When you think of Meatless Monday, do you typically try to craft a ‘mock meal’ — you know, a dish that mimicks a meaty meal? I’m comfortable with doing that because I try not to let the absence of meat be a deterrent from a good meal. For this weeks’ Meatless Monday recipe, I was in the mood for meatballs. I said to myself, “Self, what’s another way I can make meatless meatballs?” The Eggplant Meatballs recipe that I crafted over two years ago would be a good option, but I wanted to try something different, so I began exploring. The end result of my exploration was Meatless Zucchini ‘Meatballs,’ a recipe inspired by Skinnytaste.
These ‘meatballs’ turned out really well. I was a little dubious about the texture, but my husband found them to be firm as well as great tasting. Now, you likely won’t get the exact same texture as real meatballs with this recipe, but these are a great contender. The leftovers also work well on a meatball sandwich. I hope you try this recipe. Bon appetit!
Meatless Zucchini 'Meatballs'
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced (white parts only)
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 medium-sized unpeeled zucchini, grated
- 1 teaspoon Good Seasons Garlic & Herb Salad Dressing & Recipe Mix (or other seasonings of your choice)
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon each Salt & Pepper
- 1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 ounce (¼ cup) Asiago* cheese, grated (plus more for serving)
- 5 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (plus leaves for garnish)
- 3½ to 4 cups marinara sauce
* If you can’t find Asiago, use Parmesan or Pecorino Romano
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the scallions and sauté for about 4-5 minutes, being careful not to let them burn. Add the garlic and sauté until golden, about 2 minutes more. Add the grated zucchini, flavor with seasonings and cook on high heat until all the water is evaporated (10 to 15 minutes, depending on moisture content in zucchini). Transfer the zucchini to a colander and press out any excess water.
Next, transfer to a large bowl. Add the bread crumbs, beaten egg, grated cheese and chopped basil. Mix well, then form the mixture into 1 ounce balls (you’ll end up with about 14-17 balls). Roll the balls tightly and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Spray the top of the zucchini balls with cooking spray and bake until the balls are firm and browned, about 20 to 25 minutes.
When the balls are baking, heat the marinara sauce in a large deep skillet on low to warm through (5 to 7 minutes).
When the balls are done, transfer them to the sauce and let simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. Garnish the meatballs with the fresh basil leaves and serve with grated cheese, if desired. Serve with whole wheat spaghetti.