My family really likes meatballs. Maybe it’s because they are super easy to put together, or perhaps it’s because I can easily sneak in whatever additional nutrients I want and I know that they will eat them up. They are familiar, and comforting and oh so tasty. We have been eating at least two to three veggie meals a week and so I have been tasked with creating options that feel familiar to the kids, with ingredients that they perhaps would normally not love. And so, I introduce these scrumptious little morsels, vegetarian meatballs.
Instead of using a base of beans like so many other recipes call for, I used cauliflower! And boy did they not disappoint. The first time I tried them out on my family my husband didn’t even realize they weren’t the regular “meatballs” I make and my kids gladly ate them up. The next few times I tested the recipe I added in even more goodies and my eldest actually praised them, saying how good they were. Whereas my little one, liked them so much she was grabbing them of the table before they were even smothered in marinara sauce. Pretty sure these are going into regular rotation for our family and I hope these vegetarian meatballs end up on your tables as well.
The base of the meatballs are cauliflower and rice (or quinoa), but then the rest of the flavour is all in the spices and seasoning. With the addition of plenty of garlic and onion, oregano, paprika, basil and a high quality marinara sauce, you have yourself a healthy and seriously delicious meal. To get the outside of the meatballs nice and crispy, roll them in gluten free breadcrumbs. For whatever reason, these breadcrumbs crisp up BEAUTIFULLY, causing the outside to be perfectly crispy, the inside moist and fluffy and oh so yummy.
I hope your family enjoys these as much as we did! Bon Appetite! We love feedback, so if you try one of our recipes, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it and don’t forget to tag us in our IG photo’s using #sneakymommies.
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- 1 head of cauliflower (approx 3-4 cups), cut up into florets
- 3 cups cooked and cooled white rice, brown rice or quinoa
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup breadcrumbs, plus more for rolling the meatballs in (1/2 cup approx); use gluten free breadcrumbs for super crispy outside
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Black Pepper (season to your taste)
- Fresh basil, 6-7 leaves, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 medium onion
- 4-5 garlic cloves, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 1 jar high quality marinara sauce
- Olive oil, for frying the meatballs
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add the cauliflower florets until fork tender. This should take approx 5-8 min. Once they are fork tender, drain them well and cool.
- Add your pre-cooked rice or quinoa into a food processor, along with your cooled cauliflower. Process until semi smooth. You don't want any chunks really as you will be able to taste them in the finished product.
- Transfer the rice/quinoa and cauliflower mixture into a large bowl. Add the eggs, 1 cup of breadcrumbs, paprika, salt, black pepper, basil and oregano.
- Next, fry up the onion and garlic in a teaspoon of butter until slightly browned.
- Add the cooked onion and garlic mixture into the seasoned rice/quinoa and cauliflower mixture.
- Stir everything with a wooden spoon (or use your hands) to ensure that everything is nicely incorporated.
- Add about ½ cup of breadcrumbs onto a plate, you will be rolling your meatballs in this.
- Roll the mixture into small balls and then cover them evenly with the breadcrumbs and shake off any excess. Place the balls on a plate once all of them have been rolled.
- Heat a thin layer of olive oil on a frying pan over medium heat. Add the balls and cook for a few minutes on each side until nice and crispy. You will need to turn them every few minutes to ensure they do not brown too much.
- Serve hot with marinara sauce, pesto or anything else you have on hand!