It’s a spicy Meat-a-ball! Well, actually this meat-ball is pretty mild on the spice spectrum. But you can always turn up the heat if you like. Spice up your life! Amiright?
Seriously though, this recipe is bangin. My meat eating-roommate (and photographer, hey Kyly!) tried these and said, “you’ve convinced me.” So I guess that’s good right? Right. Personally, I am a pasta fanatic. Today we are going to focus on the Grand Puba of pasta dishes: Pasta and Meatballs! Today we are just focusing on the meatballs, they are the star of the show after all. Eventually I’ll get around to posting some vegan pasta recipes. But today is not that day!
Let’s just get started. Set your oven to 350. You’re doing great already! Check you out (insert finger guns and awkward winking). Now, grab yourself some mushrooms and walnuts and chop them up into itty bitty pieces. Don’t go too crazy, they’re going in the food processor later (spoiler alert!) Lay the bits out on a lined sheet tray, and cook for 20 minutes.
While the mushrooms and nuts are roasting, you’re going to grind up some flax seeds and mix them with a bit of water –set aside, chop up a bit of onion, mince some garlic, drain the pinto beans and get your ingredients ready to get pulverized in the processor. At this time you are also going to set aside your nutritional yeast and bread crumbs (I prefer panko) to mix in as well.
Sweet as. Once your shrooms are out of the oven and slightly cooled, dump them into the food processor and give them a few pulses to mix them up. Not too much! Just two or three times to get it incorporated. We want these to have texture! Now add the beans, garlic, Italian seasoning, onions, and flax, and pulse a few times more. Again, be sure not to overdo it.
The ingredients should be mixed together, but not at all creamy or smooth. You want the chunky bits to give it a bit of a bite. Using a rubber spatula (featuring my “naughty” spatula) scrape all of the ingredients out and into a bowl. Add your nutritional yeast, breadcrumbs, and seasonings and mix thoroughly.
Now the fun part! I’ve been waiting for this!!! We’re gonna get to rolling! Take a little piece, about a tablespoon or a little bigger (however big you like your meatballs, really) give it a little squish to get the extra air out, and roll it into a ball. Place the finished ball onto a lined sheet and continue until all of the mixture is gone and the sheet pan is full. Your hands may get a bit sticky during this process, so rinse your hands and keep them a bit wet as you continue rolling, you’ll see that it makes it a bit easier.
Pop those balls in the oven and cook them for 40 minutes. Check on them after 30 to see if they’re beginning to brown. I like mine to be a bit crispy so I like to leave them in for longer.
During this time you can cook your pasta (I used linguini) and heat up your favorite marinara sauce. You can always make your own, but in that case you should have started that HOURS ago. Low and slow baby, low and slow. If you’ve neglected to make your own, I suggest using Rao’s Sensitive Formula Marinara Sauce. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of jarred sauces but this stuff is the tits. It has a super authentic taste, just like your grandmamma used to make.
Once the pasta is cooked, the balls are done, the sauce is heated through, it’s time to plate and garnish your pasta and meatballs! To garnish use fresh chopped basil or parsley. Oregano works fine too.
8 oz button mushrooms
½ cup walnuts
1 tbsp flax seeds + 3 tbsp water
3 large garlic cloves
½ medium white onion
15 oz. can pinto beans
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
Salt & Pepper to taste
¾ cup breadcrumbs
- Set the oven to 350.
- Chop up mushrooms and walnuts, spread on lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.
- Grind flax seeds and mix with water, set aside.
- Add mushrooms and walnuts to food processor, hit pulse twice.
- Add garlic, onion, pinto beans, and Italian seasoning and pulse again. Be careful not to over mix, you want the mixture to look crumbly.
- Remove from processor into a bowl.
- Add nutritional yeast and breadcrumbs, mix well.
- Roll mixture into small balls, place in rows on lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 40 minutes, until outside is golden brown.
- Cook pasta as directed.
- Heat marinara sauce as directed.
- Garnish with chopped herbs.
- Eat up!