In need of a great veggie "meat"ball recipe!

I’m hoping you have a tried and true recipe to recommend. I’m looking for a cocktail party sized ball that will hold up well simmering in a marinara type sauce (It doesn’t have to be an Italian style red sauce) in a slow cooker for about 3 hours. I’m not necessarily looking for a meat mimic but am fine with it. I was thinking of doing Mario Batali’s eggplant balls but I’m not sure they will hold up being held at heat in a sauce for that long. Eggs and dairy are okay, just no meat.

Any ideas?

Falafel comes to mind, but not sure they’d stand up to three hours in sauce.

Ikea is now selling a vegan meatball and there are copycat recipes online. Maybe try a bag of those beforehand and see how they stand up to sauce, and taste?

sorry I just use quorn meatballs…and they’d get soggy after 3 hours. In fact I brown them and pop them into sauce for about 20 mins.

I’m going to attempt a recipe from “The Southern Vegetarian” for vegetarian meatballs. It uses mushrooms and eggplant. I’ll let you know how they turn out.

The recipe was a total bust. The eggplant needed WAY more time to roast. It had that icky raw eggplant flavour. The recipe never mentions adding any salt, which should have been a red flag. I added some nonetheless but it wasn’t enough. The balls weren’t firm enough to simmer for a long time in a marinara sauce so I decided to freeze it for later and scrap the veggie ball idea.

I repurposed the veggie ball mixture into a veggie loaf by adding a bunch of stuff - lentils and oats amongst other things. It ended up being decent but I could never get rid of that raw eggplant taste. Next time, if there is one, I will omit the eggplant.

I’d be REALLY surprised if there are ANY veggie meatballs that will tolerate a 3-hr simmer, regardless of sauce. Much better to make the meatballs separately, then hold them in warm, but not simmering, sauce. But if you are determined to try to achieve this, I would get some balsamic vinegar in to the mixture, because acid slows the softening of vegetal ingredients. If your constraints don’t preclude cheese, include grated and/or ricotta cheese, plus egg, all of which will contribute to a firmer ball. Farro would be a good starch component, because it has a meatlike chew.

I put a LOT of vegetables and other filler into my beef meatballs. Because of this, I use a mandoline to slice onion and bell pepper into very thin rings. As the mixture is handled, they break into strings that create a matrix to which the other ingredients cling, so the balls don’t fall apart while simmering.

All that said, I like Trader Joe’s frozen meatless meatballs, the flavor a9d texture of which could almost fool me into thinking they had a little meat in them.

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We just had veg koftas over Xmas. Used onions & mushrooms & a few spices fried in oil. The added cornflower & eggs to bind. Deep fried the balls and cooked them in a tomato based sauce.

hello, I used to make balls out of pepperidge farm stuffing, spinach, parmesan cheese and eggs. I have no idea if they would hold up that long in sauce, but I used to keep them hot and dippe them in hot/sweet mustard. I’m sure you can find a recipe online but if not I can look it up for you if you would like me to.

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Trader Joe’s Meatless Meatballs kicks serious ass…

Agree with TJ meat balls my other favourite are Quorn meat balls. Simmering any kind of veg meat ball for 3 hours will guarantee you will have a rubbery/soft collapsed unpalatable thing …I suggest you do a quick saute browning for the meatballs, keep them aside and then pop them in the sauce about 15mins before dinner.

Curious, what was the reason for wanting to leave them in the slow cooker for 3 hours?

Just because it was a cocktail party and I was trying to include something I did not have to fuss over. I was basically hoping to use the crockpot as a chafing dish. I already had too many things coming in and out of the oven.

Gotcha!! Makes sense :blush: