Meatless Meatball Subs

I like to juggle a lot of balls. Not real balls, silly. Hyperbole balls. Imaginary balls of To Do List / Must Remember This / Don't Forget This kind of balls. Balls that swell and shrink in size depending on their level of to-do-ness. Yesterday might as well have been a circus with how many balls were flying around my kitchen.

Tomato sauce canning (we'll call that a red ball). Vegetable stock making (yellow ball?). Meatless meatballs (brown balls, literally). From-scratch hamburger buns (beige balls, for sure).

Three of these balls combined to make some very lovely Meatless Meatball Subs, perfect for your Meatless Monday. Because you partake in that, right? Oprah really got to you and you can't go back? I thought so.

Don't want to juggle a lot of balls? I don't blame you. Buy the buns at the store (though try to get nice, doughy ones from a good bakery). Pop open a jar of marinara sauce. But don't skimp on the meatballs. Make these yourself. Because you can adjust the seasoning any way you like and really have at it.

Recipes after the jump...

Meatless Meatballs

Makes about 18 one inch meatballs. Adapted from Yves Veggie Cuisine.

  • One package Yves Meatless Ground Round Original (vegetarian)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/4 cup wheat gluten (comes in a small box, available in the baking mix aisle of most grocery stores)
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs (Panko work just fine)
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • hot sauce if you like

Preheat oven to 350 F. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a sheet pan, set aside.

In a food processor or mixer, combine all ingredients. Blend for about 1 - 2 minutes until everything is fully incorporated. Mix should be wet and sticky and veggie meat should break down into smaller bits.

With clean hands, roll about 2 tablespoons of mix into round balls. Place on baking sheet, arranged evening. They will retain their shape perfectly while baking.

Bake for 20 minutes. Outsides of meatballs will be somewhat crispy, while insides remain moist.

Feel free to double or triple this recipe, bake as directed above and freeze for later.

Hamburger Buns

Makes 8 buns. Adapted from King Arthur Flour

  • 3/4 to 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast

In a large mixer, combine water and yeast. Leave alone for 2 - 3 minutes.

After yeast has bloomed slightly in water, add remaining ingredients and mix on low with dough hook attachment for 4 - 5 minutes, until a soft, spongy dough has formed.

Use your hands to shape the dough into a round ball and place back in bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm corner of your kitchen for 1 - 2 hours, until dough has about doubled in bulk.

Once dough has risen, remove from bowl and gently divide into 8 pieces on a floured board or counter. Use your hands to make rounds and flatten to about 1" thick. Place formed buns on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover with kitchen towel and allow to rise for another hour.

Buns will be puffy after second rise, and ready for baking. Preheat oven to 375 F.

Brush with olive oil or melted butter and place in preheated oven for 15 - 18 minutes, until lightly golden brown.

Cool buns slightly before cutting in half for meatball subs.

Meatless Meatball Subs

To prepare sub sandwiches, place 3 - 4 meatballs on a fresh hamburger bun and slather with hot marinara or tomato sauce. Serve warm.

Check out tomorrow's blog for my homemade, canned tomato sauce recipe.