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Herbed Cauliflower Quinoa Meatballs


This herbed cauliflower quinoa meatball recipe is a protein-packed vegetarian alternative. It combines riced cauliflower and quinoa with garlic and herbs for a savory, tender meatball that’s perfect with pasta or veggie noodles!

Herbed Cauliflower Quinoa Meatballs

Meatballs! Without meat. With cauliflower and quinoa instead! Wait, what? Are they still considered meatballs? I don’t know. And I don’t really care, either. Because they’re GOOD and that’s all that matters.

If these aren’t technically meatballs, then let’s talk about what they ARE:

  • Incredibly tasty over veggie noodles such as spiralized zucchini
  • Also yummy on top of regular pasta noodles
  • Hearty and filling
  • Easy to assemble and cook
  • FIVE simple ingredients (plus a couple basic seasonings)
  • Ideal for meal prep
  • Can be made ahead of time and heated up in the sauce of your choosing for 10-minute dinner situations
  • Delicious with red sauce, alfredo, white wine sauce, or pesto

See? The possibilities are endless. These vegetarian meatballs are the little engine that could. I’m especially loving them with zucchini noodles and my favorite spicy red pasta sauce (I’m digging DeLallo’s spicy arrabbiata right now, because I caught it on sale obviously). I love that I’m getting a serving of plant-based goodness and I feel SO full afterwards.

Herbed Cauliflower Quinoa Meatballs

Herbed Cauliflower Quinoa Meatballs Wooden Spoon

Herbed Cauliflower Quinoa Meatballs

Something else that I feel must be mentioned. I have been known to grab a few of these directly out of the fridge and dip them in aforementioned spicy pasta sauce. Is that weird? Maybe. Oh well. 🙆 No shame in my game.

These vegetarian meatballs are another recipe option that keeps those 2018 healthy eating goals on track WITHOUT being boring or leaving us hungry. There’s plenty of protein, plenty of fiber, and plenty of flavor. No meat necessary. 💁 Sauce ’em up. Serve, and enjoy!


Herbed Cauliflower Quinoa Meatballs

Herbed Cauliflower Quinoa Meatballs - Super EASY vegetarian meatball recipe! Love this with red sauce, alfredo, or pesto. Dinner idea or meal prep!
  • Author: The Fitchen
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 16 meatballs 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Oven


  • 3 cups riced cauliflower
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup gluten free panko
  • 2 eggs (or vegan eggs)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 Tablespoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. In a large bowl, combine riced cauliflower and quinoa. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs. Add whisked eggs into the large bowl, then add panko, garlic, thyme, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Mix together until well combined.
  3. Form the mixture into balls about 2 Tablespoons in size. Arrange on the baking sheet. Place baking sheet into the oven and bake 40 minutes, flipping halfway.
  4. Serve over zucchini noodles, regular pasta, or veggies and top with your favorite sauce!


*To make this recipe vegan, swap out the eggs for flax eggs or vegan egg substitute of your choice.

* Nutritional facts are based upon one “meatball.” I typically eat 3-5 of them when served with zoodles or pasta, but everyone’s appetite and dietary needs are different. :)


  • Serving Size: 1
  • Calories: 54
  • Sodium: 88 mg
  • Carbohydrates: 8 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 3 g

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  • Gabby
    January 9, 2021

    Hello! Excited to try this… can frozen riced cauliflower be used?

  • Nadeen
    November 19, 2019

    Thank you for sharing! Do you have the nutritional facts associated with this recipe?

    • thefitchen
      December 2, 2019

      Hi Nadeen! I’ve just updated the recipe with nutritional facts. I calculated everything for 1 meatball just to make it easier. Typically, I’ll eat 3-5 meatballs when served alongside zucchini noodles or pasta.

  • Brooke
    August 16, 2018

    Sounds delicious!! Can Panko be substituted for regular bread crumbs?

    • thefitchen
      August 17, 2018

      That should work just fine!

  • Becca
    August 6, 2018

    I’m not a big fan of thyme, so I replaced it with oregano and basil. Loved them! Thanks!

    • thefitchen
      August 7, 2018

      Awesome – I’m glad you enjoyed!

  • Tori
    May 9, 2018

    Soooo, I tried making these and it was a bust. I followed the recipe and for some reason the mixture would not form balls. I tried adding more quinoa and then breadcrumbs to get it to form balls but it never worked out. Any sugestions?

    • thefitchen
      June 6, 2018

      Hi Tori! I’m sorry to hear this recipe didn’t work out. I wish I could give you a definite reason but it’s hard to say without being there! Did they turn out too dry or too wet? You left the cauliflower raw, correct?

  • Shane
    March 29, 2018

    Made a double batch of these this week. I balled the 2nd part of the batch. i was going to freeze them for backing later. My wife loved them so much she asked me to go ahead and bake the whole thing. She had a road trip in her future and wanted to take them for savory snacks. We both enjoyed them very much. Thanks for the recipe.

    • thefitchen
      March 31, 2018

      I’m so glad you and your wife like these! I agree – they’re perfect for savory snacks, too!

  • Kathy
    March 6, 2018

    Can this be made with out eggs?

    • thefitchen
      March 13, 2018

      Yes! You can substitute flax eggs for the egg.

  • Sarah
    March 4, 2018

    Do you cook/steam the cauliflower before mixing?

    • thefitchen
      March 6, 2018

      No ma’am! Just riced cauliflower, uncooked.