Meatless Mondays, Vegan, Vegetarian or just trying to cut down on how much meat you eat? The hard part about changing your diet is finding tasty foods and fun recipes to substitute for your regular meals. While it may seem a little strange, my Italian Vegeta-balls can make your alternative meals more fun without giving up the flavor. Try them as they are or use some of my recommendations at the end of the recipe for more ideas.
1. Wash your hands.
2. For this recipe you will need measuring cups and spoons, a knife and cutting board, large spoon or rubber spatula, a small scoop, a large bowl, a box grater, a large sauté pan, a baking pan, the oven and stove.
If you are not allowed to use a knife, the stove or the oven by yourself, you can ask an adult for help.
ChefElla’s Italian Vegeta-balls (about 36 Vegetable Meatballs)
1 lb. Crimini or White Mushrooms
1 Cup Brown Rice, Cooked (The 90 second microwaveable rice is good for this)
1/3 Cup Red Onion, Minced
¼ Cup Milk or Unflavored Almond, Soy, Pea or other alternate milk
2 tsp Kitchen Bouquet or Magi Seasoning
1 Tbl. Parsley, Chopped (Fresh or Dried)
1 Tbl. Olive Oil
2 tsp Oregano, Chopped (Fresh or Dried)
1 tsp Salt, Kosher or Sea
½ tsp Tabasco or your favorite hot sauce
¾ Cup Wheat Germ or Steel Cut Quick Oats (If you do not have either of these you can rough chop some regular quick oats oatmeal.
½ Cup Brown Rice Flour (AP or Gluten Free flour will work if you do not have Brown Rice Flour)
½ Cup Parmesan Cheese, Grated
1 jar Pasta Sauce, your favorite kind (24 ounces)
-If you would like to make your own pasta sauce I just happen to have a recipe. http://www.chefella.com/chefellassecretrecipes/2015/9/16/91615-chefellas-cheesy-meatball-lasagna
3. Preheat your oven to 450F.
4. Cut the stems of the mushrooms flat with the caps and brush off any dirt or debris on the caps.
5. Using your box grater, shred the mushrooms using the large hole shredder. Put the mushroom shreds into your large bowl.
6. Add the rice, onion, milk, kitchen bouquet, parsley, olive oil, oregano, salt and tabasco to the mushrooms and mix well. When everything is mixed well, add the wheat germ, brown rice flour and parmesan cheese to the bowl and mix well. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes stirring every five minutes. The volume of the mixture will decrease as the mixture sits.
7. Line your baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and spray with pan spray or lightly coat with oil.
8. Using your scooper. Scoop the Vegeta-ball mixture out of the bowl and place on the baking sheet. You may need to help form the vegeta-balls into shape. If you do not have a scooper you can use a spoon. For this recipe each vegeta-ball should be about 2 tablespoons. If you make your vegeta-balls bigger you will need to adjust the cooking time.
9. Place the vegeta-balls into the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove the vegeta-balls from the oven and let them sit for 10 minutes.
10. Place the vegeta-balls in your sauce pan and cover with your pasta sauce. Turn the stove on low to heat the pasta sauce and vegeta-balls together.
Serve your Italian Vegeta-balls over pasta, as a meatball sub with cheese, or eat them as an appetizer in the sauce. If you remove the oregano from the recipe you could top your Vegeta-balls with BBQ sauce, use blue cheese instead of parmesan for Buffalo Vegeta-balls, or use queso fresco instead of parmesan and top with salsa to make your own favorite appetizer.
ChefElla’s helpers can help by:
Measuring the ingredients
Adding the ingredients to the bowl
Mixing the ingredients
Scooping the Vegeta-balls
Older helpers can help by:
Baking the Vegeta-balls
Preparing the vegetables