My mom created the most delicious vegan meatballs! I almost spit out the first bite I took because I thought she was playing a horribly mean joke on me, they tasted so meaty! The original recipe uses eggs and parmesan cheese. To veganize the recipe we used a “chia egg” instead and omitted the cheese. To make them gluten-free, use gluten-free breadcrumbs and gluten-free pasta. You can use store-bought marinara sauce or make your own. This recipe is a bit involved, as you need to prepare the ingredients and let them sit over night. It’s worth the wait…trust me. Recipe and photos contributed by Cristina Cavanaugh, from Begin Within Nutrition.
Makes: 14 to 16 meatless meatballs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound fresh white mushrooms, very finely chopped (around 6 cups)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup finely chopped onion
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup quick-cooking oats
- ½ cup bread crumbs
- ¼ cup flat-leaf (Italian) parsley, chopped
- 2 “chia eggs” (2 tablespoons chia or ground flax seeds mixed
with 6 tablespoons water, set aside for a few minutes so gel can form)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ⅛ – ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 4 cups of marinara sauce
- Pasta of your choice
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and season with salt. Cook until golden brown and all liquid has been evaporated.
Add chopped onion and cook until onion is translucent. Add garlic, stir and cook until fragrant. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl.
Mix in oats (cheese if desired), bread crumbs, parsley, “eggs,” sea salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and oregano. Mix well until combined. If pressed, mixture should hold together.
Cover bowl and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Measure out 2 tablespoons of mixture and roll into balls. Place on lined baking sheet. Bake until meatballs are lightly golden brown, around 12 to 15 minutes depending on your oven.
Bring marinara sauce to a boil in a large saucepan; reduce heat to low. Gently stir meatballs into sauce until coated. Simmer meatballs in sauce until cooked through, 45 minutes to 1 hour (this step is really important…don’t skip!).
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package.
Once the meatless meatballs have cooked, serve them along with the sauce over cooked pasta.
- Make sure you chop the mushrooms very, very fine.
- Don’t skip the cayenne pepper. You don’t need to add much, just a hint!
- Bake them until a little crispy on the bottom for a more savory flavor.
- Make a double batch for feeding a bigger crowd, as they disappear quickly.
- See more recipes for Hearty Pasta Dishes.