Lentil Meatballs (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

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These flavorful Lentil Meatballs (Vegan, Gluten-Free) are smothered in a creamy cashew gravy will surely be a big hit at your dinner table especially during the holidays!

Lentil Meatballs (Vegan, Gluten-Free)


First Published on May 31, 2018, at 22:06

Easy Lentil Meatballs

I made this Lentil Meatball recipe today and I was very pleased with the results, I was looking for an easy lentil meatballs recipe that would be packed with flavor yet fancy enough to be served even at the holiday table and enjoyed by everyone including meat-eaters.  They actually remind me of Swedish meatballs.

I knew I found a winner of vegan meatballs when I serve them and my husband couldn’t stop saying how much he loves them and that they are definitely a keeper! They remind me of Swedish Meatballs, the kind you find at Ikea.

I love making vegan meatballs because they can easily feed a crowd, they are perfect for potlucks, and you can easily estimate the number of people you will be serving and make the right amount for them. My Vegan Tofu Meatball recipe is also a huge hit!



Health Benefits Of Lentils

Lentils are healthy and rich in nutrients and should be included as part of the diet: Want to gain muscles while on a vegan diet? Then you should eat more lentils. They’re high in fiber, protein, and folate. The fact is they can help you live longer, and they’re pretty much the perfect food. The little legumes have 250g of spermidine.

1 cup of cooked lentils contains:

  1. 226 calories
  2. 39 grams carbohydrates
  3. 18 grams of protein
  4. 16 grams of fiber
  5. 3.6 grams of sugar
  6. 0.8-grams  of fat

close up lentil meatballs in a saucepan on a grey background

How To Make Lentil Meatballs (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

To make these vegan lentil meatballs, first sort and wash dried lentils. Use brown or black lentils for this recipe, saute onion, garlic, herbs, add lentils, along with water or vegetable broth, and cook until tender and liquid has evaporated.

While the lentil is cooking, make oat flour, followed by finely chopped walnuts in a food processor, then stir them in the lentil mixture along with ground flaxseeds, yeast flakes, and Bragg’s Liquid Aminos.

Form into a meatball shape and place onto a prepared baking sheet and baked for 30 minutes. While lentil meatballs are baking prepare the cashew gravy.

ingredients for making lentil meatballs on a cutting board

How To Make The Cashew Gravy?

The cashew gravy is easy, you basically rinse cashews, and add all the ingredients except the herbs in a high-speed blender, and process until creamy.

Pour gravy into a saucepan, add herbs/seasonings and cook over medium heat until bubbly, while stirring with a whisk.

Please note to start by adding 2 tablespoons of the Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, then add the extra tablespoon if needed.

How To Freeze Your Lentil Meatballs?

  • After baking the lentil meatballs, cool them completely. 
  • Place the lentil meatballs in a freezer-friendly container and place it in the freezer for up to 1 month.
  • Make the cashew gravy and cool completely, place in a freezer-friendly container and freeze as well.
  • To serve, remove the lentil balls from the freezer and place them in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F. for about 15-20 minutes or until heated through. 
  • You can transfer the gravy from the freezer to the refrigerator the night before serving to defrost. Heat up the cashew gravy and pour over the reheated lentil meatballs and serve. 

I wanted a dish that was very tasty so I adapted the filling from my Jamaican Lentil Patties recipes.

I was going to add gluten-free flour to bind the meatballs and prevent them from breaking up, but to my surprise, the balls were quite sturdy without flour.

Feel free to add about 2 tablespoons of gluten-free flour of your choice, rice, oat flour or sorghum flour should work fine for this recipe.

I added my gravy when I’m plating my dish, just before serving, so that the meatballs aren’t sitting for long in the gravy. It is delicious served with rice or mashed potatoes, green beans.

If you are still searching for recipe ideas for the holiday, don’t worry we have you covered! Here are 25 DELICIOUS VEGAN RECIPES FOR THE HOLIDAYS.

