JUST as good as the real version from your favorite pizza place.
HEY THERE! Happy Friday! Ya know what I've been craaaaving lately? A hot, melty, crunchy Meatball Parmesan hero. Just like I had growing up at my local pizza spot on Long Island. But obviously, since I don't eat 2 out of the 3 core ingredients that go into one of these bad boys, I had to figure out a way to make it 1) plant based friendly and 2) JUST like I remembered them to taste. And TADAAAA- here is my beauuutiful masterpiece. Can we just take a moment to check out that homemade vegan ooey gooey cheese?
If you come from an Italian background, you'll understand how fried (never baked) meatballs are a basic grandma staple dish. Going to my Nana's house on a Sunday? You KNOW you were getting served a massive plate of some hot, freshly rolled & fried meatballs. They were so so good, and so salty and so crisp around the edges- but always soft in the center. I can still taste them. Ugh yum.
If you follow my page, you may remember my post on Meatless Potted meatballs. A vegan twist on my grandmas jewish cooking. Slightly sweet & cooked in a onion + ketchup sauce. WAY different. However, this recipe I'm posting today is definitely the best version I've made/found of a veggie Italian meatball. Like, so perfect. I know my Nana will be proud!
Anywho- let's get to bizzzz and check out how I made this totally from scratch veggie sub. The cheese is so versatile, and you can literally plop it on any pizza, pasta, spread, as a fondue- you name it! AND EASY. Always my favorite. <3
Thanks for following & reading, and I hope your Sunday consists of these Vegan "Meat"ball "Parm" heroes (cause ya know mine will). Enjoy! xx Sam.
I N G R E D I E N T S:
- Hero bread/ buns
- Your favorite tomato sauce, to serve
- Vegan Parmesan cheese, to serve
- 8 oz of white mushrooms, sliced
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 cups of cooked brown rice (measured cooked), cooled
- 1/2 cup of Italian breadcrumbs*
- 1/4 cup of all purpose flour (GF flour if gluten free)
- 1 tsp of dried basil
- 1 1/2 tsp of sea salt
- 1 tsp of black pepper
- 1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup of cashews (soaked in boiling water for 20 minutes)
- 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
- 2 tsp of lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp of tapioca starch
- 1 tsp of nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 tsp of sea salt
- 1/4 tsp of onion powder
- 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp of white pepper
PREP: Begin by soaking those cashews & cooking your rice. Take out all of your ingredients, and dice up the mushrooms, garlic + onion. If you don't have Italian breadcrumbs, see below note on making them with regular breadcrumbs and some seasonings!
'MEAT'BALLS: In a large frying pan over medium heat, add a splash of olive oil. Once hot, toss in the onions and mushrooms. Cook for about 5 minutes, until slightly golden and soft. Add in the garlic and cook for just another few minutes until fragrant. Remove from heat & add to food processor after it's cooled for just a moment! Pulse/ puree until it mushrooms and onions are combined together well and slightly pasty. Add to a large mixing bowl.
Now, add your rice to the food processor and pulse for a bit until slightly broken down. Pour into the bowl with your breadcrumbs, flour, basil, red pepper, salt + pepper. Mix together with a spoon (or by hand!) until combined super well. It'll really look like a raw meatball mixture consistency! In the same skillet from earlier, add a generous amount of olive (or neutral) oil, over medium high heat. Carefully roll 1-2 inch meatballs and set aside while your oil is heating up. Once hot, pan-fry in batches until browned & crispy. YUM!
'CHEEZE': Drain your cashews and rinse well. Add to the blender with remaining ingredients and blend for a few minutes until smooth. In a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk your mixture quite often until it begins to thicken. Once it begins to bubble & thicken, continue to whisk constantly for just a little until it's gets too thick to manage. Kill the heat and set aside.
ASSEMBLE: Slice your bread open, add in a few meatballs, sauce, and top with the cheese sauce. Broil until the top begins to brown! Serve with some vegan parm, salt + pepper. DEVOUR! S' good.
*Notes: If you don't have Italian bread crumbs on hand, you can make your own with regular breadcrumbs! Take your half cup of plain breadcrumbs, and add 1/4 tsp of dried parsley, 1/4 tsp of black pepper, 1/4 tsp of garlic powder, 1/8 tsp of onion powder, 1/8 tsp of oregano, and 1/8 tsp of basil. Mix up and you're good to go! I've adapted the meatballs from Chef Chloe, and the cheese sauce from Hot For Food. :)