This vegetarian “meatball” sub is a nice meatless alternative to the classic!
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My sister is a unique type of vegetarian. Before she made the switch years ago she enjoyed eating meat. Loved it, really. (Her words, not mine.)
We used to live next door to each other before she started farming, and it was a really cool set-up. We’d cook together a few times a week, and
most many of the meals contained things like, bacon, bacon and more BACON.
We liked bacon. I still like bacon. SHE liked bacon when she decided to make the switch. And fried chicken. In fact, she still drools over both of them. No grossed out feelings when she watches me, or anyone else, eat meat.
So, why then, would my sister decide to become a vegetarian?
Well, the actual answer is that I started by eating meat only when I knew where it came from, and how it was raised. That got expensive and hard-ish to find. And I stopped for a while. I realized that I felt really great, plenty of energy, etc. And then I simply felt like I couldn’t justify eating an animal only because I liked the way it tastes. I still feel that way. Which sucks cause you can’t really make excuses for that one. LOL
One vegetarian decision doesn’t beget another, friends. Interesting, right?
My sister and I were chatting the other day and she mentioned making meatball subs over the weekend, based on a recipe from The Meat Lover’s Meatless Celebrations by Kim O’Donnel. Meatball subs.
Clearly I had to know more, so I quickly shot her a message asking her to photograph EVERYTHING and to follow up by sending me a recipe. I had to know how a vegetarian meatball sub turned out.
Luckily, she’s okay with entertaining my bizarre, last minute requests, starting with a shot of the cooked lentils and garlic cooling her windowsill.
Mmm… Lentils and garlic.
Followed by a shot of the meatball mixture: lentils, rice, breadcrumbs, oregano, salt, pepper and egg.
Next up: a shot of the rolled meatballs, and after this photo she chilled them for a while.
Then, FRYING! She pan-fried the meatballs on all four sides. Or, whatever you call the “sides” of a sphere shape.
And lots of mozzarella with a toasty bun? Sure!
And, of course, sauce … and … more … CHEESE.
So, wanna know the recipe? It’s pretty close to the original, but my sister did make a few changes. Enjoy!
- 6 cups water
- 1/2 cup cooked long-grain brown rice, cooled
- 1 cup dried brown or green lentils
- 5 garlic cloves: 2 whole, 3 minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 1/2 cup for panfrying
- 1 medium sized onion, grated
- 3 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 23-28oz can of tomato puree
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup unseasoned bread crumbs or panko
- 1 egg, beaten lightly
- 6 6-inch sub rolls, toasted
- Fresh mozzarella for topping
In order for the balls to hold together, the mixture should be almost sticky and the lentils need to be very soft for that to happen. If they do start to fall apart, it could be that they need to chill longer and/or the lentils need more cooking time/liquid.