Mushroom Quinoa Meatball Sandwiches


I’m guest posting today over at The Lean Green Bean, so hop on over there to check out Lindsay’s fabulous blog!


I’m such a sucker for a good {meatless} meatball sandwich. <— that somehow doesn’t sound right

Even back when I ate meat, meatball sandwiches were one of my all time favorite comfort foods. Tender, flavorful meatballs smothered in tangy tomato sauce, all sandwiched between two thick slices of Italian bread. Mmmmm this is the stuff from my dreams!

But now as a {mostly} vegetarian, I’m not at all into the processed “fake meat”, so those prepackaged meatless meatballs just don’t fit the bill in my house. I have to use alternatives to get my meatball fix on— my favorite way being a combination of meaty mushrooms with hearty quinoa. Aka what we’re making today!


Mushroom Quinoa Meatball Sandwiches {vegan, gf option} //

Mushroom Quinoa Meatball Sandwiches {vegan, gf option} //


I think the reason I like meatball sandwiches so much is because of, well, what they’re served ON. As many of you already know, I’m a bread FANATIC, and would seriously eat hunk upon hunk of crusty italian bread (dipped in olive oil and balsamic) ALL DAY LONG.

But alas, my body just cannot survive solely on enriched white flour, so I guess I just have to squeeze decadent meals like these into my weekend rotation. The good news is we’re pairing this luscious sourdough bread with all good-for-you ingredients, like quinoa, mushrooms, onions, basil, and tomatoes.

The result is a crispy, hearty, {almost} meat-like ball that literally melts in your mouth with each bite. These meatballs are also PACKED with flavor, thanks to that fresh basil, garlic, and red chili flakes, so you’re never left feeling unsatisfied.


Mushroom Quinoa Meatball Sandwiches {vegan, gf option} //

Mushroom Quinoa Meatball Sandwiches {vegan, gf option} //


Another great thing about this recipe is it’s an awesome make-ahead meal. I like to whip up a big batch of these “meat”balls on the weekends and throw them in the fridge for the week. We eat them on bread, with pasta, spaghetti squash, zoodles, or all by themselves (with lots of red sauce of course)! Oh, and a good glass of wine 😉

If you get a chance to try these meatballs, or any of my other recipes, send me a pic on snapchat (pumpkinandpb) or tag me on Instagram (@pumpkinandpb). It honestly makes my day to see your creations!

Have a beautiful rest of your week everyone!


Mushroom Quinoa Meatball Sandwiches {vegan, gf option} //

Mushroom Quinoa Meatball Sandwich

Serves 15 balls
Prep time 25 minutes
Cook time 20 minutes
Total time 45 minutes
Dietary Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Meal type Main Dish


  • ¾ cup of quinoa, dry (I used white, but any color will work)
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Medium yellow onion, diced
  • 8oz button mushrooms, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • bread of choice (I used sourdough)*
  • red sauce of choice (I used Trader Joe's brand)


Step 1
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Boil 1 1/2 cups water with 3/4 cup quinoa. Turn down to a simmer and cover for 15-20 minutes, or until quinoa is cooked and water is completely absorbed.
Step 2
In the meantime, drizzle 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet and add in diced yellow onion. Sauté for 5 minutes, then add in diced mushrooms. Saute for another 5 minutes, or until onions and mushrooms are cooked. Sprinkle in minced garlic and spices (except fresh basil), then cook for one additional minute. Remove from heat.
Step 3
Once the quinoa is cooked, pour it into the cooked onion and mushroom skillet. Add in 3 tbsp tomato paste and stir to coat everything. Finally stir in fresh basil and any additional salt and pepper desired. Form mixture into 1 1/2 in "meatballs" and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. This should make about 15 large balls 😉
Step 4
Bake quinoa balls for 20-25 minutes, or until crispy on the outside. When my meatballs were almost done, I brushed some olive oil onto my sourdough bread slices and threw them in the oven for 5-6 minutes to get crunchy and warm. I also heated up my sauce on the stove so I was ready to make my sandwiches right away!
Step 5
Layer 3-4 balls on one slice of bread, top with a generous amount of sauce and fresh basil, then add on your second slice of bread (or eat open face). Dig in!

Mushroom Quinoa Meatball Sandwiches {vegan, gf option} // pumpkin & peanut butter


Hi, I’m Liz and this is my food blog where I share my love of healthy foods and whole ingredients. You will find mostly vegetarian dishes, plenty of sweets, and lots of love from this little kitchen in Durham, North Carolina!


  1. As I said on your guest post, this is such a great recipe! Definitely making this for Jesse as I think it’s the one meatless meatball he’ll actually eat!

    • Aww thanks Kristy!! Hope you guys like it 🙂

  2. I love playing around with meatless meatballs!! There are so many different flavors to try! These sandwiches sound delicious – you’re making me ready to eat lunch!

    • Ohh me too!! It’s such a fun challenge making such stereotypical meat dishes without meat!

  3. I couldn’t agree more about not being a fan of the “fake” meat. I just don’t get it. But these meatballs sound AMAZING! All the meatless meatballs I’ve tried to make end up dry and not very good, but these look like absolute winners!!

    • Right?!? No fake meat here. You’ll have to let me know what you think, girl!

  4. This sandwich!! I’ve never really been a fan of meatball subs because of the meat in meatballs. But I love the sounds of this quinoa mushroom ball. Definitely my kind of meat ball. Looks fantastic!

    • Quinoa definitely trumps the real version. Hope you like them, Rebecca 🙂

    • Thanks Jessica!! Hope you and your kids enjoy them 🙂

    • Couldn’t agree more!! The more sauce, the better!

  5. I just made these last night and they came out great! I haven’t had a “meatball” sub in so long! I added a bit more red chili flakes to kick up the spice a bit. Quick note, your ingredient list doesn’t mention the tomato paste that you recommend using as the ‘binding agent’ in step 3.

    • Ohh thank you SO much for catching that! I’ll edit that right away.

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