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Murielle Banackissa

Shiitake and Rice Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Sauce

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1 hour 15 mins Prep: 15 mins Cook: 45 mins Cooling Time: 15 mins
Serves 4

Savoury, rich, and meaty, these shiitake and rice meatballs a great meat free alternative to a beloved classic! They feature aromatic herbs like fresh basil and coriander and are made extra decadent when served with a homemade sweet and sour sauce.


Shiitake Meatballs

  • 3/4 cup USA grown brown Jasmine rice
  • 1 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp + 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion , diced
  • 350 g diced mushrooms (I used a mix of shiitake and button mushrooms)
  • 3 garlic cloves , minced
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/3 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/4 packed cup fresh coriander
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 jalapeño (seeds removed for less heat), diced
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp whole wheat flour

Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 2 1/2 tsp cornstarch

For Serving

  • USA grown basmati rice
  • Fresh coriander
  • Chili flakes

Prepare the Meatballs

  1. Step 1

    Add the Jasmine brown rice and vegetable broth to a medium-sized pot. Cover and bring to a boil.

  2. Step 2

    Reduce the heat to low and cook, covered, for 30 minutes.

  3. Step 3

    Remove from the heat and let sit with the lid on for 10 minutes. Fluff up with a fork and let cool while you prepare the rest of the meatball ingredients.

  4. Step 4

    Heat a large pan on medium heat.

  5. Step 5

    Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the diced onion. Cook until gold and the edges are starting to brown, about 5-8 minutes.

  6. Step 6

    Incorporate the diced mushrooms. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook until the mushrooms are brown around the edges and most of their moisture has evaporated, about 12 minutes.

  7. Step 7

    Sprinkle in minced garlic. Stir and cook for 1 minute.

  8. Step 8

    Pour in tamari and add black pepper. Cook for another minute.

  9. Step 9

    Remove from the heat and let cool for 15 minutes.

  10. Step 10

    To a food processor, add the hemp hearts, fresh coriander, basil, nutritional yeast, and jalapeño. Pulse until finely chopped.

  11. Step 11

    Add the cooked onion and mushroom mixture and pulse until the mushrooms are chopped into small pieces. Do not over process; you are not looking to create a paste.

  12. Step 12

    Transfer the mixture into a large bowl. Add in the cooked and cooled Jasmine brown rice and whole wheat flour.

  13. Step 13

    Stir using a silicone spatula.

  14. Step 14

    Form 16 meatballs of about 2 tablespoons using your hands and place them onto a plate. If you find that your hands become sticky with the mixture, coat them with a little olive oil.

  15. Step 15

    Heat a large non stick pan with the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil on medium-low.

  16. Step 16

    Once hot, drop half of the meatballs into the pan and cook until brown then turn and repeat until they are brown all around. Remove from the pan and place on a paper towel-lined plate.

  17. Step 17

    Repeat the process with the remaining meatballs.

Prepare the Sweet and Sour Sauce

  1. Step 1

    Add all sauce ingredients into a saucepan except the cornstarch. Stir.

  2. Step 2

    To a small bowl, add cornstarch along with 3 tablespoons of the sauce (from the saucepan). Stir until smooth.

  3. Step 3

    Bring the sauce in the saucepan to a boil.

  4. Step 4

    Give the cornstarch slurry a stir to ensure it is homogeneous then pour it into the saucepan with the rest of the sauce.

  5. Step 5

    Cook for 1-2 minutes or until thickened, whisking regularly.


  1. Step 1

    Serve the meatballs on a bed of basmati rice along with the sweet and sour sauce. Garnish with coriander and chili flakes. Enjoy!

Common Questions & Swaps

The cooking time is based on the mushroom mixture being prepared while the rice is cooking for 30 minutes.

  • Can I use another type of brown rice instead of the suggested Jasmine? Yes, you can use short grain brown rice instead.

  • Can I use other kinds of mushrooms? Yes, use any variety you like as long as you have 350g of them.

  • Can I bake these meatballs? You can at 400ºF for 25 minutes, flipping them halfway through. Note that the texture of them will be a little less soft than if you decide to pan fry them.

  • Can I use another flour instead of the suggested whole wheat? Yes, oat flour would work great here.

  • Can I use another nut or seed instead of hemp hearts? Yes, pepitas would be a great substitution in this recipe.

Shiitake and Rice Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Sauce
USA Rice Closeup
Shiitake and Rice Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Sauce
Shiitake and Rice Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Sauce

This recipe was created in the context of an Instagram partnership with USA Rice.


How has it been 7 months since I shared a recipe on my blog?! It truly feels like this summer flew right by!

Of course a big part of that is because, after submitting my very first cookbook manuscript in May (yay!), I had to take a little while to get my creative juice flowing again. I had to figure out who I was outside of that big project, as a photographer, a blogger, a recipe developer.

I frankly had very little desire to cook throughout the summer and most of my meals consisted of cast iron grilled veggies, rice, and tofu. However… Things are changing now. As we are entering the fall season, I am feeling my creativity reawakening. I have so many recipe ideas floating in my head (and on Notion!) and I cannot wait to bring them to life in the next couple of months.

This one, I promise, is the first of many.


When it comes to the ingredients used in this recipe, below are the ones I used. For any modifications, refer to the Swaps & Comments section.

USA grown brown Jasmine rice: Fragrant, versatile, and tender, this rice was chosen to add flavor and texture to the meatballs. It is nice and chewy as well as high in protein.

Yellow onion: Sweet when cooked right, the yellow onion in this recipe adds subtle sweetness and richness to the meatballs.

Mushrooms: I used a mixture of shiitake and button mushrooms for this recipe. They both add moisture and a wonderful chewy texture to the meatballs. The shiitakes are really the star. Their lovely earthy, smokey, slightly garlicky texture comes out when cooked alongside the onions.

Tamari: The tamari in this recipe is the only added salty element. It rounds up all the flavors together and brings out the umami notes of the mushrooms.

Hemp hearts: Their slightly sweet, nutty flavor and buttery texture add richness to the meatballs.

Fresh basil and coriander: The fresh herbs in this recipe brighten up the earthy flavors of the meatballs.

Fresh jalapeño: It adds a strong kick to these meatballs especially if the seeds are not removed.


Pineapple juice: The base of the sweet and sour sauce. It is both sweet and tangy and extremely aromatic.

Maple syrup: I chose to add extra sweetness with the sauce with maple syrup because of its caramel flavor that works well with the meatballs.

Lime juice: Bright and tangy, it brightens ups the sweet and sour sauce.

Rice vinegar: Another tangy element that adds a kick to the sauce.

Tamari: With all the sweetness and acidity in this sauce, a kick of savoury and saltiness helps round up all the flavors nicely.

Ketchup: The ketchup in this sauce helps the color be a little more appealing, giving it a nice reddish hue.

Cornstarch: The thickening agent that allows the sauce to hold together and not be totally runny.

Shiitake and Rice Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Sauce glazed on top

Well, I still cannot believe it took me this long to share a new blog post, but I think the wait was so worth it.

I am not only extremely proud of this recipe because it is an ode to my mom (and because it is quite tasty!), but also because of the photographs that I really think do it justice.

If you end up making this recipe, don’t hesitate to share about it on Instagram, make sure to tag me (@muriellebanackissa).

Have a wonderful week my friends!