I’ve shared with you my serious leaning toward the burger as a warm, satisfying handheld meal. My experiments in veggie burgering are many and I’ve enjoyed every one; however, there are only so many warm satisfying handheld meals one can consume in a single week (this is what I’ve inferred from my crew, mind you, not my own opinion). Far be it from me, however, to simply leave the flavors of my beloved veggie burgers behind. What better way to get the flavor I’m looking for and make it LOOK like I was inventing a whole new meal just for my little one’s picky little palate than to make veggie burger neatballs? How awesome am I? And neatballs? Small, yummy, cute, warm. What picky pantser could possibly resist?
This meal has some of my favorite qualities. Delicious, easy to make, easy to double or triple for freezing, perfect leftovers, and super flexible. Being a competent and happy cook often has more to do with re-imaging something you already know how to do than with learning how to make something new every night – who has time for that? So, we make do. And sometimes that making do, that little twist, that sneaky trick, turns out to be quite delightful, like Nutshroom Neatballs.
Nutshroom Neatballs use the exact same recipe as these Better Veggie Burgers which I am now renaming Nutshroom Burgers in response to the righteous suggestion from Becca at The Earthling’s Handbook. The procedure for meatballs is the same as the Nutshroom Burgers until you get the point of shaping your food. Preheat oven to 325. For meatballs, simply scoop some burger mix into your palm and roll into a ball, whatever size works best for your crew. Yeah, it’s that simple. When you’re nearly done making balls, warm some oil in a pan on the stove over medium. Add the neatballs and allow them to brown (which means don’t flip, turn, stir or otherwise bother them too often). Brown the neatballs on as many “sides” as possible and then move to baking dish. Place in oven for at least 20 minutes. If the timing isn’t working, you can leave them longer to stay warm (they are very forgiving), but be sure to turn the heat off or down in the oven.
For our neatball dinner, we served them on a bed of rice topped with chopped raw garden chard and a drizzle of leftover pasta sauce. It was superb. Later in the week, Mr. Little Sis and I enjoyed them in the more traditional pasta w/neatballs combo. Yesterday I added the last two to a bowl of leftover picadillo. Excellent. I can also imagine these little babies being the basis for some really yummy neatball subs (an old weakness of mine) or as the focal point of some lovely holiday appetizers. What’s better than a single recipe that can provide so much yum? Okay, maybe chocolate, but that’s just obvious. Delish.