True story, I have no idea what a real meatball tastes like. I’m not certain I’ve ever eaten a real meatball even before quitting meat at age 11. All I know is meatless meatballs are where it’s at. These have been a staple at family gatherings my entire life. Granted, the family recipe is fried and doesn’t use mushrooms or flax eggs, but I find this healthier version to be just as comforting. Bonus points because baking = a million times easier than frying and your house doesn’t smell like oil for weeks.
Over the last 24 years, I’ve eaten these meatballs a million different ways, and I encourage you to do the same! Throw them in a slow cooker with cream of mushroom soup or barbeque sauce and serve as appetizers at a party. Add a couple to your plate of spaghetti and marinara sauce. Even better yet? Take the left overs and smash them between two slices of lightly toasted bread with some spaghetti sauce and cheese. Best. Lunch. Ever.
If you’re not feeling these meatless meatballs, check out the chili meatballs or pumpkin meatballs. Nothing like a traditional meatball, but still amazing and delicious. Both recipes can be made vegan — doesn’t get any better than this.
⅓ c cheese (I recommend mozzarella. Vegans use a cheese alternative or omit)
½ c finely chopped mushrooms
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ onion, minced
2 tbsp. flax meal
6 tbsp. water
½ tsp liquid smoke
1 tbsp. soy sauce or liquid aminos
⅓ c breadcrumbs (GF: use GF bread crumbs or crushed gluten free crackers. I recommend crushing Glutino crackers. Corn meal based bread crumbs will work, but IMO don’t produce the desired texture)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.
Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the flax, water, smoke, and soy sauce. Let set for a few minutes until the flax egg has gelled slightly. Then combine with dry ingredients (all ingredients should now be combined). Add a little more water or bread crumbs, if necessary, to obtain a sticky texture.
Press and roll into 16 balls. Set on baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Carefully roll (may stick a little!) after 10 – 15 minutes.
The mushrooms add more texture than taste, but if you aren’t a fan of mushrooms replace 50/50 with breadcrumbs and nuts. These freeze wonderfully. Simply cook through as instruction and freeze in a freezer bag or storage container. Bake, microwave (may get a little soggy) or cook on the stove until warmed through.