Chimichurri Meatball Grain Bowls

These Chimichurri Meatball Grain Bowls are a great high in plant-based protein addition to any meal or ingredient prep you’re planning.

Bowl of white bean spread topped with chimichurri greens and quinoa, chimichurri meatballs and a lemon wedge.

In case you missed it, I shared a week of ingredient prepped meals! I provided the ingredient list, the meals that would be made, plus some tips to get the initial components ready. Grab the guide here!

If you’re following along, this is recipe 1, in our ingredient prep series for the week. Feel free to jump around to different recipes as we continue and don’t forget to grab a copy of this week’s ingredient prep right here! And here are the other recipes for this week.

Why You’ll Love Chimichurri Meatball Grain Bowls

  • Made using the ingredient prep method. Prep the ingredients ahead of time, but maintain more freedom with your meal preparation using ingredient prep. This will help you gain more time back over the course of the week.
  • When ingredients are prepped in advance, this meal can be ready in 15 minutes. Reheat the meatballs while you mix the quinoa, chimichurri and greens together. Then it’s a matter of plating.
  • Packed with protein! Between the meatballs, quinoa, and white bean spread, you get up to 30 grams of protein per serving, which makes this meal so much more satisfying.
Kitchen surface of kale, romaine lettuce, canned chickpeas, herbs, broccoli, jalapeno, potatoes, onions, and citrus fruit ready for ingredient prep.

Key Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Plant-Based Minced: For reference, I used Beyond Meat’s new plant-based minced made with avocado oil. But, truthfully, use what mince you prefer best. And if you don’t have access to a plant-based mince, try using some ground tofu instead (see information in FAQ).
  • Chimichurri Sauce: This is a mix of minced parsley, oregano, pepper, lemon, red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. A delicious condiment great for these meatballs, but a great way to bump up flavors in different meals.
  • Quinoa: I cooked some up for this meal prep, but feel free to use a convenient option like frozen quinoa to save a step in cooking from scratch. You can also replace with other grains like barley, couscous, rice, or even farro.
  • Shallot: Feel free to use minced red onion as an alternative.
  • Breadcrumbs: I used panko breadcrumbs, but any fine breadcrumbs you use can work.
  • Greens of choice: I prepped some kale and Romaine lettuce to use for the week, but feel free to swap for any of your favorite greens.
  • White Bean Spread: A hummus adjacent recipe that is a fun way to add more flavor and protein. If you need something easier, feel free to use a pre-made hummus or bean spread you love.

How to Make Chimichurri Meatball Grain Bowls

Prep in Advance

Finely mince your parsley and cilantro leaves with a knife. To a large mixing bowl combine the minced herbs, chilies, crushed garlic, oregano, vinegar, oil, lemon and salt. Mix well, taste and adjust seasonings and oil for the chimichurri to preference. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

To a large mixing bowl add the plant-based grounds, breadcrumbs, zest, garlic, shallot, chimichurri, oregano and salt. Using clean hands, knead the mixture together until evenly mixed. Add a small drop of oil to your hands and rub to coat then grab a large cookie scoop to measure out 3 tbsp of the mixture into your hands. Shape the mix into smooth balls and place on a parchment lined tray. Repeat with the remaining mixture to make 12 meatballs.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. When the oil is hot add the meatballs to the pan and allow to cook undisturbed for 5 minutes. Flip the meatball over and sear undisturbed again for 5 minutes. Remove the meatballs from the pan and allow to cool on the baking tray. Place in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Make the Bowl

When ready to build the bowl, preheat the oven to 400F. Place the meatballs on a parchment lined baking tray and place in the oven to bake for 8-10 minutes or until warmed through.

Meanwhile, add the kale to a bowl and top with the chimichurri and a pinch of salt. Use your hands to rub the sauce into the greens until they soften. Add the lettuce and quinoa then stir well until evenly mixed.

To each serving bowl add 2 spoons or more of the white bean spread. Portion out the grain salad then top with 2-3 meatballs. Top the meatballs with additional chimichurri as desired then serve with lemon wedges and enjoy.

