Rating: 4.68 stars
549 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 443
  • 4 star values: 64
  • 3 star values: 20
  • 2 star values: 14
  • 1 star values: 8

I made this recipe to celebrate Earth Day. Thanks to a thorough browning, mushrooms provide more than enough savoriness. The garlic, cheese, and parsley do the rest. What really blew me away was how close the texture was to actual meatballs. They are officially approved for use on spaghetti!

Recipe Summary test

prep:
30 mins
cook:
1 hr
additional:
4 hrs
total:
5 hrs 30 mins
Servings:
4
Yield:
16 small meatballs
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Ingredients

4
Original recipe yields 4 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms to the hot oil, sprinkle with salt, and cook and stir until liquid from mushrooms has evaporated. Stir butter into mushrooms, reduce heat to medium, and cook and stir mushrooms until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

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  • Stir onion into mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until onion is translucent, 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and stir garlic into mushroom mixture until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl.

  • Mix oats into mushroom mixture until thoroughly combined. Gently stir 1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese into mixture. Add bread crumbs, 1/4 cup parsley, and 1 egg; season with salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and oregano. Mix together with a fork until crumbly. Stir in remaining 1 egg. Mixture should hold together when pressed.

  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours. For best flavor and texture, refrigerate overnight.

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

  • Form mixture into small meatballs using a 2-tablespoon scoop. Roll meatballs lightly between your hands until smooth, if desired; arrange meatballs on prepared baking sheet.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until meatballs are lightly golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.

  • Bring pasta sauce to a boil in a large saucepan; reduce heat to low. Gently stir meatballs into sauce until coated. Simmer meatballs in sauce until cooked through, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with 1 tablespoon Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and 1 tablespoon parsley.

Cook's Note:

It looks like a ton of Parmesan cheese in the video, but it was only 1 ounce. Because I used a Microplane(R) to grate it, it created a huge-looking pile of cheese. It would be about 1/2 cup if you measure it, but use weight for this ingredient.

Nutrition Facts

421 calories; protein 16.9g; carbohydrates 50.1g; fat 17.9g; cholesterol 110.4mg; sodium 1695.2mg. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (553)

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
07/01/2013
I've made these meatballs a couple of times. They are delicious with spaghetti and make a dynamite meatball sub! I used Quaker Old Fashioned Oats since that's the kind I had, and I used Panko bread crumbs. The video instructions say to cool the mushroom mixture after adding the oats. The written instructions above omits that step. I followed the video instructions and let the mixture cool to room temperature before adding the cheese and remaining ingredients. Read More
(229)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
11/17/2014
It is quite tasty but I have to get used to the texture. It was a little different... Read More
(11)
549 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 443
  • 4 star values: 64
  • 3 star values: 20
  • 2 star values: 14
  • 1 star values: 8
Rating: 5 stars
07/01/2013
I've made these meatballs a couple of times. They are delicious with spaghetti and make a dynamite meatball sub! I used Quaker Old Fashioned Oats since that's the kind I had, and I used Panko bread crumbs. The video instructions say to cool the mushroom mixture after adding the oats. The written instructions above omits that step. I followed the video instructions and let the mixture cool to room temperature before adding the cheese and remaining ingredients. Read More
(229)
Rating: 5 stars
05/08/2015
Color me impressed! I was skeptical that these could be as good as the real deal, but I stand corrected. If the mushrooms are chopped finely in the food processor, even the texture is darned close. I suggest processing the mushrooms rather than trying to chop finely enough by hand, which is tedious work. I processed a half pound at a time, and in under 10 seconds of pulsing, they were nice and fine. After making according to the recipe exactly the first time, I made only one small change going forward. Since the object is to try to closely simulate a real meatball in flavor as well as texture, I started with the onion. Instead of adding it to the browned mushrooms, I began by carmelizing the onion in the olive oil. Then I proceeded with the recipe as written. This lends one more layer of meaty flavor and gives a nuanced complexity. I'll definitely make spaghetti and these puppies on Lenten Fridays, as well as "meatball" subs. If they come apart when added to the sauce, it's because the mushrooms were not cooked long enough before adding the rest of the ingredients. Cook until dry. Allowing a minimum of one hour for them to simmer in the sauce is necessary for the taste to meld and develop appropriately. The only way anyone would know they're a vegetarian alternative is the appearance, as real meatballs do not tend to be that dark on the inside. One other note, this recipe always yields 24 for me, (using a 2 Tb scoop) not 16, a fact that doesn't bother us at all! Read More
(190)
Rating: 4 stars
09/18/2013
If I could rate this on taste alone it would get a 5! These are great and the texture is amazing. I also like the colour mix in it. However these didn't hold together very well for me and I needed to cook them for an extra 5-6 mins in the oven to ensure that they didn't fall apart when I was cooking them in the pasta sauce. Chop everything very finely and add extra breadcrumbs if neeeded. Read More
(63)
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Rating: 5 stars
07/29/2013
Yummy! I have tried store-bought phony meatballs & have never found one I liked. These are really good. They were time consuming to make, but I made a double batch, so that did take more time. I urge you to watch the video before attempting this recipe because Chef John is not only cool & has an awesome voice, he also has great tips for making the best meatballs. I chopped my mushrooms, as he said, to about the size of a kernel of corn, but wish I would have made them a tad smaller. I sautéed my onions separately only because I was feeding anti-onion eaters. I also used half eggs & half egg substitute made out of flax meal and water. This recipe is a keeper! Read More
(48)
Rating: 5 stars
06/16/2013
I made these for my dad for Father's Day. I used the food processor to get the mushrooms and onions nice and small; glad I did. It was amazing how much this recipe actually looks like meat. I used a small ice cream scoop just like I do for meatbalIs. I only refriderated a couple of hours and i am curious how much better they would be refrigerated overnight. I must confess dad did not get the full serving of meatless-meatballs because It was so good before I even put it in the refrigerator (had to sample) and then amazing after it was cooked ( had to sample). I will make this again and turn my vegetarian friends onto it. Thanks once again Chef John. Read More
(45)
Rating: 5 stars
09/19/2013
I love mushrooms. My husband and son do not share this view with me. While I was making the recipe my son came up and said "I am NOT going to like that!" He ended up eating most of the meatballs. My husband loved the recipe and is now making them again tonight (4 days later). Great recipe, thanks for helping to turn my family into mushroom believers! Read More
(39)
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Rating: 5 stars
02/10/2016
#1: Delicious! Stayed together like a real meatball with a firm outside(be sure you flip often in the oven to crisp up all the sides) and melt-in-your mouth center. I used a small cookie scoop to get uniform balls. #2: Easy to make vegan! Replace eggs with a flax meal eggs, replace butter with a reduced amount of coconut oil, be sure the bread crumbs are vegan, and replace cheese with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast. 1/4 of the recipe(4-5 medium balls), veganized and without sauce, only 185 calories! Read More
(30)
Rating: 5 stars
05/25/2014
This is the best meat free recipe i have found! i used baby bellas, gruyere cheese and egg beaters. Next time i will veganize it with vegan parm and a flax egg. i served it with red gravy for sandwiches and also made a glaze of angry orchard hard cider, organic blackstrap molasses, soy and pink peppercorns. both were excellent! Read More
(26)
Rating: 4 stars
05/13/2014
I am a vegan and you could have done this a little better by taking out the dairy. Read More
(22)
Rating: 3 stars
11/17/2014
It is quite tasty but I have to get used to the texture. It was a little different... Read More
(11)