Party Time Cocktail Un-Meatballs

Technically I made these for the Super Bowl last weekend. But we ate them before the Super Bowl even started. We actually ate them before Sunday even came… but I figured it was still worth sharing because hey, who doesn’t love a good cocktail un-meatball? My grandma always made cocktail meatballs on Christmas Eve (among lots of other things) and now that my parents host Christmas Eve, my mom has taken over the tradition of making meatballs. Over the holidays I thought I was going to be adventurous and try to make my own but I never got around to it. I figured there was no better time to make up some fake meat than for the biggest sporting event of the year. (even if they didn’t make it that long).

IMG_3535IMG_3541 So this was definitely not an easy recipe to make. Though maybe because I was winging it it took long. If I make again and it’s easy I’ll definitely update. The sauce is super easy, so after you get the meatballs done, it’s really a walk in the park. I have to say, it did bring back memories of hanging out with the family and snacking for the holidays. I opted to use an egg replacer on this one, I was worried I couldn’t get things to bond together and hold up under the slow cooking and sauce. This was my first time using an egg replacer – I found it at my local health food store, so I think you could find it elsewhere as well. Enough rambling – on to the recipe.


What you’ll need: (makes about 20 meatballs)

  • 2 cups cooked lentils
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons egg replacer (with 6 tablespoons water – or however your egg replacer directs to make two eggs)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 12 ounce bottle of standard cocktail sauce
  • 1 12 ounce jar of concord grape jelly

So I have to admit, I started making lentils for this recipe. And started using 2 cups of dried lentils. That turned into a million lentils. So I only ended up using 2 cups of cooked lentils. If you’re making lentils just for this – start with that.

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Finely chop the mushrooms and onions. Add the onions, garlic, and olive oil to a pan over medium high heat and cook until onions are almost finished. Add the mushrooms. Once the mushrooms have released their water, add the tomato paste, cook another minute or so and then set aside.

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Mix the nutritional yeast, walnuts, bread crumbs, parsley, and mushroom mixture together in a large bowl. Add the lentils and egg replacer and mix well.

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Once everything is mixed together, form the mixture into balls about one inch or so in diameter. Add the jelly and cocktail sauce in a slow cooker on low.

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Heat a small amount of oil over medium high heat in a skillet. Add the meatballs in small batches so you can really pay attention to them. Turn them frequently until they’re browned on all sides and cooked through (about 6 minutes).

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Mix the sauce well and then add the meatballs to the sauce. I waited about an hour before eating round 1. But if they’re cooked all the way through and the sauce is warmed, you could eat them immediately. By round 2 of meatball eating, they had been sitting in the sauce for a few hours and still held up, so they’re a good option for immediately hungry folks – or for the full length of the game too.

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I’m really happy with the end result – this was one of the recipes where I had no idea if they would turn out or not. (and for a while I was leaning towards they weren’t going to work out). But the meatballs were surprisingly good and held together well. They would work with spaghetti too. I see lots of unmeatballs in my future. And I’m not mad about that at all.

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18 responses to “Party Time Cocktail Un-Meatballs

    • Ha! I know – they just kept growing and growing! You should definitely try it out – I am obsessed. Next step is to tweak it slightly and use with pasta and marinara. They’re addicting!

    • You’re a genius! I didn’t even equate the Olympics with party food – but now I have another reason to make lentil meatballs again. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by!

  1. Awesome idea! I feel like cocktail meatballs are a staple (and a huge hit) at most buffets and potlucks. I would love to be able to contribute a veggie version at my next event 😀

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  7. These look amazing! I’m allergic to mushrooms. Do you think there somethingI can replace them with?

    • Hi Patrice, thanks! Hmmm… without mushrooms. You could try upping the lentils and walnuts, but then I’d also up the amount of nutritional yeast and breadcrumbs since mushrooms tend to have a bit of a sponginess to them that helps hold the balls together. If you try — let me know how they turn out!

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