My first time with vegan meatballs with marinara sauce happened two years ago. I made a delicious, huge sandwich stuffed with veggie balls, kale and dripping with marinara sauce.
I was in the middle of sandwich madness. I was preparing a vegan menu for Polish food chain Loveat. So, within a month or so I prepared dozens of sandwiches and salads, but the meatball version was my favourite. And not only mine, it became people favourite vegan option and after two years it’s still in menu.
But why I decided to combine vegan meatballs with marinara sauce? The answer is simple: Friends s5e20 The One with Ride-Along. In this episode Joey’s favourite sandwich is the main topic. He calls it the best sandwich in the world and it’s obviously with meatballs and marinara sauce. The sandwich is so good that Joey risk his life (almost) to safe it. So, I wanted to make a vegan version of the perfect sandwich which will be so good that you won’t share it with anybody, not even a bit. I feel like I did a good job.
The vegan version of meatballs is made of beans and champignons. In the original version I add breadcrumbs and parsley, but if you look for more fit or gluten-free version use sunflower seeds instead. In the sunflower option, I found that chives fit better than parsley. And don’t forget about good marinara sauce, it’s essential. It’s the best combo.
Another great thing about this dish is that you can eat it in many ways. The sandwich, of course, but also as a dinner or lunch with grains or pasta. Isn’t that great?
Vegan meatballs with marinara sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried mint
2 tsp sweet paprika
240G white beans (cooked or canned)
juice from 1 lemon
3 tbsp chopped parsley*
1 ¼ cup breadcrumbs**
4 tbsp nutritional yeasts
¼ cup breadcrumbs***
6 tbsp nutritional yeasts
4 tbsp olive oil
1000g tomatoes (fresh or canned)
large pinch of sugar
4 cloves garlic
20 basil leaves
6-7 kale branches
1 garlic clove
nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan
*in sunflower version replace parsley with chives
** in glutenfree or fit version replace bradcrumbs with sunflower seed (ground)
***or ground sunflower seeds
- Preheat oven to 180 degree C. Chop onion and garlic finely. Peel the champignons and chop.
- In the medium pan heat the olive oil. Add onion and fry for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and champignons and cook about 7-8 minuted. Add oregano, mint, paprika, chili (start with ¼ tsp) and some salt and black pepper. Add beans and lemon juice. Cook for about 1 minute.
- Place the cooked ingredients in a food processor and blend. Add nutritional yeast, parsley or chives and 1 cup of breadcrumbs (ground sunflower seeds). Blend again. Set aside for 5 minutes, then check the consistency. If the batter is to runny add more breadcrumbs or sunflower seeds. Add more salt, chili and black pepper if needed.
- On a flat plate mix ¼ cup breadcrumbs (ground sunflower seeds), nutritional yeasts, ½ tsp salt, chili.
- Take about 1 tbsp of the batter and form a ball. Coat with prepared breadcrumbs. Place on the oiled baking tray.
- Bake in 180 degrees for about 15 minutes, then flip the balls and bake for anther 1-15 minutes.
- In the medium pot heat the olive oil, add tomatoes, garlic, basil sugar and salt. Cook on the medium heat for 45 minutes, stirring from time to time. Blend and season with salt if needed.
- Wash the kale and tore the leaves from branches. On a small pan heat the olive oil. Add crushed garlic and fry about 1 minute, Add kale and cook for 3-4 minutes.
Coat the toasted bun with marinara sauce, add 2 tbsp kale, put 3-4 vegan meatballs, pour more marinara. You can add extra nutritional yeast or vegan parmesan. Add 1 tbsp more kale and cover with bun.
Store the rest of meatballs in marinara sauce.