Valentine's Day is RIGHT around the corner and one popular go-to date is a romantic home-cooked meal. But what to make?? Don't worry, I got you. What's more traditionally romantic than spaghetti and meatballs?
But my meatball recipe is a little different. Today I have a vegetarian meatball recipe for you! I know what you're thinking, there's no such thing as a good meatless meatball. But you would be wrong. How do I know this? Because I lied to my husband for years telling him that this was just a regular ol' meatball recipe and he never suspected a thing. That's how good this recipe is! It started out with me just wanting him to try the meatballs without the vegetarian-recipe-stigma and turned into seeing how long I could keep up the charade. He didn't find out until I came clean years later!
***For anyone wondering if I just use a really good meat substitute, I'm not a big fan of those personally so this is a completely meat and meat substitute free recipe!
If I've piqued your curiosity, let's get started!
I'll just be walking you through the meatballs for this recipe so you're on your own for the spaghetti and sauce. In keeping with the vegetarian aspect of this recipe though, I would suggest a nice marinara for the sauce. Alfredo is Nathan's favorite for this dish!
In a large bowl, add your breadcrumbs and pecan meal. (If you can’t find pecan meal you should be able to substitute almond flour instead, but I’ve never tried it.) Dice a small onion (the finer the dice, the better) and add that as well.
Shred a generous half cup of sharp cheddar cheese and add it to the bowl.
Dump in three whisked eggs and your minced garlic.
Combine all of your spices and herbs in a small bowl and then add that mixture to the large bowl. This helps to ensure the flavors are well dispersed throughout your meatballs.
Now you're ready to sir everything together until it is thoroughly combined.
Once everything is mixed together, start rolling it into little balls.
There are two ways I go about cooking these:
Option 1: Cover a pan with about an inch or so of cooking oil and fry a few meatballs at a time turning over every so often to make sure all sides are evenly cooked. When they're browned and hold together, they're ready to transfer onto a paper towel to absorb any excess oil and then onto a serving dish
Option 2: Air fryer! This is my favorite option because you don't have to deal with any oil. Set your air fryer to 375° and cook about 4 or 5 meatballs at a time. (You don't want them to touch in the basket.) Cook for about 4 minutes, flip them, and cook for another four minutes. When they're browned and hold together, they're ready to set on a serving dish.
Whichever cooking method you use, feel free to experiment with cook time to get them how you like them. But one nice thing about this recipe is you don't have to worry about under-doing them and having raw meat! 😉
Add your meatballs to your spaghetti and sauce of choice and serve with some garlic bread and candlelight and you are all set for a romantic night in!