I have been on a mission lately to make childhood favorite dishes, but without the meat. There was the mac & cheese, the tacos , a BLT sandwich, and a variety of pizzas that I have made over the last month, all in a vegetarian version. The quinoa tacos are still a favorite although the eggplant bacon is a close second. But pasta and meatballs is a little more difficult. Yes, I could go the soy crumble in sauce route and make “meat” sauce, but I really wanted spaghetti and meatballs, but without the meat.
So I found this recipe for zucchini meatballs and it intrigued me. The review were pretty good, so I thought I would give it a try. I do tend to forget to follow recipes exactly, and this was no exception. I missed a part in the very beginning about salting and squeezing the water out of the zucchini, but I made up for it later by shaping the meatballs with a paper towel and squeezing the excess water out then. I did do an initial squeeze, but it wasn’t enough.
So I started with two large zucchini and I grated them well, then squeezed out the water with paper towels. To that I added the pecorino cheese (because I like it), the garlic, basil and panko. To that, I added an egg then salt and pepper. I mixed everything together then shaped the meatballs and pressed them with a paper towel again. They then got fried in olive oil for about ten minutes, turning a few times.
Since I was going for childhood food memories, I added tomato sauce and put the whole things over pasta.
This surprisingly worked. I was skeptical and thought for a minute or two we might be ordering pizza, but it worked really well. So well, in fact, that the leftover “meatballs” will become meatball sandwiches later this week! They have a different flavor and texture than meat, but the overall feeling is spaghetti and meatballs. And since that is what I was going for, I’m calling this one a success.
And I had to add the pet pictures. Just cause.