Like AC/DC once said, I’ve got big balls.  Mushroom meatballs.

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Honestly, I enjoy myself a good meatball sub on any given Tuesday. This comforting sandwich never really disappoints.  So, the question becomes, how do I peacefully clam up that voice in your head pitching these cravings into your subconscious. Well, I’m here to bring the good word.  I finally finished a recipe that improves the vegetarian meatball sub.  Using all plant-based ingredients, this reverie between two buns annihilates any reason to ever crave this pedestrian delight and Americana classic.

The biggest advantage of this recipe is its versatility.  This basic meatless meatball recipe can easily be transformed into burger patties, sloppy joes, chili, taco filling, fake meat pie. This can be utilized as any substitute for ground beef imaginable.  Some would even argue that it is even tastier than it’s alternative.

Next comes the giardiniera.  This classic Italian condiment adds a little brightness and acid to just about ANY meal.  This marinated wonder can be kept in jars in the fridge for a long period of time.  I remember finding this delicacy at a party recently, and you couldn’t ask for a better fiesta favor. I must have demolished an entire garden before I realized how easily meals can be accentuated using this simple relish of humble dirt candy and vinegar. These jars can be bought at any local Italian deli and most grocery stores.

For the meatballs:

8-10 large button mushrooms

½a cup of toasted walnuts

1 tsp of soy sauce

salt, pepper

2 cloves of garlic

1 tsp Dijon mustard

¼ cup of Bread crumbs

Olive oil

1 Shallot

1 tsp of toasted fennel seeds

For the sandwich:

Submarine bread

Giardiniera relish

Tangy marinara sauce

Grana Padano cheese or any sharp cheeses (optional)*

*You can always substitute for vegan parmesan cheese. It can be found at local natural foods stores. Cheese can always be left out as well.

How to do it

Step 1: Slice the mushrooms, garlic, and shallots into small pieces. Add to sauté pan with a dash of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Cook on medium heat until the mushrooms are browned.

Step 2: Toast walnuts and fennel seeds until the fennel smell is intoxicating in the air.

Step3: In a food processor, pulse the walnuts, fennel seeds, mushrooms, shallots until it forms an almost meaty texture.

Step 4: In a mixing bowl, combine the mixture with dijon, breadcrumbs, soy sauce.  Use your hands to roll out palm-sized balls.

Step 5: Pan-fry them in a little olive oil.  After they are golden brown on both sides, add the marinara to the pan.

Step 6: Assemble the sandwich the way to like it. Cheese is always optional!

Step 7: Go to town.

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