Zoodles with Parmesan Mushroom Meatballs
Adapted slightly from Cooktoria
A healthy, delicious meatless dish made from mushrooms, zucchini (ok, I used yellow squash), and a bit of cheese and breadcrumbs that is surprisingly convincing at masquerading as the “real” thing.
Meatballs made of mushrooms? Yes, I went there. Yes, if you pay close attention, you will be able to tell there really isn’t any meat there, but somehow they do sort of fool you into thinking you are really eating spaghetti and meatballs. The right textures are there, and the right colors. The sauce pulls it all together and makes it real.
I had a bunch of mushrooms in my fridge (yeah, I have a bad habit of buying too much food …), so I went trolling the internet looking for something interesting to do with them. And even though I’m not a vegetarian (and I have to admit, I am tempted to toss some REAL meatballs in with the mushroom ones), when I stumbled across this recipe from Cooktoria, it felt like something that needed to happen.
It was funny how much the chopped mushrooms resembled meat as I was cooking them, and how much they looked like meat when I was making them into balls … and even funnier how they kind of taste like meat when I ate them. But then mushrooms have always been sort of meaty tasting, in their own earthy sort of way. That’s one of the things I have always loved about them. Mushrooms are healthy, low calorie, full of good things for the body … and yeah, they have a meaty quality to them, so they make the perfect step-in for meat in a meatball.
Also interesting are the zucchini noodles (zoodles!) … they clearly are not noodles, but they looked like noodles and while I could certainly tell that they weren’t real pasta, they did a dang good job of tricking my brain into thinking I was eating a carb-ilicious meal, without all the carbs. It certainly wasn’t my first time eating zoodles, but I was once again amazed at how easily my mind was fooled.
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 of a medium onion, peeled & chopped fine
- 2 - 3 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped fine
- 10 oz. mushrooms, chopped fine
- 1/2 cup quick cooking oatmeal (for GF, use gluten free oats)
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (for GF, use gluten free breadcrumbs)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt)
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg, whisked.
- 1 - 2 yellow crookneck squash or zucchini (about 8 inches or so), made into zoodles (zucchini noodles) with a zoodler
- 1 - 2 teaspoons avocado oil
- Red Robin Seasoning & freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Marinara sauce, freshly shredded parmesan cheese and fresh oregano or basil leaves
- Heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat, then add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently until the mushrooms are browned and the liquid has pretty much evaporated.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the mushroom mixture, oats, breadcrumbs, seasonings and cheese. Stir in the egg. Put the mixture into an airtight container, cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Shape the mushroom mixture into balls about 1 - 1 1/2 inches in diameter, setting them on the prepared pan.
- Bake the mushroom meatballs at 400 F for about 15 minutes or until set. Carefully transfer them to a saucepan and pour marinara sauce over to coat the meatballs. Heat over low heat for 15 minutes more.
- While the meatballs are simmering in the sauce, add the avocado oil to a frying pan and saute the zucchini noodles until tender.
- Transfer the zoodles to a plate and top with the meatballs and sauce. Sprinkle with extra parmesan and fresh herbs and serve.
You may need a second squash to make 4 servings. One zucchini or yellow squash is about 2 servings.
RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/
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