick! I make a large pot of quinoa each week, for lunches and snacks. Enjoy!


25 Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning December 11, 2012 at 8:13 am

Oh YUM to these balls! :) I love meatballs- any kind, anywhere. And all of the recipes you linked to on here look delicious… looks like I need to do some list-making.
Did you make quinoa flour by just grinding it up in the blender? That’s what I do for chickpea flour (with chickpeas, of course…). I just use the dry blade on my Vitamix.


26 Allie December 11, 2012 at 11:43 am

TVP, quinoa and basil? I need to make these. And check out that sweet potato enchilada recipe while I’m at it, ’cause that sounds pretty fabulous too. Thank goodness I bought a bulk bag of quinoa the last time I was at Costco…


27 Kristina Sloggett December 11, 2012 at 3:06 pm

yes Yes YES you need to make both!! that sweet potato enchilada is one of my favorites, and these meatballs? mmm yes.


28 Abbie December 14, 2012 at 5:00 pm

That sandwich looks yummy, especially after being on the run all day and not having a chance to eat a respectable meal. Do you have any suggestions for how to make the cheese sauce if there isn’t any daiya cheese in a 90-mile radius? And, I would love to use some quinoa from the giant bag I purchased months ago!


29 Julie January 3, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Is there a way to replace the TVP? How would you replace the tempeh in your apricot bar recipe? I am allergic to soy.

Your recipes are an amazing find for me. We have various food allergy in my family and they are a good starting point for some new recipes. I have to alter some but I cannot wait to try them!

Thank you,


30 Kristina Sloggett January 3, 2013 at 2:02 pm

hi Julie!

I have a basil quinoa burger that could easily be made into meatballs, here is that recipe: quinoa basil bean burgers with basil aioli it uses beans instead of TVP.

as far as the apricot bar recipe goes, you could simply omit the tempeh and use apricots, or a combination of apricots with cashews if you wanted some texture.

as I plan my next couple of months here, I would love to know if you have any specific recipes you’d like to see! welcome, and thank you for reading.

happy new year, cheers! Kristina


31 Julie January 4, 2013 at 6:40 am

Thank you Kristina! Happy New Year!


32 Ember January 6, 2013 at 3:53 pm

I just made these while adding smashed black beans and italian seasoned bread crumbs (cannot use tvp) so delicious and I have not stuck them in the oven yet. :)


33 Kristina Sloggett January 7, 2013 at 7:36 pm

oh, good! I hope you liked them even more after they baked! 😉 I have already had several people make these and LOVE them! cheers to you!


34 Kelly @ TastingPage April 9, 2015 at 8:50 pm

Love these alternative “meat” balls. I’m always looking for some better meatless options and love the flavors you’ve added. Can’t wait to try!


35 Kristina Sloggett April 10, 2015 at 9:08 am

thanks, Kelly – enjoy!


36 Arman @ thebigmansworld April 10, 2015 at 1:25 am

I am obsessed with TVP but I stopped eating it for ages because my friend said TVP and tofu gives males boobs. I’m happy to take the risk for this. I mean…hello.


37 Kristina Sloggett April 10, 2015 at 9:09 am

haa HAAA HAAA… yes, I have heard this nonsense too 😉 every now and then is just fine, and your next portion should be used in THEEEEESE.


38 Savanna @ Gluten Free Vegan Pantry April 10, 2015 at 3:00 am

These sound amazing! Such a unique twist on your typical veggie meatballs. I love the addition of the basil – I can already imagine just how fresh it tastes!


39 Kristina Sloggett April 10, 2015 at 9:09 am

very fresh! thanks Savanna!


40 Krayl @ An Appealing Plan April 10, 2015 at 6:38 am

I am ALWAYS looking for hearty veggie style recipes to make -this one is perfect for me. My husband will never know!


41 Kristina Sloggett April 10, 2015 at 9:10 am

nope, he will not! 😉 hope you both enjoy, Krayl!


Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: