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Chef John's Meatless Meatballs

Rated as 4.67 out of 5 Stars

"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!"
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5 h 30 m servings 421
Original recipe yields 4 servings (16 small meatballs)


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  1. 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. Watch Now
  2. 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. Watch Now
  3. 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. Watch Now
  4. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours. For best flavor and texture, refrigerate overnight. Watch Now
  5. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Watch Now
  6. 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. Watch Now
  7. Bake in the preheated oven until meatballs are lightly golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Watch Now
  8. 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. Watch Now


  • 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® 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.
  • Partner Tip
  • Reynolds® parchment can be used for easier cleanup/removal from the pan.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 421 calories; 17.9 50.1 16.9 110 1695 Full nutrition

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  1. 511 Ratings

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Most helpful positive review

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 br...

Most helpful critical review

It is quite tasty but I have to get used to the texture. It was a little different...

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Least positive

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 br...

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 clo...

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 ne...

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 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 us...

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 meatba...

#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 ...

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 sa...

I am a vegan and you could have done this a little better by taking out the dairy.