Walnut & Mushroom Meatballs (Vegan)

I grew up in an all Italian family - so one meal that I find super comforting and one that I miss most is spaghetti and meat balls. There are a number of ways to "healthify" this old school dish - I'm making up words here!

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1. Use a whole grain pasta such as kamut or spelt; take it a step further and go gluten-free by using brown rice noodles or even better lentil or bean pasta which is super high in protein. My fave brand is Maria's home-style noodles. I love their chickpea fettuccine. Truthfully, I love any Maria's noodlesโ€ฆmy pantry is stocked. I buy them from the FoodLand in Mount Albert.

2. Use grass-fed organic beef or use a lean meat such as turkey or chicken to create your meat balls.

OR

3. My favourite variation of this dish - spiral sliced zucchini and sweet potato pasta.

Nothing makes life more simple in the kitchen than a spiralizer.

If you don't own a vegetable spiral slicer, get yourself onto amazon.ca and buy now! Great, great kitchen gadget to have. You could eat these noodles entirely raw - but we gently sautรฉed our noodles in a touch of olive oil with sea salt and fresh pepper. Serve with my walnut and mushroom "meatballs" - again these could be eaten unbaked but we baked ours for 15 minutes. I tend to love this dish completely raw in the summer but my body craves the warmth come Fall/Winter. These walnut and mushroom meatballs have been a huge hit with my family and add a great source of protein to an entirely vegetarian/vegan dish.

Top it all off with an organic whole food based tomato sauce or make your own!

Walnut & Mushroom Meatballs (Vegan)

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided

1 small yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

8-10 cremini mushrooms, sliced

2 cups raw walnuts

3 tbsp nutritional yeast

1/4 cup parsley, chopped

sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. NOTE: Skip this step if you prefer to enjoy the walnut & mushroom meatballs unbaked.
  2. In a sautรฉ pan over medium heat add 1 tbsp olive oil.
  3. Add to the pan the diced onion and sautรฉ for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add the minced garlic and sautรฉ for a minute longer - just until fragrant. Remove from the heat and set aside in the food processor.
  4. In the same sautรฉ pan, add remaining olive oil and sliced mushrooms. Allow them to brown and season with a pinch of sea salt and black pepper. When they are cooked, remove from heat and add to food processor.
  5. In your food processor along with the onions, garlic and mushrooms add your walnuts, nutritional yeast and parsley. Pulse until mixture is well combined and sticky to the touch.
  6. Taste mixture carefully for seasoning and adjust accordingly.
  7. Taking 1-2 tbsp  of the mixture at a time, form into meatballs. Enjoy them unbaked or set onto a lined baking sheet and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
  8. Serve over top of your pasta or spiral sliced veggies with a generous scoop of tomato sauce and enjoy!

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