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Cauliflower quinoa meatballs on a baking tray.

Baked Cauliflower Quinoa Meatballs (vegan)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 18 balls
Author: Tracy Halasz


  • food processor
  • air fryer (optional)


  • 1 head cauliflower, florets (5-6 cups)
  • 2 cups quinoa, cooked
  • 2 teaspoons dry oregano
  • 1 /2 teaspoon dry basil or Italian spice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1 ½ teaspoons red pepper flakes, more to taste
  • S&P to taste
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs (fresh or panko)
  • 1-3 tablespoons flour, all purpose or gluten-free
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

Sriracha Mayonnaise

  • ¼ cup Vegenaise
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha sauce, more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon soy sauce


  • Preheat the oven to 400º F.
    Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment or a reusable baking sheet.

Baked Cauliflower

  • Toss the cauliflower florets (approximately 5-6 cups) with 1 tablespoon of oil and the spices in a large bowl or on the baking sheet. Arrange on the baking sheet in a single layer.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, stir and return to oven for another 8-10 minutes until tender.
  • Transfer baked cauliflower to a food processor and pulse several times to rice it; but don't overprocess so it's mushy. Should be the size/texture of rice.

Make the Quinoa

  • Cook ¾ - 1 cup quinoa* in broth as per package instructions until light and fluffy.
  • Pro Tip: uncooked quinoa increases by roughly 2.5 - 3 times when cooked.

Cauliflower Quinoa Meatball Mixture

  • Place riced cauliflower, cooked quinoa, breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon of flour, 2 tablespoons sriracha mayo, and chopped basil-parsley in a large bowl. Mix until well incorporated. 
  • The mixture will be sticky and bind together when pressed. If not sticking together, add another tablespoon of flour - mix thoroughly.
  • Using your hands, gently squeeze to form 18-20* equal size balls. Place on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and roll the balls to lightly coat the meatballs.

Oven Baked Method

  • Bake for 12 minutes until golden.
  • Gently roll them to flip and cook for another 10 - 12 minutes. 
  • Let them cool before transfering from baking sheet.

Air Fryer Method

  • Spray air fryer basket with baking spray. Set to 350º F.
  • Place cauliflower balls in the air fryer basket without touching each other.
  • Fry for 15 minutes stopping after 10 minutes to gently shake the basket to flip the cauliflower balls.
  • Continue to fry for another 5-7 minutes until hot and crispy. Carefully remove from air fryer.

To Serve

  • The cauliflower balls firm up as they cool down. Serve with remaining sriracha mayo drizzle, with pasta, soup, salad or in sandwiches!


Spice Mix - swap the Italian spices and make Mexican, Greek, Asian, Thai, Indian or Buffalo spiced meatballs!
Binder - swap the sriracha mayo for 2-3 tablespoons of aquafaba (chickpea liquid) or vegan egg replacement.
Meatball Size - this recipe makes 18-20 golf ball size meatballs.  
Leftovers (fridge) - leftover, cooked cauliflower quinoa balls keep well in the fridge for 2 or 3 days.
Leftovers (freezer) - place any leftover cauliflower balls in an airtight bag or container in the freezer for several months.