Cocktail meatballs with a plant-based twist! If you want to make your plant-based “meat”balls from scratch, we have a recipe for that below! If you’re using your favorite store bought variety, you can skip the first part of this and head straight to the sauce preparation.
This recipe can be prepared 2 ways! We have the traditional finger-food crockpot cocktail meatballs and we also have a quick stovetop version perfect for a delicious and easy-to-prep entree for dinner.


For the “meat”balls

  • 2lbs of your favorite ground meat substitute (should make about 18 “meat”balls)
  • ¼ cup onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 tablespoons of unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of basil
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons of avocado oil
  • 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs

For the sauce

Optional Garnish

  • Fresh rosemary
  • Cranberry sauce
cowboy pinwheels


Form your “meat”balls

In a medium bowl, mix your breadcrumbs and avocado oil and set aside. In a large bowl, add your meat substitute, onion, garlic, apple sauce, thyme, basil, salt, and red pepper flakes. Mix ingredients well. Once mixed, add your breadcrumb mixture and continue to mix until everything is well combined. Set in the fridge for about 30 minutes to chill.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

While oven is preheating, line a large baking sheet (or two medium baking sheets) with parchment paper.

Remove your “meat”ball mix from the fridge and form your meatballs. If you’re using 2 lbs of meat substitute, you should be able to form about 18 meatballs. If you have a small icecream scoop, that’s what we like to use to get consistent sized meatballs.

Place on your baking sheets and then bake for 10-12 minutes.

You’re now ready to move on to the sauce preparation. The following two preparation methods require you to have pre-cooked meatballs.

For large batch in a crock pot
In a crock pot set to low heat, add your meatballs to the pot and pour in your entire 8oz bottle of Elda’s Kitchen Black Cherry BBQ Cooking & Grilling Sauce. Turn meatballs gently with a spoon to coat in the sauce. Add your black cherries and stir gently. Add a few tablespoons of black cherry juice from your canned black cherries. Let cook until heated through (the longer, the better to allow the flavors to combine). For these pre-cooked meatballs, we recommend cooking on low heat for at least 2.5 – 3 hours for maximum flavor.

For quick stovetop dinner
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of avocado oil. Slice your meatballs in half. Add your meatballs and stir to coat in oil. Let sit to crisp. After a few minutes, once the meatball halves are crisped on multiple sides, add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and stir to combine.

Once the brown sugar has dissolved, add your 8oz bottle of Elda’s Kitchen Black Cherry BBQ Cooking & Grilling Sauce. Stir to coat. Add your black cherries and stir. Then, add 1 cube of frozen fresh ginger (or 1 teaspoon of minced fresh ginger). Stir and let cook for a few minutes. Once meatballs have cooked through and the sauce has thickened and reduced, remove from heat. Serve with mashed potatoes or rice and enjoy!





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