Folks, it’s recipe time! Allow me to show you how to cook my favorite vegetarian meatballs! The original recipe is from my Mother-In-Law, but I’ve tweaked this a bit each time I prepare them.
I’ve had this post in the works for MONTHS! Literally months. I took most of the pictures in February. All that was missing was a finished product pic. How sad is that? You could have made these meatballs many times over if it weren’t for my laziness.
Sorry about that.
So, as the title suggests, these meatballs are really easy! Everything gets mixed up in the food processor. And the ingredients are pretty easy to gather, so if you’re making one batch, you might as well make several at a time!
These also freeze really well. So I’ll make multiple batches at once, form them into the balls, then place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet to stick in my freezer. Once they’ve hardened (about 3 hours), place them in a gallon sized freezer storage bag and you have a tasty, yummy meal just waiting in the wings!
This is also one of my go-to potluck, fancy dinner, or holiday meal options. I’ve even had meat lovers try these and like them (and ask for the recipe… which I think is a good sign, right?).
So I’ll quickly go through the steps and show you the pics (if you’re visual), and then the official recipe is down below, for easy printing (so you don’t print 18 pages).
The meatball ingredients are pretty simple. The “meat” comes from the Morningstar Farms Grillers Original (Original is key here… not the crumbles, and definitely not the Grillers Prime patties). You can find these burgers everywhere. You’ll also need an onion, cheddar cheese, some dried thyme, walnuts, and 4 eggs (or egg beaters – I’ve used both!).
Then add your Griller patties (thawed in the microwave), cheese and thyme. Combine it all together until it’s the same consistency. Then add your eggs. Blend for about 10 seconds, until it all comes together.
Then scoop it out of the food processor and put the meatball mix into a separate bowl. Stir in either 1 cup of ground up soda crackers OR, my personal favorite, ground up rolled oats oatmeal (because I always have that on hand. Who has soda crackers on hand??). You might want to add 3/4 cup of the oatmeal or cracker first, stir the mix, then check for consistency, to make sure the mix isn’t too dry. I usually, though, end up adding the full cup.
While the meatballs bake, you can make the sauce. The sauce for these bad boys is half a bottle of BBQ sauce (for THIS recipe, I prefer the Kraft Original) and one 12-15 oz jar of Apricot Preserves (I’ve used full strength and sugar free before… don’t really notice a difference). Combine them together.
Yum! They are so delicious. Our perfect comfort food! (Look at this fancy picture. I remember asking my husband “Should I add parsley? Would that look good?”. I instead ended up with a bad Italian restaurant menu picture… sigh. I’m not a food blogger, ok??)
Ok, official recipe time!
Easy Vegetarian Meatballs
From the Cup of Tea blog
These freeze really well. Make the meatballs up to step 5. Roll the meatballs and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and place in the freezer. Let freeze and harden for about 3 hours, then place the meatballs in a gallon sized freezer storage bag. If you’re making multiple batches, make one batch at a time. The meat ball mix, for whatever reason, can’t double well.
Makes approx. 30 meatballs, depending on how big you make them.
1 package (4 patties) Morningstar Farms Grillers Original, thawed in the microwave
1 medium yellow onion, quartered
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (sharp or mild, doesn’t matter)
1 cup finely ground rolled oats (like Quaker) or soda crackers
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 tsp sage
4 eggs or 1 cup Egg Beaters
1/2 bottle barbeque sauce (I use Kraft Original, since it’s a little sweeter)
1 12 oz jar apricot preserves
Preheat oven to 350 F.
1. Place 2 cups rolled oats or soda crackers into a food processor. Pulse until finely ground. This should yield you about 1 cup of finely ground, plus a little extra. Grind up more for another use.
2. Put the quartered onion and walnuts in the food processor. Pulse to break up into smaller chunks. It doesn’t have to be a smooth mix yet. You just want to break up the harder ingredients before adding the rest.
3. Next, add to the onion mix the Griller patties (broken into quarters), cheese and thyme. Pulse until combined.
4. Add your eggs (or stream in the Egg Beaters) to the mix in the food processor and pulse to combine, until smooth.
5. Spoon your meatball mixture into a mixing bowl. Stir into the mix about 3/4 cup of your finely ground oatmeal or soda cracker. Try rolling the mix into a meatball. If it’s too wet and not sticking together, add the remaining 1/4 cup of the oatmeal or soda cracker. I usually end up using the full 1 cup.
6. Form into meat balls (whatever size you’d like!). Place rolled meatballs on to a 9×13 baking dish, prepped with non-stick spray. If freezing, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet instead.
7. Bake in the oven, at 350 F, for about 30 minutes. The meatballs will warm through and get a nice crunchy exterior. (You could pan fry the meatballs instead at this point. I just prefer baking them.)
8. While the meatballs are baking, you can make the sauce. Combine together the barbecue sauce and the apricot preserves. You could microwave the mix for 10 seconds to make it easier to stir and pour.
9. After baking for 30 minutes, remove the meatballs from the oven and pour the sauce over them. Return the meatballs back to the oven for an additional 15 minutes, or until the sauce starts to bubble.
Serve the meatballs with rice pilaf, or mashed potatoes (why not??), or any other tasty side you prefer.
Linking up at Good Tips Tuesday!