It’s National Meatball Day! Meatball lovers have a lot to celebrate on Friday, March 9, and Us Weekly has the perfect recipe for you to share with your family and friends.
The Meatball Shop in NYC shared its vegetarian “meatball” recipe with Us so that you can easily make it at home. The restaurant’s cofounder and chef, Daniel Holzman, also revealed what makes the eatery’s veggie meatballs so beloved by their customers — and it’s all about the ingredients!
“Everyone loves our veggie balls because they are made with real vegetables and no fake meat fillers,” he said. “These fake fillers are often crafted with overly processed ingredients, and we’ve had a lot of positive feedback around the fact that our veggie balls are filled with ingredients you can identify.”
Holzman said that while they’re not your typical meatballs, The Meatball Shop’s take on this recipe will leave you just as satisfied. “We use a base of lentils, mushrooms, and carrots, which create a really awesome ‘meaty’ taste profile and texture,” he said. “They definitely fill you up without making you feel overly full, which our guests really love.”
The restaurant’s team will be driving around all around New York City in a party bus on National Meatball Day giving away free meatballs. They will also be hosting an all-day Bucket of Balls Meatball Eating Contest for restaurant goers.
The Meatball Shop first opened in 2010 on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and now has seven locations in NYC, with a D.C. store opening in the spring. To make your own homemade meatballs on National Meatball Day, follow the restaurant’s simple recipe below.
The Meatball Shop’s Veggie Balls
- 2 cups lentils
- 1/4 plus 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
- 2 tsp salt
- 3 Tbsp tomato paste
- 8 oz button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
- 3 large eggs
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1. Combine the lentils and 2 quarts water in a medium stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the lentils are soft (but not falling apart!), for about 25 minutes. Drain the lentils and allow to cool.
2. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil to a large frying pan and sauté the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, and salt over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and just beginning to brown.
3. Add the tomato paste and continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for 15 more minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. When cool, add the lentils to the vegetable mixture.
4. Add the eggs, parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley, and walnuts to the cooled vegetable mixture and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated. Place in the refrigerator for 25 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
5. Drizzle the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and use your hand to evenly coat the entire surface and set aside.
6. Roll the mixture into round, golf ball-sized meatballs (about 1 1/2 inches), making sure to pack the vegetable mixture firmly. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, allowing 1/4-inch of space between the balls and place them in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid.
7. Roast for 30 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through.
8. Allow the meatballs to cool for 5 minutes before serving! We recommend serving with pesto – our favorite! You can buy at any store or make your own in-house.