Chef John’s Meatless Meatballs

by 247tasty

Servings: 20 meatballs

Meatless meatballs are my new favorite! They make an explosive option for your usual meatballs. Serve these meatless meatballs over zoodles, spaghetti, or spaghetti squash. You can also use them as a hoagie filling or enjoy these delicious meatballs on their own.


1 pound / 453 grams of white mushrooms, finely chopped (use a food processor to save time)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ c. finely chopped onion
½ c. quick-cooking oats
½ c. breadcrumbs (I used gluten-free breadcrumbs)
2 eggs, divided
¼ tsp dried oregano
3 c. of your favorite tomato sauce
Pinch cayenne pepper
4 to 5 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
½ c. shredded mozzarella cheese (or any other cheese you prefer)
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
¼ tsp ground black pepper

How to make Chef John’s Meatless Meatballs

Step 1: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. To the hot oil, add the mushrooms and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Cook the mushrooms for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the liquid has evaporated.

Step 2: To the mushrooms, stir in the butter and continue to cook for another 5 minutes over medium heat until golden brown. Then, add the onions and saute for 5 minutes more until translucent. Lastly, add the garlic and cook for another minute until aromatic.

Step 3: In a large mixing bowl, transfer the mushroom mixture. Add the oats and stir well until blended before adding in the Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, parsley, 1 egg, salt, pepper, oregano, and cayenne pepper (if using). Combine everything using a fork until the mixture is crumbly. Then, stir in the rest of the egg until incorporated. Note that the mixture should hold upon pressing. Place the bowl in the fridge, covered, for at least 2 hours (preferably overnight).

Step 4: Prepare the oven when ready to cook. Preheat it to 450 degrees F or 230 degrees C. Using the parchment paper, line a baking sheet.

Step 5: Damp your hands to roll 1 tbsp of the mixture into a meatball. On the prepared baking sheet, arrange the meatballs.

Step 6: Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Take the meatballs out of the oven when done and allow them to cool completely.

Step 7: You can serve the meatballs right away or keep them completely cooled meatballs in the fridge or freeze them until ready to use.

Step 8: In a large skillet (or saucepan), bring the tomato sauce to a boil, then decrease the heat to a simmer. Into the sauce, gently stir in the meatballs coated, and simmer for approximately 30 to 45 minutes. Then, sprinkle the meatballs with mozzarella cheese. Put the lid on and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes until the cheese has melted.

Step 9: Sprinkle the meatballs with some chopped fresh parsley and serve the meatballs over zoodles, spaghetti, or spaghetti squash. You can also use them as a hoagie filling or enjoy the meatballs on their own.

Nutrition Facts:

One naked meatball (i.e., sans tomato sauce and cheese) yields 48 calories, 2 grams of fat, 5 grams of carbs, and 3 grams of protein.

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