Mushroom & Quinoa Vegan Meatballs with a Rustic Pasta Sauce – and where would you rather be?

Vegan Mushroom & Quinoa Meatballs

There aren’t many things better than a big pot of meatballs and sauce to feed a crowd. Prepared in advance and called on as needed they are at once terribly simply and extraordinarily versatile.

Growing up, meatballs and stuffed shells were our standard Thanksgiving Eve meal. A simmering pot was ready and waiting for family who rolled into Philly at all hours of the day and evening, and anything remaining came out to sit alongside the Thanksgiving leftovers for Friday lunch.

Vegan Mushroom & Quinoa Meatballs

My mother made quite possibly the best meatballs in the world but over the years as my brother and I stopped eating meat, and he discovered a dairy allergy, meaty-meatballs and cheese-laden-shells were passed over in favour of huge fillets of salmon and piles of roasted veggies to feed the hordes.

Vegan Mushroom & Quinoa Meatballs

It was a perfect meal in it’s own right, but not quite the same as that bubbling pot of meatballs.

Now this is not the first time I’ve made over a traditionally meaty dish using mushrooms (Mushroom Burgers or Mushroom Bacon anyone?) but this may be one of my favourites…

Vegan Mushroom & Quinoa Meatballs

Not only does it open the door to reinventing an old family tradition and provide a perfect alternative for meat-heavy summer barbeque get-togethers, but you could you win a $10,000 holiday due to the 300g of mushrooms in the recipe … huh?!

Well, I am once again working with Australian Mushroom Growers and this year they are running a brilliant competition.

Power of Mushrooms - Mushroom Miles comp

By now you must know how good mushrooms are for your physical health — from providing vital Vitamin D, selenium and antioxidants, to lowering the risk of cancer, to keeping your heart healthy — but I’d hazard a guess that winning a holiday is pretty darn good for your mental health too.

A while back in a post-holiday fit of itchy feet, well before I even knew about this mushroom comp, I shared this pic over on Instagram and Facebook:

Where would you go? I'd be off Italy without a second thought... #travelbug

The comments exploded with everything from Portugal and Iceland to Paris and Alaska, and while my number one holiday dream right now is Sicily (followed by about a dozen more destinations in Italy) I would easily go to any one of the places mentioned by everyone else.

Ok, now the details on how you can win a holiday from Australian Mushroom Growers:

  1. Go buy some mushrooms! Buttons, cups, flats, Swiss browns or Portabellas are all game, make sure you get at least 200 grams between now and 9 February 2014.
  2. Visit the Power of Mushrooms ‘Where would you rather be?’ competition page and enter your receipt details. Then go stick the receipt to the side of the fridge, you’ll need it if you win.
  3. Cross your fingers and start planning your dream holiday over a mushroom feast.
  4. Repeat each time you go to the shop.

The weight of your mushroom purchase relates to what you can win and from a $5,000 holiday for 200g to a massive $20,000 for 400g the world could be your oyster — or more accurately, your mushroom.

Vegan Mushroom & Quinoa Meatballs

I mentioned previously that meatballs are at once terribly simply and extraordinarily versatile — the same could be said for the key ingredients in this vegan version.

Mushrooms of course, some quinoa, and a few handfuls of kale, mean these little non-meatballs pack a pretty good nutritional punch. The sauce is both fresh and rich with a secret burst of umami from dried mushrooms.

Vegan Mushroom & Quinoa Meatballs

Just like meaty-meatballs, Mushroom Quinoa Meatballs can be served over pasta or zucchini noodles, chopped up to top pizzas or — as I’ve done — arranged in a fresh roll as a meatball sub. Vegan, gluten-free and soy-free these versatile little bundles are not only suited to any occasion but any guest too.

If you could go anywhere tomorrow where would you go?


Vegan Mushroom & Quinoa Meatballs


I have been compensated by the Australian Mushroom Growers Association for the creation of this recipe. All opinions expressed – including the slight obsession with both mushrooms and holidays – are all mine.


  1. Chris says

    I know I am biased when it comes to mushrooms, but this is one great meal idea. Will definitely give it a go. Thanks for sharing the mushroom love.

  2. Brenda Hayes says

    Wonderful. ..with Lauren’s macademia nut substitute for cheese and your meatball creation, I’m back in business! Thanks

  3. Tasha Ockfen says

    We made the vegan meatballs last night and they were soooo good! We had about 20 left so we are freezing them for meals to come! Thanks for the amazing recipe!

  4. Ming says

    Quick question about the meatballs.. I couldn’t get mine to hold their shape. Is there anything that can be added to make sure it all stays together?
    Thanks :)

    • JJ says

      Hi Ming, You could add anything from more ground flaxseed to an egg to flour or breadcrumbs depending on your dietary preferences – but provide you stir the mixture regularly as it cools (as mentioned in the the method) it should be sticky enough to hold when squeezed into balls. Make sure your kale is finely shredded too. One other option is to blend part of the mixture to a paste, stir it back in and then form. Hope that helps! ~ JJ


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