Spaghetti and Meatballs Can't Be Vegetarian...Or Can They?

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vegetarian meatballs

Vegetarian meatballs look like the real thing, right?

Ever since my husband and I embarked on our eating less meat experiment, people always ask if we miss steak, chicken, turkey, burgers, etc. To be honest, there's only one meaty dish I constantly crave: Meatballs! Specifically, the homemade spaghetti and meatballs that my mom makes, oops, I mean *used to make* for me. Wistful sigh...

That's why I was psyched to come across this recipe for Meatless Meatballs and Sauce on Hip Hostess.

How in the world can you have a meatless meatball? Here's how:

The meatballs are actually breadballs, made using ingredients found in a traditional meatball (dried herbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic), torn Italian bread instead of meat, and a beaten egg to hold it all together. You pan-fry the breadballs right before dropping them in the sauce, and they soak up the lovely olive oil and release it into the tomato sauce.

Overall, I was happy with how the breadballs turned out when I made them for my husband last weekend. They were time-consuming, yes, but not difficult at all. Sometimes I think it's hard to get that "satisfying, comforting, I'm so full" feeling with a lot of meatless meals, but this recipe actually did the trick.

Breadballs from Hip Hostess

1 cup water

1 large egg

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1 tbsp chopped fresh basil

1/4 t pepper

1 (16oz) loaf Italian bread, torn into small pieces

1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan

6 tbsp olive oil

Whisk the water, egg, parsley, basil, and pepper together in a large bowl. Add the bread and cheese and mix with your hands until well combined. With wet hands, form the mixture into 1 1/2-inch breadballs. If the mixture is dry and not sticking together too well, add more beaten egg.

Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half of the breadballs and cook until well browned on the first side, 2 -4 minutes (do not move them until they have browned on the first side). Continue to cook until they are well browned on all sides, about 5 minutes longer, turning as needed. Transfer the breadballs to a bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the pot and return it to medium heat until the oil is shimmering. Repeat with the remaining breadballs.

Add breadballs to tomato sauce and simmer for 30 minutes.

Check out Hip Hostess for the tomato sauce recipe.

If you became a vegetarian, which meat would you miss the most?

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Eating Less Meat: My New Year's Resolution 

Enough Protein on a Vegetarian Diet? Impossible! 

Vegetarian Lunch Idea: Hummus Sandwiches

No-Meat Meal: Green, Green Salad

dinner, family meals, food, recipes, vegetarian