Easy to Make Vegan Teriyaki Meatballs

Kalua pig and cabbage.

Spam musubi.

Chicken katus with Mac salad.

I grew eating all of these local Hawaiian delicacies.  So delicious. So good.

I have many fond memories of my mother frying up spam in a sugar-shoyu sauce so I could have the salty luncheon meat for breakfast.  I also remember biting into a teriyaki hamburger patty from Grace’s, the sticky sauce light on my tongue.

Local food from Hawaii is timeless.  Ono.  One-of-a-kind.

But as a vegan, I’d say pretty much every local dish I grew up eating (except for shave ice) is pretty much a non-negotiable now.  I’m fine with not ever chewing on butterfish or meat jun, but my kids? Well, sadly, they won’t have the same experiences at Zippy’s and L&L that I had.

Or won’t they???

In my quest to get more adept in the kitchen (you can probably tell I am on a roll considering my last two posts are all related to food!), I am attempting to veganize some of my local food favorites.  I want my kiddos to have the same food experiences I had, and but since my daughter is a vegetarian and my son eats whatever the family does, I have to get a bit creative in being able to share with them all the delicious food the islands have to offer.  First up?  Teriyaki meatballs.

I remember one of my favorite school lunches was meatballs–the chewy consistency of the little spheres covered in a sweet teriyaki sauce served with a scoop of rice was a meal I looked forward to.  Why?  Well, I loved (and still do love) all things paired with rice.  And the fact that the meatballs were the perfect size to pop in my mouth and devour in 2-3 bites made the lunch that much more appetizing.  And don’t get me started on teriyaki sauce.  Some days I’d just chow down on a scoop of rice and sauce.  Seriously.

So, operation “Veganize Local Food” begins…with Teriyaki Meatballs first on the list!  Rather than use ground beef or turkey for the dish, I substituted rehydrated TVP.  Perfecto!  The true test was that even my four-year-old son devoured all of the food at dinner….and those of you with toddlers know, if a preschooler cleans his plate, that means the meal MUST be a winner.  😉

Cooking up some vegan meatballs!

TVP Meatballs:

Ingredients for meatballs:

1 cup TVP (dehydrated)

1 cup vegetable broth

Sprinkling of Italian seasoning and Garlic and Herb seasoning (enough for your taste)

1 TBSP Braggs Liquid Aminos

2 TBSP nutritional yeast

1/4 cup Ener-G breadcrumbs and whole wheat flour (I started with 1/4 cup breadcrumbs but added some whole wheat flour until the mixture became dough-y)


Ingredients for teriyaki sauce:

1/3 cup Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

1/4 cup sugar (taste test this to see if you want to include more sugar…I initially used 1/4 cup but added a pinch more sugar thereafter because the sauce was still a bit too salty for my taste)



Boil the vegetable broth then soak the dehydrated TVP in the liquid.

Combine rehydrated TVP and Italian and Garlic and Herb seasoning (I get this seasoning from Target). Mix together.

Add in the Bragg’s and nutritional yeast.  Mix together.

Add in the breadcrumbs and mix together–if the mixture is not dough-y enough, add in some flour (I used whole wheat, but you could probably use any other type of flour as a binder)

Roll the dough into balls and lay on a baking pan.

Mix together the teriyaki sauce ingredients and spoon the sauce on each meatball to let the taste soak in.

Bake the meatballs for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees or cook/fry/sautee on the stovetop (I started by baking mine, but then my oven malfunctioned and I ended up having to fry the meatballs).

Pour additional teriyaki sauce on to of finished dish, and tah-dah!  An easy local vegan dish!


What are some of your favorite local food dishes?  I would love to try veganizing more of the islands’ signature meals!  Comment below!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s