Check Out More Lentil Recipe Ideas:

Very close up photo showing lentil meatballs in gravy in a saucepan

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(Per portion)
  • Energy: 335 kcal / 1400 kJ
  • Fat: 21 g
  • Protein: 13 g
  • Carbs: 25 g

Cooking Time

  • Preparation: 20 min
  • Cooking: 1 h
  • Ready in: 1 h 20 min
  • For:
  • 6 Servings


Lentil Meatballs

Creamy Cashew Gravy


  1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in garlic, thyme, parsley, paprika, and lentils to coat.
  2. Add water and bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to simmer and cover the pot. Cook until lentils are tender and water has completely evaporated about 30 minutes. (Make sure lentils are dry and not soggy)
  3. Transfer lentil mixture to a large bowl and set aside. Using a food processor, process/pulse walnuts until finely chopped. Stir walnuts into lentils along with the *oat flour, flaxseeds, yeast flakes, Bragg's Liquid Aminos and salt.
  4. Preheat oven 400 degrees F. Prepare baking sheet with lightly greased parchment paper.
  5. Scoop mixture, using about 1-2 tablespoons. Form into balls and placing them on prepared sheets in a single layer until mixture is all gone. Bake for 30 minutes or until brown and crispy on the outside.

To Prepare Cashew Gravy

  1. Combine cashews, water, yeast flakes, onion powder, garlic, arrowroot, Bragg's Liquid Aminos in a high-speed blender and process until smooth.
  2. Pour sauce into a saucepan and add thyme, Italian seasonings, paprika. Heat on medium-high, stirring constantly with a wire whisk until sauce thickens.
  3. Place meat balls in serving plate. Pour gravy on top and garnish with chopped parsley.


1. Substitute your favorite marinara sauce for the creamy cashew gravy.

2. Substitute cashews with sunflower seeds for a nut-free creamy gravy.3

3. *To make oat flour,  I place rolled oats in a blender and process until smooth. I store it in an airtight container in my refrigerator and I love to use it to make gluten-free pancakes as well.

4. The gravy is thick so you might want to add extra water to make it thinner.


Recipe author's Gravatar image

Michelle Blackwood, RN

Hi, I’m Michelle, I’m the voice, content creator and photographer behind Healthier Steps. I share vegan and gluten-free recipes because of past health issues. My goal is to help you make healthier choices and show you how healthy eating is easy and delicious.

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  1. Toots
    January 17, 2021

    OMG these are stupidly good! I cannot stop eating them. Definitely keeping these to make over and over.

  2. S
    January 6, 2021

    Hi Michelle, I really enjoyed your pumpkin soup recipe the other day and want to try this one too…what kind of lentils should I use? Red or green/breown?

  3. eva @ StyleMyThrift.com
    January 5, 2021

    Hello There!
    Just made this last night! My daughter and I are not vegans, or vegetarians, but Plant-Forward eaters focusing on the nutrition derived from Plant based foods, but not eliminating animal products entirely. We have a diet-blended family…super challenging to be 100% vegan. Anyway, these lentil-balls were amazing! Your recipe was easily adapted for us by using one egg as a binder (flax and I don’t mix on the digestive level). I did use chicken broth instead of veggie broth. But your gravy I made straight up like you listed–and that gravy? Oh My! Absolutely divine! So savory and flavorful. I can see using the gravy for other recipes as well.

    • Michelle Blackwood, RN
      January 5, 2021

      Eva, I’m super excited that you and your daughter enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing your feedback, I really appreciate it and I hope you try more of my recipes.

  4. Audrey
    January 4, 2021

    This is soooo delicious

  5. Charla
    December 26, 2020

    We also made this for Christmas dinner and we all loved them, including my picky children. Thanks!

  6. Sue
    December 24, 2020

    My husband and I love this. It is vegan comfort food! We decided to make it for family this Christmas. Thank you!!!

    • Michelle Blackwood, RN
      December 24, 2020

      Sue, I’m so happy you and your husband love it. I’m also making it for Christmas dinner. Happy Holidays!

  7. alesha
    December 22, 2020

    Hello Michelle,
    I stumbled across your page while dreaming up my holiday meal this year. I am really excited to make these for Christmas dinner, and will be pairing them with a mushroom gravy. I look forward to letting you know how they go, and looking through your page for more inspiring recipes.

    • Michelle Blackwood, RN
      December 22, 2020

      Hello Alesha, welcome to our page. That is one of our readers’ favorite recipe, I hope you enjoy it. Happy holidays!

  8. Caitlin
    December 13, 2020

    I’m interested in making these for the holidays and was wondering if you think they could be made in a slow cooker?

