Hearty quinoa meatballs are smothered in tomato sauce and stuffed into buns with grilled bell peppers and onion strips to make these crowd-pleasing vegan sandwiches!
November. There's so much going on this month. Whether you're into football or holiday planning, I think comfort food is something we can all agree that we're ready for, right?
So, let's talk comfort food. When I think back to my pre-veggie days, there aren't a whole lot of dishes that I really miss. I usually rely on other people to tell me what their favorites are, and they do, I proclaim that I never liked whatever dish they tell me, proceed to make a vegan one, and love it.
For whatever reason though, I do have a bit of a soft spot for meatball sandwiches. Maybe it has something to do with growing up in an Italian family, in which meatball sandwiches were the norm at most of our get-togethers. In any event, once I saw this recipe, I was a goner. This one is from Homestyle Vegan by Amber St. Peter of Fettle Vegan.
Even after having said all those words of praise about meatballs, it was a tough choice! This book has some serious vegan comfort food recipes and I really wanted to try them all. I also really wanted to share something holiday-esque, as lots of the recipes are (check out the pumpkin whoopie pies, green bean casserole with crunchy onions, and creamy wild mushroom soup, among others). I'm really looking forward to working my way through this book over the fall and winter months - it actually has a chapter named "Cook Up Some Comfort Food," and another one titled "Meals That'll Stick to Your Ribs." I'm all about this.
In the end, even amid all the holiday goodies, I couldn't resist the lure of meatballs.
These meatballs were unlike any vegan meatballs I've ever mad. They're made with quinoa! I was a little nervous about that, but I actually found that the quiona gave these meatballs a great meaty texture, and when they're drowned in tomato sauce, I'm sure even the staunchest of omnivores won't complain.
For more Homestyle Vegan deliciousness, grab a copy of the book on Amazon.
Quinoa Meatball Sub with Grilled Peppers + Onions
- 1 tbsp 7 g ground flax
- 3 tbsp 45 ml warm water
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 ½ cups 402 g cooked quinoa
- ½ cup 17 g loosely packed fresh basil, chopped
- ¼ cup 8 g loosely packed fresh oregano, chopped
- ½ cup 48 g panko bread crumbs
- 1 cup 200 g cooked chickpeas
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
Grilled Onions + Peppers
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cored and thinly sliced
- 4 to 6 Burger Buns, book, page 101, or store-bought
- 1 to 2 cups 250 to 500 ml Garlic Herb Pizza + Pasta Sauce (book, page 173), or store-bought, warmed
- ½ cup 80 g Vegan Parmesan, (book, page 65), or store-bought
Preheat the oven to 325ºF (163ºC). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
To make the quinoa meatballs, in a small bowl, whisk together the ground flax and warm water. Set aside to gelatinize, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Sauté the garlic until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Keep the pan on the stove to fry the meatballs in.
Combine the flax mixture, sautéed garlic, cooked quinoa, fresh basil, fresh oregano, bread crumbs, chickpeas, salt and red pepper flakes in a food processor and pulse until a thick paste forms. Move the mixture to a bowl and heat the frying pan over medium heat again. Scoop 1 ½-inch (3.8-cm) balls into the frying pan and sauté until golden and crisp, 4 to 5 minutes. Move the cooked balls to the lined baking sheet. Repeat this process until all of the meatballs are cooked.
Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 15 minutes, to heat the balls all the way through.
While the meatballs bake, prepare the grilled onions and peppers by heating the olive oil in a large frying or cast-iron pan over medium heat. Sauté the onions and peppers together until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
When everything is ready, slice open the buns and stuff 3 or 4 meatballs inside. Top with grilled onions and peppers, warm tomato sauce and a generous sprinkle of the vegan Parmesan. Serve and enjoy!
Leftover meatballs will keep for up to 1 week in the fridge. They can also be frozen and will thaw very well.
Alissa's note: I used store-bought rolls and a sprinkling of nutritional yeast in place of vegan Parmesan.