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mushroom meatballs
by Jamie Vespa on Wednesday April 11, 2018
Vegetarian Mushroom Meatballs in Spanish Olive-Tomato Sauce

Vegetarian mushroom meatballs in a Spanish-inspired tomato sauce with olives, feta, and herbs make for a hearty but not heavy dish that is ready for your weeknight dinner rotation.


**Mushroom Meatballs**

  • 4 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups finely chopped portobello or shiitake mushroom caps
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh chopped oregano
  • ½ tsp. soy sauce or fish sauce
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 2 Tbsp. milk
  • 2 Tbsp. whole wheat breadcrumbs

**Spanish Olive-Tomato Sauce**

  • ¾ cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup lower-sodium vegetable broth
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • ½ tsp. sugar
  • ¼ tsp. each crushed red pepper flakes, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced Castelvetrano olives, plus more for garnish


  1. Heat 2 tsp. of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add mushrooms; cook 4 to 5 minutes, until golden. Add onions, reduce heat to medium. Cook 5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic, thyme, and oregano; cook 1 minute. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool 10 minutes. Add soy (or fish) sauce, salt, pepper, egg, oats, and milk; stir to combine. Refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes. Stir in breadcrumbs. Form mixture into 12 mini meatballs.
  2. Either cook meatballs stovetop in a nonstick skillet coated with olive oil over medium heat, turning to brown all sides, until golden-brown, or bake meatballs on a foil-lined baking sheet at 375°F for 15 to 17 minutes, followed by 1 to 2 minutes under the broiler, until golden-brown.
  3. Prepare tomato sauce by heating remaining 2 tsp. olive oil in the same skillet over medium heat. Add onions; cook 5 minutes, until softened. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring often. Add tomatoes, broth, paprika, sugar, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper; bring mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, uncovered, 15 minutes, using a wooden spoon or potato masher to lightly crush tomatoes, until sauce thickens. Stir in feta cheese and olives. Add meatballs to sauce; garnish with additional herbs and olives, if desired. Serve over pasta, zucchini noodles, or grain of choice.
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Serves: 4 servings

Nutrition Information

Serving size: ¼th of recipe Calories: 245 Fat: 12 gm Saturated fat: 2 gm Carbohydrates: 27 gm Sugar: 7 gm Sodium: 683 mg Fiber: 4 gm Protein: 8 gm

Jamie Vespa, MS, RD, LD/N, is a former TGH dietitian who is now assistant nutrition editor at Cooking Light magazine. You can find more of her recipes on TGH Health News and on her blog, Dishing Out Health.