Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Spaghetti and Meatlessballs

I apologize for the picture quality.  It was taken when my camera was out of commission.  Pics at The Curvy Carrot are much better.

I will state right off the bat that this is NOT my original recipe, but man is it worth sharing.  I am vegetarian, have been for almost 20 years (yikes! I'm getting old) and I love it - being vegetarian that is, not aging.  There is one thing I miss though and it is NOT bacon.  I know, most vegetarians I've talked to really miss the bacon.  For me, the flavor of most meat is just too intense and the texture has become foreign.  Yes, I've sampled a meat here and there over the years and am happy to say that I was meant to be vegetarian.  BUT, I LOVED my mother's meatballs.  She used a recipe from a vintage Betty Crocker cookbook.  When she'd reach for that thick book covered in faded red gingham I could already smell their savory aroma.  I even loved mixing the bread, eggs, ground beef and spices with my hands and forming the extra-large orbs that would adorn my overflowing plate of spaghetti.

I've tried frozen vegetarian "meatballs" and have yet to find anything worth eating let alone forking over outrageous amounts of cash.  My oldest son LOVES meatballs but I don't cook meat.  I've cooked it no more than 4 times in the past 20 years.  It's not my thing. I get nervous that I won't cook it thoroughly enough or that I will cook it too much and it will be dry.  I've done ok with some roast chicken, but really, a good rule of thumb is - you don't want me cooking your meat.

Then, while wasting valuable time perusing pinterest I came across these Savory Spinach Bites from The Curvy Carrot (check it out, it's a collection of fantastic looking recipes - Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Cupcakes - umm, yes please).  I honestly didn't have high expectations the first time I made these so to say I was blown away is an understatement.  While I was cooking dinner I served them to my family just the way the recipe suggests.  My husband asked, "Are these turkey meatballs?".  That's when I realized that not only were these full of savory deliciousness as the name implies, they would be the perfect substitute for a meatball.  Hence, our family's Spaghetti and Meatlessballs was born.  It is now a staple in our home and we all look forward to it - including my 13-month-old and extremely, ridiculously, nauseatingly picky 2.5-year-old.  I think I'm going to make a bunch and freeze them so we are never without.

So, eat em with spaghetti or as an appetizer with a side of sauce, I don't care, but eat em!

Savory Spinach Bites (adapted ever so slightly from The Curvy Carrot)
 Servings: 18-24 spinach bites, depending on how big you make them
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 small onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon minced garlic (about 1 clove)
2 10-ounces packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 8-ounce bag of herbed seasoned stuffing mix.  I use Pepperidge Farm because it’s the only mainstream vegetarian stuffing around.
6 large eggs
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1-2 tbsp flax meal (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter

3. Add onion and cook until the onions are translucent and soft, about 5 minutes or so.

4. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Remove the pan from the heat and let cool.

5. In the meantime, remove excess water from thawed spinach by pressing it between paper towels. **You do not need to cook the spinach.

6. In a large bowl, combine the stuffing mix, flax, spinach, eggs, Parmesan, salt and pepper, and onion/garlic mixture.  Combine well.

7. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

8. One at a time, using your hands, roll the mixture into individual 1-inch balls.  Place each one on the parchment-lined baking sheet.

9. Bake the balls for about 15-20 minutes, or until very slightly browned.


  1. This looks delicious! I know what we are having for dinner tomorrow night ;)

    1. It is phenomenal! I can't wait to make more. Let me know how you like them.