Close up of a bowl of chimichurri meatballs on top of chimichurri quinoa and greens over a white bean spread and served with a lemon wedge.

Expert Tips

  • Adjust seasoning to your liking. I seasoned each component to my own taste, which is why I encourage you to adjust the flavors based on your own preference because everyone is different. If your chimichurri feels a little flat, adjust with more salt or vinegar to get the right flavor balance.
  • If you find the mince is not holding together well, knead in some more breadcrumbs. You shouldn’t need more than 1-2 tbsp more breadcrumbs, so be mindful not to add too much at this step.
  • To adjust the taste of the minced plant-meat, mix the ingredients then take a small pinch and give it a quick pan sear first. Taste and see if it needs more salt or seasoning before pan-searing the rest.
  • Save even more time. Don’t want to shred the greens yourself? Just use some pre-chopped greens and store properly to preserve their life in the fridge. The best way to do this is to remove the shredded greens from the package and place them in an airtight container lined with a dry paper towel. Change out the paper towel if it gets too wet. The paper towel will help absorb moisture which will help keep your greens from getting soggy.
  • Change the setup. Don’t like quinoa? Just swap with a different grain you love like barley, farro or rice. Prefer other greens to kale? Feel free to use arugula or baby spinach instead. Make the ingredient prep work best for you!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this without plant-based minced meat?

You can swap the plant-based grounds for some shredded tofu instead. I use 1, 16 ounce block of super firm tofu (comes in a vacuum sealed pouch, and are dense in texture so no pressing required – brands include Nasoya, Trader Joe’s, WildWood Foods, Hodo Foods,etc.). Shred then season the tofu with 1 tbsp tamari, 1 tbsp rice vinegar, 1 tsp smoked paprika, ½ tsp coriander, ½ tsp fennel seeds, and ½ tsp Better Than Bouillon Paste or 1⁄2 crumbled cube of vegan “beef” bouillon. Mix together until evenly combined as a mince then store in the fridge until ready to use. I would recommend baking them in the oven. Spray with oil, then bake at 425F for 25 minutes, flipping half way.

How do I make this gluten-free?

Sub the regular panko breadcrumbs with fine gluten-free breadcrumbs and also make sure your tamari is gluten-free.

How long do the meatballs last in the fridge?

Once initially pan-seared, you can store the cooled meatballs in the fridge for up to 4 days. When ready to eat, place on a baking tray to roast in the oven for a few minutes before enjoying.

Is it healthy to use plant-based minced meat?

Just like with any ingredient, context is so important. When used in meals packed with more plants like we have in this recipe, you get a lot of positive nutrition. You’re getting protein and this case also fiber from our plant-based meat, plus we’re pairing it with more nutrient dense ingredients like veggies and whole grains, which matches our plant plate method. Further, I used Beyond Meat’s new plant-based meat that uses avocado oil instead of coconut oil, which also helps improve the nutrition further since it cuts down the saturated fat. Ultimately, use the plant based substitute you vibe with most or try the tofu alternative listed above in the FAQ.

Close up of the chimichurri meatballs on top of a bed of chimichurri quinoa and greens.

How to Assemble

Add a generous spoonful of the white bean spread to the bottom of a plate (or add it on top, whichever you prefer) then top with the chimichurri quinoa salad then top with 2-3 meatballs. You can then add a little more chimichurri overtop the meatballs (used about a spoonful drizzled on top so I could have more chimichurri for the next recipe during the week).

More High Protein Plant-Based Recipes to Try

Close up of a bowl of chimichurri seasoned quinoa and greens topped with chimichurri meatballs and white bean spread and a lemon wedge.

If you tried this recipe or any other recipe on the blog, then let me know what you thought in the comments below! And if you loved it, don’t forget to rate it too. Feel free to follow on Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok for the latest nutrition tips and recipe videos.

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Bowl of white bean spread topped with chimichurri greens and quinoa, chimichurri meatballs and a lemon wedge.

