Did you ever go through a phase where you on this kick with a certain food that you literally ate it every day either as the main dish or as a side to it? Sure you’d change the ways it was use but it still was the same thing. Well that’s kinda how this recipe came about. See Mr. Fantabulous was on this major sweet potato kick. Every week I’d bake 5 pounds of them. For him it was always the same way – butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. For me I went honey and cinnamon, roasted grape or even into a sweet potato pecan casserole. But it was towards the end of the week and we were both getting tired of the same old thing however I had large cooked sweet potato in the fridge and I just couldn’t bear the thought of another sweet potato. Well that’s when this idea hit me… sorta.
See I hadn’t set out on making vegetarian meatballs however it kinda just happened. I was making my Mozzarella Stuffed Italian Meatballs for us (and for the freezer) when I this recipe kinda just popped in my mind.
While the meat ones were baking I got to making this recipe. There is no rhyme or reason why I chose to use these ingredients. Truth be told it was more like a ‘clean-out’ recipe. What’s that? It means I was cleaning out my fridge of leftovers and tossed them all in this dish. Like I said, sometimes the best recipes just happen. I had some leftover brown rice (btw cooked quinoa works awesome in these as well), a lonely chipotle pepper and other stuff that just got dumped into the bowl and mixed together.
When I mixed these up due to it being mashed sweet potato and no real fillers (i.e., breadcrumbs), the mixture is quite tacky/sticky and not quite firm. They will hold a shape however I wanted them to be a big more firmer. Thus, instead of adding fillers I opted to shape them into balls and refrigerate them. By allowing the mixture to chill, the veggie meatballs firmed up ensuring they would hold their shape when baked.
Now before you ask, no I have not tried frying them. Why? They are healthy and frying them just negates that whole health-factor. We want these skinny and healthy, not fried. And no, do not bake these on a cooling rack. The mixture is still soft and I think it would sink down through the rungs while baking. Go with baking them on sprayed parchment paper.
As these were baking my house was filled with such great aromatics. I could smell the warmness of the sweet potato and just that hint from the chipotle pepper. It was so inviting and comforting. Now I will fess up, Mr. Fantabulous refused to even try these. Normally I can get him out of his comfort zone with most foods but when it comes to ‘veggie’ type things he pretty adamant. I asked him to try them and after he gave them the once over and asked “is that one of your funky non-meat concoctions that you know I don’t like cause it’s not real meat recipes?” Oh that man… God love him I swear. So these, these were ALL MINE! Trust me I was so happy as I loved them!
Since I wasn’t sure how the outside would turn out I lightly misted them with cooking spray just to get that crispy/firm outside with that warm and tender center. Do you have an olive oil mister? OMG I LOVE mine! Seriously it has made times like these, when you just want a mist of oil versus trying to control the pour with your finger (which I can never get right and end up putting on too much).
As you can see above these turned out golden brown on the outside and super moist on the inside. When I tried one by itself it was really great and could stand on it’s own but I’m a sauce girl. Either my meatballs have to be floating in sauce or they need a sauce to be dipped into. Now I really pushed the heat with these but I’m telling you what folks, my Spicy Satan Chipotle Remoulade Sauce was PERFECT with this! And to balance it all out I served it with hot buttered crusty french baguettes.
The warm buttery bread pair perfectly with the meatballs. Soon though I found myself slathering some butter on the bread, taking a warm veggie ball and smushing it down on the bread so it covered the surface and then drizzling just a bit of the satan sauce on top. OMG.. MIND BLOWN! This was amazing! Honestly I ate that combination every day for several days. But like how I started above, you get tired of the same thing so then I go to thinking, how else could I eat these meatballs?
So if you want to go full on vegetarian, make these, spiralize some zucchini, squash and carrots. Saute them up in some olive oil, salt and pepper and add in a few of these meatballs (whole or chopped up). For the sauce just add in some of that satan sauce and inhale! Of course you can go the full-blown pasta way and use marinara sauce and noodles garnishing with some cheese as well. The possibilities with these veggie meatballs are endless!
Oh oh oh! I almost forgot! So I decided to use these on a pizza the one night! I made my simple pizza dough recipe that is no fail (love this recipe!!) I used a zesty pizza sauce, fresh basil and fresh mozzarella. OMG this was sooooooooooooooooo good! Like good times 25!
And let’s talk freezing… these freeze beautifully! Now I did not freeze them prior to cooking. I never do that with meatballs, meat or meatless. I don’t like the texture they end up when you do that. So make these as normal, allow to cool completely and then freeze. To reheat, just pop in the microwave for a minute or two or in the oven at 350F for about 10 minutes or until completely warmed through.
So next time you find yourself with an extra cooked sweet potato and a little of this and a little of that in the fridge, throw that stuff all in a bowl, mix it together and make some killer vegetarian meatballs!
- 1 1/3 cup cooked sweet potato, mashed
- 1 cup shelled chickpeas
- 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, chopped small
- 1/2 cup whole oats
- 1 cup oat flour
- 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 chipotle pepper, minced
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp parsley
- 1 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 cup onions, chopped
- 2 tsp garlic, minced
- 2 tsp butter, unsalted
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 large egg or egg substitute
- In a medium skillet over medium heat add the butter and oil.
- When the butter starts to slightly bubble and melt add in the onions and sauté, stirring gently to coat.
- After 2 minutes add in the 1/2 tsp of salt and stir.
- Once the onions begin to turn soft and translucent (~6-7 minutes) add in the garlic cooking for a minute while stirring.
- Remove the pan from the heat.
- In a medium bowl add in the sweet potato, egg, chickpeas, red peppers, chipotle pepper and the rest of the seasonings.
- Using a large spoon gently mix the mixture.
- Add in the oats, oat flour and rice mixing until well combined.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
- Using lightly damp hands form into meatballs about 1” around (about 2-3 Tbl of the mixture).
- Place the veggie meatballs on the parchment paper leaving a slight gap in between (just don’t let them touch).
- Loosely cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for one hour.
- When ready to bake preheat oven to 400F, rack in the middle.
- Remove the pan from the fridge and lightly mist the meatballs with olive oil.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the outside has started to just brown and they are firm to the touch.
- Remove from the oven and serve with Satan Chipotle Remoulade Sauce.