Cheesy Meatless Meatballs with Marinara Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Cheesy Meatless Meatballs with Marinara

4 reviews / 4.8 average

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Welcome fellow food lovers! If you like cheese, read on.

Meatless Meatballs are my new favorite thing. Along with baby pugs (but that's nothing new), fall boots, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, and Prison Break. I'm usually about 5 years behind on these things.

But the meatless meatballs? Unless people have been making tons of meatless meatballs and I missed it, I don't feel like I'm 5 years behind on this one. I kind of feel cutting edge.

Meatless Meatballs with lentils and wild rice, and topped with marinara sauce and melted cheese.

Let me just say that I have nothing against traditional meat meatballs. One of my things to make this winter is 100% meaty Swedish Meatballs and I already can't wait.

But sometimes I just don't like to eat so much meat.

Cheese? That's another story.

So this is a meatless alternative that can be covered with melted cheese and can even be veganized (which would be unfortunate because you would need to get rid of the cheese, so... don't do that). The results were delicious. I loved the semi-crunchy but softened texture of these after they were warmed up in tomato sauce. And you already know how I feel about the cheese part.

Meatless Meatballs with lentils and wild rice, and topped with marinara sauce and melted cheese on a fork.
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A picture of <span class="fn">Cheesy Meatless Meatballs

Cheesy Meatless Meatballs


These Meatless Meatballs are made with lentils and wild rice, and topped with marinara sauce and melted cheese. Great, healthy dinner!


  • 1 bag prepared brown and wild rice, such as Uncle Ben's (about 2 cups cooked)
  • 1 cup cooked lentils
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons seasoned breadcrumbs
  • olive oil
  • marinara or tomato sauce
  • cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix rice and lentils in a bowl with the garlic and cumin. Add the flour and breadcrumbs. The mixture will be crumbly.
  3. Fill a bowl with warm water. Dip your hands in the water; with wet hands, form the crumbly mixture into small egg shaped balls. Add a few drops of oil or water to each meatball as you shape it to help it stick together. Place meatballs on a baking sheet and top each with a knob of oil.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes, turning and adding more drizzles of oil as necessary.
  5. When toasted on the outside and warmed through, remove from oven and place individual oven-safe bowls. Cover with tomato sauce and cheese and bake on high broil (or microwave) until heated through and cheese is melted.


The meatballs will be firm and crispy on the outside when you take them out of the oven. This is OK because they will soften (but not get too soggy) as they are heated with the tomato sauce. To soften them even more, add a tablespoon or two of water in with the tomato sauce as you heat them.

  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: meatless meatballs, lentil meatballs, wild rice meatballs

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    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Bjork was a tad skeptical but he tried them and gave them the thumbs up! Thanks to the cheese…

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      These actually sort of reminded me of your bean burgers! Although the texture is definitely different.

  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Are you kidding me?! These are making my mouth water and it’s 12:31 a.m.! 🙂

    So yummy, Lindsay! Another job well done!

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    What a delicious looking recipe. Great pictures. We are celebrating our first anniversary today and we are so excited to have our first give away. Come over and visit and check it out.

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    And with lentils, wonderful!

    When a picture can make me salivate, I know it’s GOT to be good, great job!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Anything with melted cheese oozing out the sides is pretty easy to make into a good picture. 🙂

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    …I hate to be the bearer of bad news… but… Italian cuisine has something called Aracini, which are essentially rice & cheese balls. 🙁

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    I made these for dinner tonight. They tasted good with the sauce I made with the pasta. My only beef was as soon as they sat in the sauce for 5 minutes they fell apart. One child at them and one wouldn’t touch them. My husband said they tasted like meat but I’m sure it’s because they were soaked in sausage sauce. =) Thanks for the recipe. It certainly was a nice change of the norm around here.

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    you talk about cheese like I talk about cheese. these sound awesome, since I’m always looking for new vehicles to carry cheese to my mouth! yum

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Just found this recipe and I’m SO excited. My family’s meatless meatball recipe has a lot of nuts in it, so this looks like a nice lower fat option… until I add the cheese 🙂

    Is it weird we have a meatless family recipe? I don’t think I’ve ever even had a meaty meatball in my life.

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    I made these today with few modifications. They are delicious. I am not going with the red sauce and using a yogurt dip instead. I’ll be posting this soon. Thank you for the inspiration. Have a great day!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    Im a recipe kinda gal. So, is the the cheese amount a personal preference amount? And, is there a gluten-free crumb substitute that youhave tried?

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    I always do my veggie balls in muffin tins and turn during cooking, I don’t drop any off the tray anymore!

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    We don’t top these with cheese. Not right away, anyway. Into the sauce they go to get nice and hot and softened. Then into a hoagie bun and THEN along comes the cheese. Those get broiled till the cheese (provolone) gets malted and slightly browned.