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Three Types of Meatballs - Not!

Updated: Feb 23, 2022

By Billa

Spaghetti and meatballs have always been a favorite. So, many years ago, when I mostly gave up meat, I was glad to find a recipe for walnut "meatballs" in tomato sauce. And although they do not taste meaty, they are fluffy, flavorful, and filled with nutty goodness.

Last year, the N.Y. Times published a recipe for vegetarian Swedish "meatballs". Made from chickpeas, they come accompanied with a terrific sour cream gravy that tastes just right when served over garlic mashed potatoes.

The third “meatball” is one I concocted. It is inspired by those sweet and sour cocktail meatballs that were ubiquitous at parties at one point. I knew I wanted mine to be vegetarian, grain-based, and baked. I decided to experiment with farro, a chewy, nutty grain that I’ve grown fond of lately. For the sweetness, I used hoisin sauce. That was counterbalanced by tamari sauce. The result was a “meatball” that is sweet and salty and tangy, enhanced by tastes and textures of the vegetables I used - shallots, shiitakes, carrots and garlic.



For the meatballs:

1 cup walnuts

1 clove garlic

1 small to medium onion

2 TBS. parsley

1/2 tsp. salt

Dash ground black pepper

1 cup breadcrumbs

2 eggs

3 TBS. canola oil

Place walnuts, garlic, onion, and parsley in food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Remove to a bowl. Add salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, and eggs. Mix well and shape into balls - I like them about 1 and 1/4” in diameter.

Sauté in canola oil until browned on all sides.

For the sauce:

1 8-oz. can tomato sauce

1 can tomato paste

1/2 cup ketchup

1 cup water

1 bay leaf

Dash garlic salt

Dash celery salt

Salt to taste

Combine all in a saucepan. Add meatballs. Simmer over very low flame for 1 and 1/2 hours. Serve over pasta.

The recipe for VEGETARIAN SWEDISH MEATBALLS can be accessed here:


I like to serve these atop brown rice with caramelized onions

1 TBS olive oil

6 shiitake mushroom caps (or 4 white or cremini mushrooms) chopped

1 small shallot, chopped finely

1 small carrot, chopped

1 small garlic clove, minced

1/2 cup cooked farro

4 TBS. panko

1/2 TBS hoisin sauce

2 tsp. tamari sauce

1 tsp. lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil, over medium heat. Add mushrooms, shallot, carrot, and garlic, and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are softened, about 6 minutes.

  3. Remove vegetables to the bowl of a food processor. Add cooked farro and panko. Process until all is very finely chopped but not pureed.

  4. Transfer mixture to a bowl. Add hoisin and tamari sauces, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.

  5. Shape into 1” balls. Place on parchment-covered sheet pan.

  6. Bake for 20 minutes, turning after 10.

Yield: 10 meatballs


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