Delicious Meatless Vegetarian Meatballs in Creamy Tomato Sauce - brown rice, vegetables and cheddar make these yummy bites that the whole family will enjoy.
Brown Rice and Vegetable Meatballs
I kind of felt off about calling these meatballs, after all there is no meat in this recipe.
But they are the shaped to resemble meatballs and look like meatballs, so what else could they be called? I know some get very disgruntled by calling things like this meatballs. I could call them Brown Rice and Vegetable balls. But see what I mean? Even that doesn't sound quite right.
I am sticking to Vegetarian "Meatballs" in Creamy Sauce. Either way these are yummy and a great addition to your meal plan if you want a meat free meal.
Inspiration for Vegetarian Meatballs
Have you ever had Arancini? I was first introduced to them by my Sicilian neighbour. She makes them often and occasionally will drop in a plate. My kids love them, especially my youngest and they pretty go fast.
Not in the slightest bit healthy on Slimming Eats. Which is why I had to make these delicious Oven Baked Arancini Balls.
That later on inspired the recipe for these Risotto Patties. Perfect for a picnic or lunch when we have a day out. They are delicious served hot or cold and great with a nice mixed salad.
It's funny how one recipe can inspire another.
I actually had planned to make some of the oven baked arancini balls, but didn't have an Arborio rice (risotto rice) on hand. Instead I noticed the big jar of brown rice that was staring at me and settled on using that instead, for some vegetarian style meatballs.
Making vegetarian Meatballs
So the main ingredient used in these is cooked brown rice, but to add flavour and texture, I also added various vegetables such as carrot, zucchini, onion and garlic.
To help them hold and bind together, I used cheddar and egg. I haven't tested these using a dairy free cheese and vegan egg replacement, so not sure if they will work with those, do let me know if you try though.
Ensure you cook rice correctly so that it is not wet once cooked, as any wetness will affect how they bind together. I normally leave the rice with the lid on heat off for about 12 minutes once cooked, as steam trapped underneath will ensure any remaining moisture is absorbed.
You do need a food processor for making these vegetarian meatballs, as it will help chop everything finely so they all hold together, doing it just by hand may mean they fall apart. If you only have a stick blender, than may work, but you may have to process in two or three parts.
Can I use a different cheese?
I used mature cheddar to help these bind together and for some flavour, but use any good melting cheese of your choice. Mozzarella however is very mild tasting, so I recommend using a cheese with flavour.
Italian style Vegetarian Hard cheese is another great option to use, similar flavour to Parmesan but without any rennet.
The cream cheese part for the sauce, I used laughing cow triangles, however if you are not following Slimming Eats you can replace that with a cream cheese like Philadelphia if you prefer. Just use a similar amount.
Sides for Vegetarian Meatballs
Because these contain brown rice and other ingredients they are actually pretty filling as they are just with a salad.
They are also great over some pasta of your choice, or for a healthier low calorie option some spiralized zucchini (courgette) or a mix of both, mean you can have slightly less pasta but bulk it out with the zucchini.
More Vegetarian Recipes
Looking for some other vegetarian recipes to try? Check out these:
- Roasted Green Bean and Tomato Pasta
- Baked Bean Cheesy Potato Topped Pie
- One Pot Creamy Pesto Courgette Pea Pasta
- Mediterranean Tomatoes and White Beans
- Pulled Mushrooms with BBQ Sauce
- Creamy Vegetable Soup
- Creamy Vegetable Soup
- Creamy Coconut Potato Curry
or if you would like more recipe ideas - head on over to the FULL RECIPE INDEX where you will find over 900 delicious recipes and can search by ingredients, course, diet and more.
All with estimated calories and Slimming Eats and Weight Watchers Smart Points values.
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