Yes they are meat-free! And yes they are delicious. Because I grew up with Italian-by-osmosis parents, and we had meatballs at least once a week. I know a good meatball...
Give this one a go. While it doesn't pretend to be meat, the texture is very nice and soft, but holds its shape, with great flavor so you won't be disappointed this ball is veg and carb.
Substitute rolled oats for the breadcrumbs if you want this GF.
Notes: Olive oil is extra virgin.
Ingredients: 1/2 chopped yellow onion, 1 cup chopped white mushrooms, 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 14-ounce can white beans-drained, 2 cloves garlic, 1 egg, 2 tbsp. ketchup, 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp. Italian dried herbs, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs, 1/4-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 6 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese, 2 tbsp. chopped fresh basil. Sauce: 1 28-ounce can (3 cups) diced tomatoes, 1 tsp. Italian dried herbs, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, 2 tsp. onion powder, pinch of sugar.
1. Make balls: Sauté onion and mushroom in olive oil over medium heat until soft and browned, about 6 minutes. Set aside.
2. To a food processor add: white beans, garlic, egg, ketchup, Worster sauce, Italian herbs, mushroom and onion mixture, salt and pepper. Pulse a few times while scraping down the sides, until you have a nice mash. Add breadcrumbs and Parmesan. (I test the texture at this point by pinching a bit to see if it sticks together. If you need more sticking power, add another 1/4 cup of Parm.)
3. Preheat oven to 375* F. Place balls in an ovenproof skillet.
4. Make the sauce. Blend tomatoes, Italian herbs, salt, pepper, sugar and onion powder together until smooth-ish. Pour over the balls.
5. Cover skillet with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, add slices of mozzarella and a light sprinkling of Parmesan. Replace foil and back another 20 minutes, or until cheese is perfectly melty. Scatter over chopped basil.
Tip: If you are short on time, skip the homemade sauce and pour over a jar of your fave. No shame there.