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.
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.
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.
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).