Makes about 20 meatballs
I made these once for a pack of far-from-vegan guy friends and they scarfed them down. They were shocked to learn that they were vegetarian, let alone vegan! Trust me—this is your new dinner party go-to recipe.
MAKE-AHEAD TIP: The meatball mixture can be made in advance, shaped into balls, and kept refrigerated or frozen until ready to panfry. Pesto Sauce can be made in advance and kept refrigerated for up to 5 days.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1½ cups cooked brown rice, cooled
- ½ cup Italian bread crumbs
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1½ teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
- Canola oil for frying
- Slider buns or dinner rolls
- 1 cup tomato sauce, heated
- Classic Pesto Sauce
- Fresh basil leaves for assembly
For the meatballs:
Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, and cook onion and mushrooms until soft and lightly browned. Add garlic and cook a few more minutes. Transfer to a food processor. Reserve skillet for later use.
Add cooled brown rice, bread crumbs, flour, basil, salt, pepper, and red pepper, if using, to the food processor. Pulse until the mixture just comes together. If necessary, transfer the mixture to a large bowl and mix with your hands. Season to taste and let cool slightly. Form the mixture into 1- or 2-inch balls to fit your bun size. Heat canola oil in the reserved nonstick skillet over mediumhigh heat, and panfry meatballs in batches, adding more oil as needed.
Slice slider buns in half and brush the insides with olive oil. Toast in a sauté pan over medium heat until lightly browned on the edges. Layer a spoonful of tomato sauce, a meatball, a spoonful of pesto sauce, and a basil leaf in each slider bun. Stick each slider with a party pick to hold it together. Serve immediately.