Oh girl, was this one good! This is definitely my favorite sandwich of 2012! It completely redefined the term ‘Sandwich’ for me! 😀 Super scrumptious moist vegan meatballs stuffed with a big cube of mozzarella cheese and simmered in marinara sauce & then spooned into a standard dinner roll… It’s a slider of sorts… It is MY very own soy-potato ball sandwich! In fact, I almost named the recipe ‘SoyPo Sandwich‘… and then I heard it. **Lame** 😛 Moving on…
This week on AGC, we decided to make sandwiches when we realized none of us had a recipe for any kind of sandwich in our blogs. Strange, huh? Its something we eat so frequently. Probably that is why. I never felt a sandwich was ‘fancy’ enough to post on the blog. So I attempted a really fancy one. The Meatball Sliders 😉 Only, I switched ground turkey/beef for soy chunks (nutrela) and some potatoes to bind the thing together. You could adopt the usual ground beef approach too!
By the way, I didn’t want to show you this creepy picture, but then I felt like I needed you guys to know just how this sandwich is full of awesomeness; and if uploading a creeptastic picture of me attempting to eat the Meatball Sub with one hand and clicking the picture with another hand is what will prove the awesomeness of this dish – then SO.BE.IT 😉
Don’t you guys wanna know how I made it? I didn’t have Marinara sauce so I kinda made a simplified version of the sauce simultaneously. If you already have it on hand, then feel free to use it. These are the main ingredients that I used for the vegan ‘meatballs’ —
To cook the soy chunks, boil some water and add the soy chunks… It doesn’t take more than 2 minutes to cook.. Look for the soy chunks to become soft.
Drain the water… Squeeze to to get rid of as much water as possible… (By the way.. you could even use lean ground beef… You can skip the above and use it directly & proceed further)
Add the soy chunks to the cooked & mashed potatoes.
In a blender, blitz together parsley, green chili, garlic & onion to form a paste.
Heat up a spoonful of cooking oil and add this paste.. Cook till it dries out.
Add the paste to the soy-potato mixture and mix everything well.
Add salt, chilli flakes, breadcrumbs and a pinch of sugar.
Mix well… Take a call here.. If the mixture is still too sticky to handle, add more breadcrumbs or cornflour. You could even add an egg to bind everything together. (Also, don’t forget to taste!)
You wanna cut the mozzarella cheese into small 1 inch cubes. Don’t use the fresh mozzarella.
Take a portion of the mix and make a ball. With your index finger, make a hole right in the center of the ball.
Place a cube of mozzarella cheese in the hole! 😀 Its a lot of fun, I tell you!
Gently, close the opening and roll it nicely.
Also, slightly flatten it out. Make all the “meatballs” this way.
Meanwhile, you wanna get the sauce cooking… if you don’t already have it on hand. For the sauce, I boiled 6 medium tomatoes in hot water for 3 minutes & then plunged it into cold water.
The skin then comes right off… easy peasy! Just blitz it in the blender to get your ‘crushed tomatoes’!! If you are one of the lucky ones who get crushed / canned tomatoes, go ahead and use a can of them!
Sauté some onions & garlic in oil.
When they are translucent, add your crushed tomatoes. Let it boil for 10 minutes and then close with a lid and simmer down for another 15 minutes.
Open, add salt, pepper, chilli flakes, chilli sauce and whatever you prefer in your sauce!
Add chopped basil or parsley. I also added some greens of an onion.. just coz I had it on hand & I didn’t wanna let it spoil 😉 Mix well.
To a large (non-stick) skillet, add 2-3 TBsp of cooking oil. Let that heat up.
Add 2 or 3 prepared “meatballs” at a time. Do not overcrowd the pan or they will steam and not sear. We want a nice brown crispy outside, remember! 🙂
Don’t touch them while they are cooking. When they are ready, they will release themselves. Flip over and cook for a further 3 minutes. Set aside
Once they’re done, remove them on an absorbent paper and continue to cook the other meatballs. Once they are all done, add all the meatballs in the same skillet.
Pour the sauce over the meatballs.
Let it simmer for 1 minute.
Meanwhile, lightly toast some buns… or not.. whatever! 😀
On the base, place one meatball with as much of sauce as you like… And another piece of cheese if you wish to be naughty! 😉
Close & bite away! 🙂
IMPORTANT::: Make sure you pour the sauce only minutes before serving as the longer the balls sit in the sauce, the softer they become. If it were actual meatball, it might have been okay (I don’t know)… But I realized towards the end of my meatballs that they tend to become soggy if kept in the sauce for too long… And you don’t want that.
Also, the balls can also be deep fried or baked. Baking takes too much time & deep frying takes too much oil. Neither of the 2 options appealed to me so I flattened the meatballs a little & pan fried them. You could get a baguette and arrange 2-3 meatballs inside too! If you have your own version of Marinara, feel free to use that. Or you could use my recipe for it too.
- 1 cup soy flakes (nuggets)
- 1 cup cooked & mashed potatoes
- 3 TBsp fresh Parsley or Cilantro leaves
- 2 Green Chilli
- 2 cloves Garlic
- 3 TBsp Onion
- Mozzarella Cheese
- Breadcrumbs or Cornstarch (as required)
- Chilli flakes, Salt & Pepper (to taste)
- Vegetable Oil
- a pinch of sugar
- store bought or homemade Marinara.
- Puree of 6 blanched tomatoes
- ¼ cup Onions
- ½ cup chopped Parsley / Coriander
- 1 tsp garlic
- Salt & pepper (to taste)
- Chilli Sauce
- a pinch of sugar
- Mini Buns
- Boil the soy flakes (nuggets) in hot for for 2 minutes until it is cooked. (follow package instructions to cook perfectly). Drain the water and squeeze any excess water from the flakes.
- Add the soy flakes to mashed potatoes and mix well.
- Blitz the parsley (or coriander), garlic, chilli, onion to form a paste. Heat 1 tsp oil on a skillet and cook this mix until it dries out.
- Add this paste to the mixture of soy flakes & potatoes along with salt, pepper, chilli flakes, a pinch of sugar and mix well.
- Depending on how sticky the mixture is, add enough breadcrumbs or cornstarch to bind everything together.
- Cut mozzarella cheese into one inch cubes & set aside.
- Make small meatballs and with an index finger, make a hole in the balls. Place a cube of mozzarella cheese in the hole and carefully close the ball and flatten it out slightly.
- Keep aside until use.
- Heat 1 tsp oil & sauté onions & garlic for 1 minute and then add the crushed tomato puree.
- Cook the sauce for 10 minutes. Close with a lid & simmer the sauce for 15 minutes.
- Add salt, pepper, chilli sauce, a pinch of sugar and mix well.
- Add the chopped parsley or coriander leaves and mix well.
- Set aside until use.
- (Skip the whole step if using store bought Marinara)
- Heat 3-4 TBsp oil in a large non stick skillet & place 2 or 3 of the prepared meatballs. Do not overcrowd the skillet or it'll end up steaming the meatballs.
- Do them in batches. Just before serving, add all the meatballs back to the same skillet, pour the entire sauce over them and let it boil for 1 minute
- On a toasted bun, place a single meatball, another piece of cheese if you like, close & serve.
It was an absolute delight. The best part, obviously, was the cheesy surprise I hid in those meatballs. You dig in to find cheese oozing out… Who wouldn’t love that kind of treatment? 😀 Make it, eat it.. & enjoy! 😀