Cheezy Vegan Meatball Subs
Even though I don’t practice a vegan lifestyle, I can fully appreciate those that do. Scientifically, we’ve seen evidence that replacing some animal proteins with complete plant proteins every now & then can be great for the human body. Plus, there’s always the argument that being vegan is a safer choice with our food production system being the way it is (read: awful). Now is it something we should be doing all the time? That isn’t something I can answer definitively. For many it’s a personal choice based on animal welfare issues etc. Even though there are many health benefits associated with it, it’s a lifestyle that takes a lot of education & diligence to make sure you’re getting everything you need. In addition, I can’t say that someone who enjoys an ethically raised, lean, properly portioned cut of beef in appropriate moderation is any less healthy.
SO, what I AM saying is I like to go “vegan” every now & then. Now, it’s not often that I get to whip up a vegan entree at my home. It takes a certain crowd to “get” it. I’ll sneak them in when I can, but really they’re best saved for weeks when Seth is gone, girl’s nights (like this vegan enchilada dip) or on day’s when I’m dining alone. Due to our “sporadic relationship”, it really satisfies me when a 100% vegan meal is pulled off with GREAT success. I won’t lie to you, they aren’t always great successes, but when it happens it’s like finding a Kate Spade purse on sale next to a sign that says “take an extra 40% off reduced sale items”. Yes, it’s as good as that to me.
These “meatball” subs were incredibly easy & absolutely delicious. I really couldn’t tell a difference. I even got the seal of approval from my father & Seth. That’s saying something believe me. While I can’t take credit for the actual meatballs (I used Trader Joe’s Frozen Vegan Meatballs), the cheeze sauce (made of cashews) was a fun addition I zipped up to bring in an extra level of “decadence”. Don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you? No big deal. There are other meatless varieties that you may be able to locate at your grocery store; just be aware that they may not be 100% vegan. Another option is to get busy in your kitchen & make your own. I’ve made meatless meatballs out of lentils before that were delicious and texturally on par with the real deal. Simply perform a quick google/pinterest search to find a recipe (yes, now you have an excuse to go pinterest!). Being that I can’t resist an opportunity to add in more veggies, I sauteed some peppers, onions, & mushrooms and added them into the sauce too. I encourage you to try your hand at these bad boys & see the look of surprise on everyone’s faces when they find out they’re…*gasp* VEGAN!
P.S. – I am extending the Johnny Carino’s Giveaway until Wednesday, July 17th. I will announce the winner on this week’s WIAW.
- For Meatballs:
- Package of Frozen "Meatballs" (or homemade) * I used Trader Joe's
- 1 Jar of Marinara Sauce * I like to chose low sodium varieties
- 1 Bell Pepper, julienned
- 1 Onion, julienned
- 1 Cup Sliced Button Mushrooms
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- 1 Tsp Red Pepper Flake
- Crusty French Bread
- For "Cheeze" Sauce
- 1 Cup Raw Cashews
- 3-4 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
- 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2 Tsp Salt
- In a large sauce pan, saute onions & peppers until slightly browned. Add garlic & mushrooms. Saute until fragrant.
- Add in "meatballs" & let cook until the outsides do not look frozen any more.
- Add in jar of pasta sauce. Bring to a low simmer, cover & cook for about 7-8 minutes until meatballs are completely dethawed & hot.
- Add in red pepper flakes.
- Rub french bread with olive oil & toast until slightly browned. I like to toast mine "halfway" so the bread is still relatively soft.
- Spoon meatballs & sauce onto bread.
- Top with jarred banana peppers & drizzle on cheeze sauce.
- *FOR CHEEZE SAUCE
- Soak 1 cup of raw cashews for about 10 minutes in water, drain.
- In a vitamix or food processor (I used vitamix) add in cashews, nutritional yeast, salt, & garlic powder. Pulse or blend until finely chopped as best as you can get it. Slowly add in water in batches (maybe a 1/4 c at a time) until the mixture becomes completely smoothed out & is at your desired consistency.