I know some people get very offended when us vegans call a plant-based dish by an original meat or dairy title. With that said, as oppose to calling these meatballs, I will instead call them “Mushroom-Brown-Rice Balls.” Boy is that a mouthful LOL!
On a serious note; if you’ve decided to ditch meat or looking for alternatives for whatever reason that may be; this recipe by Chef Chloe will definitely come close to the real thing. Yes, it’s not really meatballs.. but it’s hearty, flavorful and extremely satisfying. ENJOY!
Serves 4 – 6
INGREDIENTS: Mushroom-Brown-Rice Balls
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
Canola oil for frying
1 pound spaghetti
1 (26 ounce) jar marinara sauce
1/4 cup soy, almond or rice milk
2 tablespoons brown sugar
freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
Parmesan Topping (you can find my super simple vegan parm recipe here)
*Note: For a shortcut, feel free to skip the added sauce ingredients and just use a jar of marinara. You do not need to go the extra mile if you’re short on time!
INSTRUCTIONS for the Mushroom-Brown-Rice Balls:
1.) Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and cook onion and mushrooms until soft and lightly browned. Add garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Transfer to a food processor. Reserve the skillet for later use.
2.) Add cooled brown rice, bread crumbs, flour, dried basil, salt, pepper and red pepper (if using) to the food processor. Pulse until the mixture just comes together. If necessary, transfer the mixture to a large bowl and mix with your hands. Season to taste and let cool slightly. Form the mixture into 1 – 2 inch balls.
3.) Heat canola oil in the reserved nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and panfry mushroom-brown-rice balls in batches, adding more oil as needed. Rotate the meatballs with a wooden spoon so they are very well done. They should be browned on all sides with a nice crust. Remove the balls from the pan using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
For The Pasta:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a bowl and cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and return to the pot.
For The Sauce:
Combine marinara sauce, nondairy milk, and brown sugar in a medium pot. Stir over medium heat until heated through. Season with salt and pepper.
Add sauce to pasta and toss to coat. Top with mushroom-brown-rice balls and garnish with parsley and some vegan parmesan.