Broccoli “Meat”balls- A Delicious Oxymoron

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | June 10th, 2021 | Appetizers, Recipes, Tapas Monday, Vegetarian

Broccoli “Meat”balls

Satisfying & good for you

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 22 mins

Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine vegetarian

Servings 2



  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese



  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • Steam broccoli until fork tender.
  • Allow broccoli to cool slightly, then purée in a blender or food processor.
  • Combine puréed broccoli and all remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Form broccoli mixture into balls about the size of a walnut.
  • Transfer broccoli balls to a baking sheet that has been coated with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Bake for 22 minutes.

Keyword broccoli, meatless meatballs, vegetarian appetizer, vegetarian entree

Although I’m not a vegetarian, I do love converting many meat-based dishes into vegetarian items. Sure, I enjoy a good burger, Caesar salad topped with chicken, and western omelet, but I also enjoy a meal that is centered around veggies. In fact, quite often at restaurants I’m more intrigued by their vegetable offerings than their meat dishes. Done right, you are treated to a dish that is hearty and full of flavor. Of course, these broccoli “meat”balls won’t trick you into thinking you’re eating meat, but they will show you how delicious and filling eating vegetarian can be.

To learn more about this recipe, originally published in January 2015, keep reading.

As I started typing the title of this recipe, I realized it sounds kind of funny to call this appetizer a meatball.  You see, there is no meat in this recipe.  I would say that it is a delight for  vegetarians, but my rather carnivorous husband enjoyed this dish just as much as I did.  Thus, what we have is a vegetarian appetizer that is bound to please almost everybody, which from here forward I shall call broccoli-balls.

These broccoli-balls have a fairly sturdy consistency, although I don’t know how well they would hold up in a pot of sauce. We ate them as an appetizer (yes, on a Tapas Monday), so they went right from the baking tray to a serving dish.  If you want to serve them with pasta and sauce, I would suggest keeping them separate. Simply garnish your pasta and sauce with as many broccoli-balls as you like.

We also found them to be quite enjoyable on their own.  So, if you’re feeling like trying something new, I’d suggest giving them a try.  You might surprise yourself when you discover you don’t really miss the meat at all.

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