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I’ve spent the last six months or so doing a crazy amount of cooking for my upcoming cookbook (!!!), and have been playing around with different types of meat substitutes that are both gluten-free and soy-free (as well as being low carb and vegan). Meatballs were pretty high up on that list, as it was something that you guys have requested a bunch.
Since it’s currently summer, I happen to have a crazy amount of zucchini and various summer squashes in my fridge and have basically been working them into every recipe I attempt. Fortunately, it isn’t too much of a stretch here. The zucchini adds a nice texture to these low carb vegan faux meatballs that would otherwise be missing.
Notes on Making Vegan Keto Zucchini “Meatballs” (gluten-free, soy-free)
- You can use whatever type of summer squash you’ve got lying around. Zucchini, straight-neck, crookneck, zephyr, pattypan – all the usual suspects work and have near-identical macros.
- If you can’t eat walnuts, pecans can be substituted in as well.
- I tried subbing in hemp seeds with varying degrees of success.
- I tried using ground flax and chia in place of the psyllium. They hold together to a point, but the psyllium really is the best solution here. The texture of the flax and chia just isn’t there (yet!).
- I serve these with shirataki noodles and low carb sauce. I’ve found both Rao’s and Lucini – 4g net carbs per serving each – are the best low carb sauces out there. They’re a bit spendy but occasionally go on sale at a pretty steep discount.
- I left the serving size of these up to you. Nutrition is calculated out for one vegan keto zucchini meatball (12 total in the recipe). I find that three usually does the trick, but sometimes you just want that fourth…
- The seasoning can be changed if you don’t dig that particular combination. Those just happen to be the herbs and spices that I like the best.
- The finer the walnuts are chopped, and the more shredded the zucchini, the better the texture of these will be.
- You can also just blend the zucchini. If you take this approach, you can totally skip letting the zucchini and salt sit to draw out moisture and just go straight to mixing. I didn’t feel like cleaning my blender though, so I just use the fine grater setting on a box grater.
- I used the generic values for nutrition from the USDA Food Composition Database, so if you are using a specific brand or variety, your nutrition values might be slightly different than mine.
Vegan Keto Zucchini “Meatballs” (gluten-free, soy-free)
- 1 cup 170g shredded zucchini
- 1 cup 120g chopped or ground walnuts (depending on your preference)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon psyllium husks
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together grated zucchini, chopped walnuts, and salt. Let this mixture sit for about five minutes to allow for some of the moisture to be pulled out of the zucchini.
- Add in the psyllium and seasoning, and stir until thoroughly combined. Let this sit for another five minutes, so the psyllium can start to bind.
- Form golfball-sized balls with your hands and place them on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the zucchini balls are slightly brown on the outside and firm to the touch.
- Serve over zucchini noodles or shirataki noodles with a low carb red sauce, and enjoy!