Meatless Monday: Not-Meatballs

This might have been my greatest Meatless Monday victory ever. I made a point of completely ignoring the skeptical and moderately mocking eye roll that I got when a certain someone looked at what I was making, and was vindicated when we sat down at the table and a first bite was followed by an eyebrow raise… followed by another bite… followed by a, “this is actually really good.” YOU BET YOUR YOU-KNOW-WHAT IT IS! Mwahahaha. Dinner tonight was spaghetti with not-meatballs. Meaty portobellos serve as the basis, and are mixed with broccoli and black beans to create a very meatball-like, but totally amazing veggie-packed ball of healthy deliciousness. That certain someone was won over, and so was My Tiny Sous Chef, who went to town on the whole bowl like it was filled with extra TV time and garnished with candy. Seriously, I can’t make these again soon enough. Delicious and filling and quick as can be – the trifecta you know I love most. Here you go.notMB4

* 1 15oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
* ~2C chopped portobellos (gills removed; about 4 average-sized portobello caps)
* 1C minced broccoli florets
* 2T minced garlic
* 1/2C minced red onion
* 1T Worcestershire sauce
* 1T all-purpose seasoning
* 3 eggs, lightly beaten
* 1/2C plus 2T Panko breadcrumbs
* 3/4C grated Parmesan cheese
* olive oil

In a large bowl, mash up the black beans so that they’re almost completely mashed, but leave some chunks and whole beans – that’s okay and will create some good texture.

Add the mushrooms, broccoli, garlic, red onion, Worcestershire, and seasoning. Mix together so that the ingredients are combined, then add the eggs, Panko, and cheese, and mix carefully until they’re fully combined.notMB1

Heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. When it shimmers, start forming one- to one-and-a-half-inch balls of the mixture, placing them into the hot oil as you make them. Cook them about 2-3 minutes, then flip them, allowing them to get a nice crust on all sides.


If you’re serving them over pasta, boil the pasta to al dente, then drain, reserving just a bit of pasta water. Add your favorite tomato sauce to the pasta, add the not-meatballs, and carefully mix to sauce the whole thing. Then serve. You’ll be as impressed as your tablemates, I promise!

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