Meatless Pasta Balls

Meatless Pasta Balls

I have tried many different recipes for meatless meatballs. Most were failures; mainly because the consistency was not strong enough to withstand being mixed in with the sauce. This one is an exception! The consistency in this recipe is very close to regular meatballs. Plan ahead, though; it's best to let this mix sit overnight and bake the next day. Double the batch and freeze some for later!

Ingredients

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pungent onion
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 ounce* very finely shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 cups marinara
  • 1 TBSP very finely shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 TBSP chopped Italian parsley

Directions:

1. Mince or press garlic and set aside.

2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms to the oil and sprinkle with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid from mushrooms have evaporated. Stir in butter and reduce heat to medium. Cook until mushrooms are golden brown, about 5 minutes.

3. Stir onion into mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat, add pressed/minced garlic, stirring until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl.

4. Mix oats into mushroom mixture until thoroughly combined. Gently stir 1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese into mixture. Add bread crumbs, 1/4 cup parsley, and egg; season with salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and oregano. Mix together with a fork until crumbly. Mixture should hold together when pressed. If mixture is too dry, you may add another egg.

5. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight for best flavor and texture.

6. Preheat oven to 450º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

7. Form mixture into small meatballs using 2-TBSP scoop. Roll meatballs lightly between your hands until smooth. Arrange meatballs on a prepared baking sheet.

8. Bake until meatballs are lightly golden brown, 12-15 minutes.

9. Bring pasta sauce to a boil in a large saucepan; reduce heat to low. Gently stir meatballs into sauce until coated. Simmer meatballs in sauce. Transfer to a bowl and garnish with 1 TBSP cheese and 1 TBSP parsley.

*1 ounce equals about 1/4 cup, but using the weighted measurement works better with this recipe.

adapted from Allrecipes