Hi friends, happy Friday! Better yet, happy Friday-before-a-holiday-weekend!
Aka the best kind of Friday.
I don’t know about you, but the week before a holiday always seems so chaotic. I feel like I’m constantly running around like a chicken with its head cut off just trying to do all. the. things. In fact, as I write this at 10PM on Thursday, I realize that this is probably one of the first times I’ve really sat down for more than 15 minutes all day. I almost forgot how good it feels to just SIT. Then again, I have a feeling I’ll be singing a different tune tomorrow after sitting in the car for 6 hours..
Anywhooo, chances are I’m not the only one out there with a mile-long to-do list this week.. so let me just cut to the chase. These Greens & Beans Vegetarian Meatballs are pretty fantastic and you should probably make them ASAP. The end.
Too much chase, not enough details? Alright fine, let me take a step back and try that again.
These vegetarian meatballs were inspired by the Greens & Beans Burgers that I came across while I was flipping through one of my favorite cookbooks, Seriously Delish by Jessica Merchant of How Sweet Eats.
How Sweet Eats was one of the first food blogs that I started reading back in 2010 and it continues to be one of my all-time-favorite food blogs. Not only are Jessica’s posts absolutely hilarious to read (seriously, her sarcasm and wit are top of the line), but then you get to the food and oh my gosh, THE FOOD.
I’ve actually had these burgers bookmarked (along with, like, 50 other recipes) ever since I first got my hands on her cookbook three years ago. So, when I realized that I could incorporate these burgers into this month’s Recipe Redux challenge, I definitely did a little happy dance.
The challenge for this month was “Grab a Book and Cook” and the rules were pretty much just that – grab a cookbook that’s laying around and ReDux a recipe of your choice. The only catch? The recipe has to be on a page that has a combination of the numbers 2, 0, 1, or 7 to celebrate the end of 2017.
Well, apparently, the food gods were on my side this month because I opened up my book to page 217 and the most gorgeous Greens & Beans Burgers were staring back at me. Fate? I think so.
I have no doubt that the original recipe would be fan-flippin’-tastic as it is.. after all, I’ve never made a recipe by Jessica that I didn’t want to absolutely faceplant into (nor a recipe that I didn’t ACTUALLY faceplant into). But, for the sake of this challenge, I knew I had to change a few things up in order to make it my own.
So, as you may have noticed, I decided to turn these veggie burgers into little veggie meatballs. I decided to go the meatball route for a couple of reasons…
1) As much as I absolutely adore veggie burgers, I just wasn’t really feeling them that day. You see, in the summer, I’m alllll about veggie burgers. But once winter hits, I’m ready to trade burgers in for meatballs (because, let’s be real, meatballs are a heck of a lot easier to toss onto pasta). And winter = the season of pasta.
2) These little veggie balls make for the most festive little red & green appetizer when served with a side of marinara. So, if you’re still in the market for an easy Christmas appetizer or hor d’oeuvre, look no further! (But if you did want to look a little further, then this Italian Greens & Beans Bruschetta would also fit the bill.) Hmm I’m starting to sense a pattern..
3) My Vegetarian Eggplant Meatballs were such a hit that I couldn’t wait to recreate another version that could be enjoyed year round!
I also decided to nix the bacon that the original recipe called for in order to keep the recipe vegetarian-friendly and substitute frozen spinach in place of fresh to make it more cost-effective $$ (and it’s also what I happened to have on hand).
The result was nothing short of delicious and I have a feeling I’m going to be adding this recipe to my meal-prep rotation. Similar to my Eggplant Meatballs, these Greens & Beans Vegetarian Meatballs can be prepped ahead of time and frozen until you’re ready to bake them. I can’t tell you how many times frozen meatballs have saved my booty on busy weeknights!
I’d love to know if you make this recipe (or any of my recipes for that matter). Follow/tag me on social media so I can live vicariously through your delicious eats!
Greens & Beans Vegetarian Meatballs are a quick, easy, and affordable freezer-friendly meal that's packed with plant-based protein and flavor! Serve with your favorite dipping sauce for a simple appetizer or toss with pasta for a satisfying meatless meal.
- 1/2 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 medium shallot, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 1 1/2 cups (15oz can) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 1/4 cup frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
- 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tbsp parmesan cheese, freshly shredded
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Add 1/2 tsp olive oil to a medium nonstick skillet and heat over medium-low. Add diced shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent (about 4-5 minutes). Add minced garlic and continue to sauté for about a minute, until golden and fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
To the bowl of a food processor, add cooked shallots and garlic, beans, salt and pepper. Pulse for a few seconds until beans are roughly chopped, but not pureed. Add spinach and continue to pulse until combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Transfer bean mixture to a medium bowl and fold in remaining ingredients (sun-dried tomatoes, breadcrumbs, egg, and parmesan cheese) until well combined. Form the mixture into golf-ball sized balls, packing each ball tightly so that they hold together well. Place meatballs on prepared baking sheet about 1-2" apart.
Bake for about 25 minutes, flipping every 10 minutes, until meatballs are golden brown and firm to the touch. Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce (i.e. marinara, pesto, hummus, etc.) for a filling appetizer or toss with pasta and sauce for a more substantial meal.
Makes about 18-20 meatballs.
Leftovers may be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days. To reheat, simply place desired number of meatballs in a 350 degree oven until warm, about 10 minutes. Cooked meatballs may also be reheated in the microwave; however, this will cause them to lose some of their crisp texture.
To make ahead: Prepare the meatball mixture as written. Cover and refrigerate until ready to bake.
To freeze: Prepare the meatball mixture as written and form into balls. Place unbaked meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in freezer for about 1 hour until firm. Transfer frozen meatballs to an airtight container or large freezer ziplock bag and return to freezer. When ready to bake, remove from freezer and place directly on prepared baking sheet. Frozen meatballs may be baked using the directions listed above (you may need to increase the baking time slightly).
Recipe adapted from the Greens & Beans Burgers in Seriously Delish: 150 Recipes for People Who Totally Love Food by Jessica Merchant.