Tonight is the official cotillion for my meatless meatballs. After painstakingly nurturing them towards perfection, I'm ready to proudly present them to society as the refined, delectable beauties they have become. Cue the orchestra and dim the lights, please.
You will need:
- 4 eggs, slightly beaten
- an envelope of onion soup mix
- 2 cups shredded cheese (I like a mix of cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan)
- 3/4 cup walnut halves, processed until finely ground
- 1 c unseasoned breadcrumbs (Panko breadcrumbs are my favorite)
- 2 Tbsp dried Italian herbs
- a good squeeze of tomato paste
- dash of low-sodium soy sauce
- Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. I'd suggest using a spoonula to fold/mush the mixture until it's well blended.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with non-stick foil.
- Form mix into ping pong ball-sized "meatballs" and place on sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, turn them over individually, and then bake another 10 minutes or so. They should be sizzly (yep, that's a word) and browned.
- Allow to cool. Freeze in a zipper bag for later or jump right to step 6.
- Place in a slow cooker and cover with spaghetti sauce. Cook on high for one hour if fresh or an hour and a half if frozen.
This recipe makes 20-25 meatballs, depending on how you size them. You can serve these on rolls (as I did tonight) or on top of spaghetti or by themselves. A few months ago, I started craving meatballs and tried some gross store-bought ones and a recipe or two that I didn't like. Then I found this recipe on allrecipes.com and after several changes, I came up with the results I posted here. I'm telling you -- you will not miss the meat. These babies are juicy, savory, and hearty. They have fooled several meat-loving relatives and friends.
A few notes about the ingredients:
- Some brands of onion soup mix are really salty, so you might want to use just half an envelope of the mix. Also, make sure the onion soup mix's ingredients don't include beef ingredients. You could also make your own and use about 1/4 cup.
- Grind up the walnuts well, or else the meatballs can turn out a bit crunchy, which can be disconcerting to people who think they're eating meat!
- Use dried breadcrumbs instead of fresh, and buy the plain ones so you can control the seasonings.
- As I said before, do yourself a favor and find tomato paste in a tube instead of in a can. I would recommend a thin spaghetti sauce for serving; chunky sauces tend to burn in the crockpot.
I can't emphasize enough how convincing these meatballs are. Seriously -- go try them yourself!