Potluck

Italian-Style Meatballs With Impossible™ Burger

June 26, 2021
5 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
Author Notes

These Italian-American-inspired meatballs are everything you want a meatball to be—and then some. They are plush, moist, and cheesy, with a kick of fennel and Calabrian chile paste that’ll give you all the spicy Italian sausage feels. But (surprise!) these little beauties are made with plant-based ground beef, satisfying meatball cravings for both herbivores and omnivores alike.

Serve these meatballs, browned and hot, straight out of the pan. Think: tucked into a sandwich with sautéed broccoli rabe and ooey-gooey mozzarella cheese or served as an appetizer with warm marinara sauce for dipping. And, for all you spaghetti lovers, they are equally delicious gently simmered in your favorite tomato sauce. Just add the browned meatballs to the sauce and let them burble away for about 30 minutes. Spoon them over pasta and you’ll be in spaghetti and meatball heaven.
Asha Loupy

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is shared in partnership with Impossible Foods. —The Editors

  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Serves 2 to 4
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk (or oat milk)
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated (or plant-based equivalent)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, microplaned or minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Calabrian chile paste, or a large pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten (or flaxseed egg replacement or 3 tablespoons plant-based yogurt)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, coarsely ground
  • 1 (12-ounce) package of Impossible™ Burger
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. In a large bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs and the milk, stir, and let sit for 5 minutes, allowing the breadcrumbs to absorb the liquid. Add the grated cheese, parsley, garlic, chile paste, egg, salt, fennel seeds, and pepper, and mix well. Add the Impossible Burger and, using your hands, mix until the breadcrumb mixture and the meat are fully combined. Place in the refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Remove the chilled meatball mixture from the refrigerator. Drizzle a sheet pan with 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil and rub a little oil on your hands (this will make for easier, less sticky rolling). Divide the mixture into 14 portions, about 2 ounces each, and roll into balls between the palms of your hands. Place the finished meatballs on the oiled baking sheet.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil and continue to heat for another 30 seconds. Arrange the meatballs in a single layer in the skillet and brown on all sides, about 1–1 1/2 minutes per side. Remove the cooked meatballs from the pan and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. These meatballs are ready to eat or simmer in your favorite marinara sauce (homemade is great, but store-bought is equally delicious).

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • smasseff
    smasseff
  • cbrown
    cbrown
  • CC1647
    CC1647
  • NRH
    NRH

6 Reviews

cbrown June 26, 2021
Delicious. I followed the recipe exactly and had no problems. My daughter was visiting from college and she is a vegetarian so I made these for her. We all loved them! I did not simmer them in the sauce and everyone was snacking on them before dinner. I will continue to make these meatballs even when my daughter heads back to college!
 
CC1647 April 25, 2021
These meatball were great. No issue with them falling apart maybe because we made them small (16 total) and didn’t simmer in the sauce. We used regular breadcrumbs and Italian seasoning instead of fennel. Would definitely make again. Everyone loved them.
 
NRH April 10, 2021
These meatballs are pretty darn good. I was looking to have a meat-free week this week. Mine stayed intact, but had to be very careful getting a good sear on as many sides as possible to hold together using nonstick skillet. I added a little minced onion too. The instructions to refrigerate the mixture I think also helps hold them together. Didn't realize that my panko went bad, and I had no other bread crumbs or bread or crackers. Upon some frantic research, oats were suggested. Sounded weird, but I buzzed up some old fashioned rolled oats and went ahead with the panade. Used heavy cream but it didn't seem "pasty" enough, so added a little more 2% milk until it seemed like the right "pasty." They taste really good, better than I could have imagined with plant-based meat and oats. lol
 
smasseff April 4, 2021
Similar to another reviewer, my meatballs just about totally fell apart both during the sautéing process + when simmered in the tomato sauce. The final product was more of a "meat sauce" than "meatballs." I did leave out the parmesan and my "egg" was from Bob's Red Mill egg replacer so may have contributed. I may have to tinker with the recipe a bit to get a sturdier meatball.
Also, I weighed out each ball to 2 oz and only got 9 meatballs — where is 14 coming from?!
All in all, it was still a delicious, indulgent Sunday night dinner. My boyfriend who is vegan said it was probably the best meatball he's ever had. I'm no vegan (nor vegetarian), so I'd ultimately opt for a meat based one, but for plant-based this was solid enough. I recommend topping the meatballs (or what you have left of them) with some good mozzarella and broiling in the oven before serving.
 
SusanR December 12, 2020
I made these, baked them and put them in soup. Kept a few out to try and let my husband try. He loves them. Keeps popping them into his mouth. He has no idea they are Impossible Burger meat. :)
 
Karen November 30, 2020
Only 7 meatballls stayed together after frying. the rest totally fell apart. However, they taste great.