Pumpkin Seed Meatballs

Recipe from Simply Plants by Dreena Burton
These are very fast to prepare if you have leftover brown rice or quinoa, and if you have some prepared roasted red peppers on hand. The flavors might remind you of pizza!
These meatballs are:
– versatile
– comforting
– flavourful
If you love these meatballs, try our 5-minute cashew alfredo sauce next. You can also subscribe to PlantUniversity to receive a plant-based recipe in your inbox each week. Adding more plant-based foods into your routine helps animals, your health, and the planet!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Servings 12
Calories 230.9 kcal


  • 3 cups precooked/cooled brown rice (or 1 cup, packed, precooked/cooled quinoa)
  • 3 cups roasted pumpkin seeds (reserving about 1/4 cup, and see note)
  • 1 1/2 cups (packed) roasted red peppers (can use jarred, just drain)
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup sliced green onions (green portion and some of whiter portion)
  • 4 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 3 medium sized cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp backstrap molasses (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats


  • In a large food processor, add all ingredients except oats and using 2 3/4 cups of pumpkin seeds (and reserving the remaining 1/4 cup). Puree until well combined, scraping down the bowl as needed.  
  • Add oats and pulse through several times to incorporate.
  • Add the reserved 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds, and pulse in again, just to slightly incorporate but keep some texture.
  • If possible, refrigerate for about an hour.
  • When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375°F. Take scoops of mixture (about 1–1 tbsp; should yield 54-60 meatballs), and place on 2-3 baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake for 18–20 minutes, until golden or just firm to the touch (do not over-bake, they will dry out).
  • Remove and serve with pasta and tomato sauce, or with rice and sauce of choice.


Pumpkin Seed Note:
You can toast up the pumpkin seeds yourself, or purchase them roasted. To roast yourself, use raw pumpkin seeds and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 400 degrees for about 7-9 minutes, stirring once and watching closely – they turn from golden to burned quickly. If using store-bought, many brands are salted when roasted. If so, reduce the salt in the ingredients to just about 1 teaspoon.
Switch Things Up!:
Instead of forming ball, shape into patties for burgers. Bake on parchment-lined baking sheet at 400 degrees about 20 minutes, turning patties once halfway through baking.
Serving Suggestions: 
  • Serve with a whole-grain pasta of choice. For gluten-free choices, opt for brown rice pasta, or a legume-based pasta (red lentil or chickpea). You can also serve these over veggie noodles like zucchini pasta. 
  • Try as “meatball subs”, filling hot dog or sub buns with the poppers, and veggies you love, and a warm marinara sauce. 
  • Have leftovers? Crumble over a big salad bowl! Or, flatten and use as a filling for school/work sandwiches. 
  • Snack/Topping idea: Shape the balls smaller (baking for less time), and use poppers as mini-bites for dipping, or as toppers for pizza or soup.


Calories: 230.9kcalCarbohydrates: 22.6gProtein: 9.7gFat: 12.6gSaturated Fat: 2.2gSodium: 323mgPotassium: 337.1mgFiber: 3.5gSugar: 2.6gCalcium: 36.4mgIron: 2.9mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!