Chimichurri Meatball Grain Bowls

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  • Author: Catherine Perez
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 34 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Argentina Inspired
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

These Chimichurri Meatball Grain Bowls are a great high in plant-based protein addition to any meal or ingredient prep you’re planning.


Ingredients

Scale

Chimichurri Prep

  • 1/2 cup parsley, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, or more parsley, stems removed
  • 3 cloves garlic, grated
  • 12 red chilies, minced or 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt or more to taste

Chimichurri Meatballs

  • 16 oz (1lb) plant-based minced meat (I used Beyond Meat’s Plant Based Grounds made with avocado oil)
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs (use gluten-free if needed)
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 tbsp chimichurri
  • 1 tbsp dry oregano
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil

From the weekly prep

  • 2 cups shredded kale
  • 1 tbsp chimichurri sauce plus more for serving
  • 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
  • Lemon White Bean Spread for serving
  • Lemon wedges for serving


Instructions

Prep in Advance

  1. Finely mince your parsley and cilantro leaves with a knife. To a large mixing bowl combine the minced herbs, chilies, crushed garlic, oregano, vinegar, oil, lemon and salt. Mix well, taste and adjust seasonings and oil for the chimichurri to preference. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  2. To a large mixing bowl add the plant-based grounds, breadcrumbs, zest, garlic, shallot, chimichurri, oregano and salt. Using clean hands, knead the mixture together until evenly mixed. Add a small drop of oil to your hands and rub to coat then grab a large cookie scoop to measure out 3 tbsp of the mixture into your hands. Shape the mix into smooth balls and place on a parchment lined tray. Repeat with the remaining mixture to make 12 meatballs.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium low heat. When the oil is hot add the meatballs to the pan and allow to cook undisturbed for 5 minutes. Flip the meatball over and sear undisturbed again for 5 minutes. Remove the meatballs from the pan and allow to cool on the baking tray. Place in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Make the Bowl

  1. When ready to build the bowl, preheat the oven to 400F. Place the meatballs on a parchment lined baking tray and place in the oven to bake for 8-10 minutes or until warmed through.
  2. Meanwhile, add the kale to a bowl and top with the chimichurri and a pinch of salt. Use your hands to rub the sauce into the greens until they soften. Add the lettuce and quinoa then stir well until evenly mixed.
  3. To each serving bowl add 2 spoons or more of the white bean spread. Portion out the grain salad then top with 2-3 meatballs. Top the meatballs with additional chimichurri as desired then serve with lemon wedges and enjoy.


Notes

Adjust seasoning to your liking. I seasoned each component to my own taste, which is why I encourage you to adjust the flavors based on your own preference because everyone is different. If your chimichurri feels a little flat, adjust with more salt or vinegar to get the right flavor balance.

If you find the mince is not holding together well, knead in some more breadcrumbs. You shouldn’t need more than 1-2 tbsp more breadcrumbs, so be mindful not to add too much at this step.

To adjust the taste of the minced plant-meat, mix the ingredients then take a small pinch and give it a quick pan sear first. Taste and see if it needs more salt or seasoning before pan-searing the rest.

Save even more time. Don’t want to shred the greens yourself? Just use some pre-chopped greens and store properly to preserve their life in the fridge. The best way to do this is to remove the shredded greens from the package and place them in an airtight container lined with a dry paper towel.

Change out the paper towel if it gets too wet. The paper towel will help absorb moisture which will help keep your greens from getting soggy.

Change the setup. Don’t like quinoa? Just swap with a different grain you love like barley, farro or rice. Prefer other greens to kale? Feel free to use arugula or baby spinach instead. Make the ingredient prep work best for you!

This post contains affiliate links which means I will make a small commission if you purchase from those links. I only recommend and share products that I know, trust and personally use myself!

One Comment

  1. madam, you have done it again!! this was so good! a great mix of fresh foods and protein. i also used the new beyond made with avocado oil and i really liked it!

    i haven’t meal/ingredient prepped in years, but this has been an enjoyable way to mix the week up 🙂






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