Note: Hi, friends! Just a a quick reminder – some of the links on this site are affiliate links, and so I may earn a little cash on qualifying orders. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, and is a nice way to help support this site! I also want to point out that I don’t promote products I haven’t actually tried or products that I don’t trust. 🙂
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!
19 thoughts on “Vegan Keto Zucchini “Meatballs” (gluten-free, soy-free)”
By blending the zucchini do you mean literally just chopping it up and throwing it in the blender? I’d rather wash my blender than my grater any day, haha!
Hi Brittany, that is what I mean!
Haha, I’ll wash your grater if you want to wash my blender… 😀
Can these be converted to veggie burgers or will they fall apart?
Hi Cindy, great question! You should totally be able to make these into burgers. The cooking time might increase a bit, though!
I like the carb to fiber ratio and zucchini is becoming a big hit in our house along with all the items you can make with cauliflower. The two of them almost rule the kitchen. I would never have though of making meatless meatballs using zucchini. It is nice to find a surprise recipe like this. I think I will put the mixture into portobella mushrooms for a veggie pizza,
Hi William! Isn’t it crazy how many different things you can make with cauliflower and zucchini? 😀
Eating these now, I think its better with the walnuts ground in the processor completely, not extremly fine but definitely more than chopped. Flavor is pretty good, since I’m not totally vegan I added shredded parm to the mix and I also added freshly chopped parsley which boosted it a bit more.
Hi Aysha, thank you for the recommendation! I can make a note about this in the recipe. 🙂
If you’re interested, Follow Your Heart makes a vegan parmesan that’s out of this world.
Oh, good to know, Cherry. This sounds delicious! Thank you for sharing 🙂
I’d love to make these, but I can’t have walnuts OR pecans. Are there any other substitutes that might work? I was thinking maybe brazil nuts… ? Either way, these sound good!
Hi Kristin!!! I didn’t realize you couldn’t eat pecans or walnuts… nut intolerances/allergies are so annoying – I’m sorry! You could definitely use hemp seeds, pepitas or sunflower seeds for this. Brazil nuts should totally work, though, as well! They do have a pretty strong flavor, which might be the only thing that’s a little off. However, that might end up being super delicious…
Awesome! I think I’ll try with pepitas <3
I didn’t have any walnuts so made them with ground almonds and they came out like doughy, moist flavoursome balls. Thanks for the recipe so I could accidentally discover that!
Hi Willow! Thank you for telling me about this variation! I’m glad you enjoyed it 😀
Hi wondering if these do better if made the night before?
Hi Leah, that’s a great question – while the flavors may blend together a bit more, my guess is you could achieve the same effect by letting the mixture sit for even just an hour in the fridge before making them!
I made these and I squeezed the bejesus out of the zucchini to get the water out, used my mini cuisinart to chop the pecans. I added ground fine psyllium, onion powder, garlic powder, chilli powder and oregano. I made the balls and let them set for a couple hours and then baked them and served with marinara and they were so so so good!
I’m so glad you enjoyed them!! I love the addition of chili powder. 😀