Vegan Indian “Meatballs” with Coconut Curry Sauce and Lemon-Scented Basmati Rice


The Snackable Recipe Contest with Over $3500 in Cash Prizes! Show us your Sweet, Savory & Sippable Dairy-Free Recipes!This elaborate vegan Indian “meatballs” dish is really three delicious recipes in one. All together, it makes a dazzling appetizer or comforting meal, but can certainly be enjoyed as a snack, too, and has great make-ahead potential – particularly the “meatballs” themselves. The recipe is a Savory entry in the BIG Snackable Recipe Contest (over $3500 in cash prizes available!) submitted by Michael Watz.

The contest is a celebration of our new FREE Snackable eBook with delicious, original Sweet, Savory and Sippable Dairy-Free Recipes. Download and enjoy it now via PDF, iTunes, Kindle, Kobo or Google Play:

Veggie-Loaded Vegan Indian “Meatballs” with Coconut Curry Sauce and Lemon-Scented Basmati Rice Recipe - yes, it's three flavorful dairy-free recipes in one!To qualify for the contest, this recipe for vegan Indian “meatballs” with coconut curry sauce uses Culinary Coconut MIlk from So Delicious Dairy Free.

Special Diet Notes: Vegan Indian “Meatballs”

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, vegan / plant-based, and vegetarian.

For soy-free vegan Indian “meatballs”, use a soy-free, high-heat oil, such as non-GMO canola, avocado, or safflower oil. Vegetable oil often contains soybean oil.

Vegan Indian “Meatballs” with Coconut Curry Sauce and Lemon-Scented Basmati Rice
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8 servings
Vegan Indian “Meatballs”
  • 1½ lbs zucchini
  • 4 ounces carrots, peeled
  • 2 ounces red bell pepper
  • 2 ounces yellow bell pepper
  • ¼ cup diagonally thinly sliced green onions
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 8 ounces red onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoons seeded and finely chopped jalapeno
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups vegetable oil
Coconut Curry Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 ounces red onions, diced small
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander seeds
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups So Delicious Original Culinary Coconut Milk
  • 6 ounces Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely diced
  • 1½ tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Lemon-Scented Basmati Rice
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced shallots
  • ½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2⅔ cups water
  • 1½ cups basmati rice
  • 2 4x1-inch strips fresh lemon zest / peel
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
To Serve
  • 8 lime wedges
  • 8 fresh cilantro sprigs
To make the Vegan Indian "Meatballs"
  1. Grate the zucchini, carrots, and bell peppers using the coarse side of a box grater (or with a food processor). Place the vegetables into a fine mesh strainer held over a mixing bowl to allow the excess moisture to drain. Drain the vegetables for at least 30 minutes. Reserve the vegetable liquid for use in preparing the Coconut Curry Sauce.
  2. In small quantities place the vegetables into tea towels and wring out all excess liquid.
  3. Place the prepared vegetables into a mixing bowl and gently stir with the green onions, cilantro, red onion, jalapeno, ginger, salt, Old Bay, black pepper, and cumin. Gently stir in the flour, adding just a bit more if the mixture seems to loose.
  4. Portion the vegetable mixture into 32 meatballs, lightly roll into a sphere shape. Place the vegan meatballs onto a parchment lined baking tray. Cover the baking tray with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to allow the vegan meatballs to become firm.
  5. Heat a sauce pot with the vegetable oil to 350ºF. In small batches, fry the vegan meatballs until golden brown; carefully remove the meatballs from the deep fryer and place onto an absorbent paper lined tray. Reserve in a warm area while cooking the remaining meatballs.
To make the Coconut Curry Sauce
  1. Heat a sauce pot with the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the red onions and shallots and cook until just fragrant and have not browned, approximately 30 seconds. Add the ginger, coriander, cumin, garlic, turmeric and cayenne and cook for about 1 minute while gently stirring with a wooden spoon.
  2. Stir in the coconut milk, tomatoes, and lime juice, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Add 2 cups of the reserved liquid from the strained vegetables and continue to simmer for 20 - 30 minutes or until the sauce has reduced to a medium consistency.
  4. Add the cilantro, garam masala, and salt and simmer for 2 minutes.
To make the Lemongrass Scented Basmati Rice
  1. Heat a sauce pot with the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and ginger and cook for 30 seconds, or just until fragrant. Stir in the water, rice, lemon zest, salt and cumin. Tightly cover the pot with a lid, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for approximately 15 to 18 minutes or until the rice is fully cooked.
  2. Remove the pot from the stove and lightly fluff the rice with a fork. Lightly cover and set in a warm area to rest for 5 minutes.
To Serve
  1. Evenly ladel the Coconut Curry Sauce into 8 warm decorative serving bowls.
  2. Place a cup of the Lemongrass Scented Basmati Rice in the center of each bowl.
  3. Symmetrically arrange 4 Vegan Indian "Meatballs" around the perimeter of each serving of rice. Garnish each serving with a wedge of lime and a sprig of cilantro.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Senior Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


  1. Oh, this sounds so incredibly delicious, Alisa! I love Indian food and I’ll definitely have to try this! Thanks for the great recipe! 🙂

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