Saturday, January 22, 2011

Italian Mushroom Walnut "Meatballs"

My Mom has always told me I make the best meat balls.  Which was funny because I don't eat meat, I simply make them for loved ones because I am nice.  My Mom loves them, so I make them once in a while, but on Friday I decided I would like some meatballs as well, so I decided to create a vegan version of them.  I had a bunch of leftover mushrooms that needed to be used up, so I thought what better a base than meaty tasting mushrooms for my "meatballs"!  I combined them with walnuts, nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor, and plenty of herbs, which is actually the base for one of my veggie burgers, but worked really well as a "meatball".  I was afraid that maybe they would be too mushy, but this was not the case at all, they held together well, had wonderful flavor, and once I ladled some of my usual pasta sauce over them they were pretty amazing if I do say so myself! 

I was too lazy to make pasta, so I opted for a piece of toasted garlic bread instead which ended up being a delicious accompaniment!  My Mom who is my biggest food critic loved the meatballs and told me to never make the ones containing real meat again because these were better!  Hmm...maybe I am rubbing off on her a bit?  Well they were pretty darn good in my opinion, and if you would like to try an awesome meat free "meatball"  here is the recipe!

Italian Mushroom Walnut "Meatballs"
Serves 3-4

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped red onion
3 cups chopped crimini mushrooms
1 1/2 cups toasted walnuts
2 cups dried whole wheat bread crumbs, or as needed
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp each dried basil, parsley, and oregano
freshly ground pepper to taste

olive oil
2 cloves garlic
red pepper flakes
2 Tbsp red wine
1 15 oz can crushed organic tomatoes
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp sea salt or to taste

4 large slices hearty peasant bread
olive oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic
sea salt
vegan parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 475.  To make meatballs, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Add onion, and saute until softened, about 5 minutes, then add the mushrooms and saute until soft, about 3 minutes.  Add garlic and saute another minute until fragrant, then remove from heat.  Place mixture in a food processor along with walnuts, breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, sea salt, herbs and pepper.  Process until smooth.  Add a little more breadcrumbs if too sticky, then shape into 16 little balls and place on a baking sheet lined with foil and sprayed with non-stick spray.  Bake for about 15-20 minutes until heated through, and starting to brown. 
Meanwhile to make sauce, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a medium saucepan.  Add garlic and pepper flakes, and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add wine, tomatoes, herbs, and sea salt, and bring to a simmer.  Simmer for about 20 minutes until the flavors have blended.  Keep warm. 
To prepare bread, brush with olive oil, and rub with garlic.  Sprinkle with sea salt and vegan parmesan and place on a foil lined baking sheet and bake in the oven until crispy and browned at the edges.  To serve, place a piece of bread on a plate, place a few meatballs on top of it and ladle the sauce over.  Enjoy!


Stephanie said...

Ooh these look fantastic! I'm totally curious to try them. I love anything with mushrooms and I'm impressed that your meat eating mom preferred these over traditional meatballs. I can't wait to make these - I think they will have to be added to the dinner plan sometime this week!

Jessica said...

That is such an interesting version of meatballs. Looks healthy and so delicious! I love that you are eating them with garlic bread instead of the typical pasta too!

Sandra said...

Yeyy for meatballs..They look divine amy! I love the photos!

Medeja- CranberryJam said...

They look amazing :) like real meatballs :) Im sure they are very delicious :)

Suchitra Vaidyaram said...

Simply divine-loved the texture, colors and flavor! Will definitely give it a shot

Anonymous said...

I love walnuts and mushrooms. This dish looks so tasty! Thank you for sharing.

Amy Bakes Everything said...

OMG this looks soooo yummy! I love the walnuts and mushrooms - I eat meat and I would totally order this...on that beautiful piece of bread!

Evan Thomas said...

Great recipe! They look so authentic

Belinda @zomppa said...

Delicious! I'm loving this and will definitely keep as I'm trying to go the weekend veggie route (no meat during the week!)

Deanna Samaan said...

It is 10am and I want a meatball LOL

Monet said...

I made Ryan come over and look at this because we both have been craving meatballs, and we were at a loss of how to make a vegan variety. Thank you so much for sharing this! They look stupendous!

Kate @ said...

Wow - great job! Now I have a new treat to serve to my veggie friends! Thank you! :)

Mateja ^_^ said...

What an interesting approach to meatballs. Sounds so delicious and who needs meat all the time! I like to serve my meatballs on piece of bread too! And wha t a beautiful inviting presentation :)

Sandra said...

Love the toasty, crusty bread with the meatballs.

Kathy said...

These look amazing! I have some mushrooms that need to be used soon. Thanks for sharing.

Stefanie Mockler said...

These sound (and look) absolutely delicious! Can't wait to try them! :)

Tiffany said...

OMG! These look amazing! I am def. going to pass this recipe on to my sister (and also bookmark it for myself!!)

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Annie said...

These are amazing; thanks for the recipe! I tried an adapted version with spaghetti and saw it's from this blog. Tastes great!

Leora said...

Thanks for the dinner inspiration!

Anonymous said...

No garlic mentioned in meatball ingredients, yet it is mentioned in the instructions.

Anonymous said...

Didn't like the texture. Rather mushy.