These bean- and rice-based “meatballs” are easy to make, and you can prep them right up to the baking step a day ahead of time and stash them in the fridge until you’re ready to bake them. While they’re in the oven, prep the romaine leaves, mix up the cashew crumble topping, and heat the marinara so you’re ready to assemble as soon as the meatballs come out of the oven. To make this recipe gluten-free, use certified gluten-free oat flour and be sure the marinara sauce you buy is free of gluten.

By Darshana Thacker Wendel,


  • ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed) (about 4 to 5 halves)
  • 1 medium onion, diced (2 cups)
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, diced (3 cups)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained (1½ cups)
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
  • 2 tablespoons oat flour
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup raw cashews
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon white miso paste
  • 1½ cups purchased oil-free marinara sauce
  • 12 to 16 leaves romaine lettuce


  • In a small bowl, soak the sun-dried tomatoes in ½ cup hot water for at least 20 minutes. Drain and finely chop tomatoes.
  • In a nonstick skillet, combine the onion, mushrooms, garlic, sage, and ¼ cup water; cook on medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent vegetables from sticking to pan.
  • Add the sun-dried tomatoes, beans, rice, flaxseed meal, oat flour, and vinegar. Mix well, season with salt and pepper, and cook for 2 to 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Use a potato masher or large fork to mash the meatball mixture into a cohesive texture.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F; line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop out 2 tablespoons of mixture and shape into a meatball, and place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until you have 24 meatballs. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until nicely browned on top.
  • For cashew crumble topping, combine cashews, nutritional yeast, and miso in a mini food processor. Pulse to a crumble.
  • Using a 2½-inch cookie cutter, cut the romaine leaves into 24 rounds.
  • When ready to serve, warm the marinara sauce. Place each meatball on a romaine round, top with 1 tablespoon warm marinara, and sprinkle with cashew crumble. Serve right away.

Comments (12)

(4 from 3 votes)

Recipe Rating

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Followed the recipe exactly. Bad texture and the flavors don't meld. A lot of work for naught. Hopefully I'll find a way to add condiments or somehow pair this so I can eat and not throw away.

Cindi Hall

What can be substituted for miso paste?


If you're allergic to soy, you can buy chickpea miso on line. It is great and has the same taste profile as soy based miso.


What can I use in all the recipes that call for Miso (or tofu) if I have a soy allergy? Thanks in advance! I'm a total beginner.

Vicki Gay

Can you use chickpeas instead of white beans.


Will make, please add to the app!

Trina Thames


Carolyn Higgins

Do these freeze well?


Did you try freezing them? Did they turn out ok?

Chris David

These meatballs were quick, easy and amazing! I’m always searching for great MBs. Not sure if I’ll ever use another recipe again. Much appreciated


New to this so I have a few questions. I bake my own bread can I use my regular yeast? Not sure just what Miso is or what dept. I can find this in. I've read that brown rice is bad for Kidney patients and is worst than white, now what? Thank you again, it looks like a good recipe. I am trying to get more "plant" meals than chicken, pork.

Liz Turner

1. Nutritional yeast is different from regular yeast–it’s a flavor enhancer and a great sub for parmesan cheese. Read more about it <a href="">here</a>. 2. Miso is fermented soybean paste, a great source of savory flavor for sauces, soups, and other recipes. Look for it in the refrigerated produce section of your grocery store, near the salad dressings, dips, or tofu. 3. For plant-based meatballs made without rice, try <a href="">our Lentil Meatballs with Marinara </a> recipe.

About the Author

Headshot of Darshana Thacker

About the Author

Darshana Thacker Wendel

Darshana Thacker Wendel is a whole-food, plant-based chef and former culinary projects manager for Forks Over Knives. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, she is the author of Forks Over Knives: Flavor! She created the recipes for Forks Over Knives Family and was a lead recipe contributor to the New York Times bestseller The Forks Over Knives Plan. Her recipes have been published in The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook, Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, and LA Yoga magazine online. Visit and follow her on Instagram for more.
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