    • Michelle Blackwood, RN
      December 13, 2020

      Caitlin, this is definitely a good idea, I just haven’t tried mine in the slow cooker as yet. If you do, can you please let us know if it works. The lentil meatballs don’t fall apart so they might just work.

  9. Rebecca
    December 9, 2020

    Hi, I am out of flaxseeds, can I use chia or hemp instead? Can’t wait to make these!!

    • Michelle Blackwood, RN
      December 9, 2020

      Rebecca, chia seeds would work but I would blend it first in a high-speed blender, plus I would prefer to use white chia seeds (Salba) instead of the black.

  10. Tia
    December 7, 2020

    Super yummy! I was pleasantly surprised how well the meatballs held together while baking.

  11. Jodi
    November 17, 2020

    These are SO delicious! I used regular flour since I’m not GF. I threw the left over “meatballs” on my salad the next day. Such an awesome find for this die hard vegan!! Thank you!♥️

  12. viola
    November 2, 2020

    Thank you Michelle for another great recipe! These were delicious! We added a little liquid smoke. Unfortunately, I don’t usually use dry beans so my lentils were a little too firm, but still loved them! I wonder if they would be as flavorful using canned lentils? Currently enjoying the leftover meatballs in a big salad! Definitely a new favorite!

    • Michelle Blackwood, RN
      November 2, 2020

      Viola, I’m happy you loved the flavor, more than likely the lentils needed to cook longer until tender by adding extra liquid. It all depends on the lentils. I haven’t tried it with canned lentils but they should be fine, just drain them first.

  13. Allison
    October 19, 2020

    I love these recipes.

    The Cashew Gravy and Lentil Ball were delicious.

  14. René Swart
    September 29, 2020

    This is definitely a winner recipe. I have doubled it as I like to freeze meals to help me with my busy schedule. I also chose to make a mushroom sauce which I did with vegetable broth. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    • Michelle Blackwood, RN
      September 29, 2020

      Rene, I’m so excited that you enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing your feedback. I no longer eat mushrooms but I’m sure it tastes good with the lentil meatballs.

    • Lekisha Hart
      November 28, 2020

      Hi ! I’m intrested in your mushroom sauce ! Sounds lovely

  15. Alicia
    September 21, 2020

    Made these for the first time tonight and loved it! Thank you:)

  16. Monica H.
    September 11, 2020

    I love this meatball recipe, even though mine don’t ever look quite like meatballs. Ha! I have abandoned trying to get a “ball” out of them and instead just spread them out and bake it like a thin loaf. The cashew sauce is so savory, but sometimes I just skip the sauce and make buddha bowls with the meatballs, hummus, veggies, and brown rice. I didn’t even realize how much I love lentils until this recipe. They are so tasty!

  17. Lutisha VanKauwenberg
    September 9, 2020

    Due to allergies, do you have another substitution for cashews and sunflower seeds? Thank you! Your site has been Divinely placed in my hands! We are new to the gluten free journey and you make it so delicious! We appreciate all you do!

    • Michelle Blackwood, RN
      September 9, 2020

      Lutisha, I’m so happy you found my website. All the best on your journey, are you on a nut-free and seed-free plan? I need to know so I can figure out recommendations.

      • Lutisha VanKauwenberg
        September 30, 2020

        We have thoroughly this recipe multiple times! I have tried tripling the recipe but my children keep devouring the lentils. My son is allergic to most nuts and some seeds (cashews, pistachios, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and cautious about adding new nuts/seeds to our diet). Thankfully he can have walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts. Thank you for any recommendations you may have!

  18. Michelle Blackwood, RN
    September 7, 2020

    Yes like someone suggested, use a marinara sauce instead.

  19. jordi
    September 5, 2020

    What type of lentils work best?

  20. Liv
    June 10, 2020

    Hi Michelle, looks absolutely delicious and I’m gonna try it asap! Could I just use actual soy sauce instead of the liquid aminos?
    Best wishes,

    • Michelle Blackwood, RN
      June 10, 2020

      Thank you Liv, absolutely, yes you can use regular soy sauce. Just make sure you check the seasoning since I used Bragg’s. I hope you enjoy it!

    • Karren
      July 11, 2020

      Excited to try your recipe! What can I substitute for flax seeds?

    • Toots
      January 17, 2021

      Liv, I used regular soy sauce and only used about 1 tablespoon instead of 3 in the sauce and it was perfect.