Growing up, I was never a fan of meatballs.
While my friends in elementary school all eagerly anticipated the cafeteria’s “spaghetti & meatball day” each week, I always opted for the peanut butter and jelly “brown bag” instead. I didn’t like ground beef, and I certainly didn’t like marinara sauce.
In fact, I didn’t even try a meatball until I was a waitress in college. I was a border-line vegetarian at this point, but the chef insisted that I try his grandmother’s recipe. So, I did, and it was life-changing. I’ve been a fan of meatballs ever since.
These particular meatballs are a far-cry from the ones served in a school cafeteria.
They’re also a far-cry from the meatballs I tried in college.
But since they’re ball-shaped and served in marinara sauce… let’s just go with it, okay?
Italian Meat(less) Balls
makes 10 balls
2 cups juice pulp, loosely packed (preferably carrot or beet based)
1 egg, beaten
3 oz. crumbled feta (preferably goat’s milk)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat your oven to 375F. In a medium bowl, combine the juice pulp and seasonings. I used dried herbs, to keep the mixture from getting too wet. Think of them as a “substitute” for the breadcrumbs that are in traditional recipes. (I used the pulp from Austin’s morning juice– a mix of carrots and cucumber– but beet pulp would give these a lovely red color, too!)
Add in the crumbled feta and egg, and mix well to create a uniform batter. Scoop the batter into 2″ balls, and arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, at least an inch apart from each other.
Place in the middle of the oven, and bake for 15 minutes at 375F.
After 15 minutes, remove from the oven and gently flip them over. The bottoms should be slightly golden brown. Return to the oven, and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until firm.
The finished meat(less) ball should be crisp on the outside, and somewhat tender on the inside. Almost like a veggie-fritter! Delicious on their own, these little bites could be served as an appetizer with a warm marinara dipping sauce, but I prefer them tossed in marinara sauce, over a bed of pasta or steamed vegetables.
Italian Meat(less) Balls
- 2 cups juice pulp , loosely packed (preferably carrot or beet based)
- 1 egg , beaten
- 3 oz . crumbled feta (preferably goat's milk)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat your oven to 375F. In a medium bowl, combine the juice pulp and seasonings. I used dried herbs, to keep the mixture from getting too wet. Think of them as a "substitute" for the breadcrumbs that are in traditional recipes. (I used the pulp from Austin's morning juice-- a mix of carrots and cucumber-- but beet pulp would give these a lovely red color, too!)
- Add in the crumbled feta and egg, and mix well to create a uniform batter. Scoop the batter into 2" balls, and arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, at least an inch apart from each other.
- Place in the middle of the oven, and bake for 15 minutes at 375F. After 15 minutes, remove from the oven and gently flip them over. The bottoms should be slightly golden brown. Return to the oven, and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until firm.
- The finished meat(less) ball should be crisp on the outside, and somewhat tender on the inside. Almost like a veggie-fritter! Delicious on their own, these little bites could be served as an appetizer with a warm marinara dipping sauce, but I prefer them tossed in marinara sauce, over a bed of pasta or steamed vegetables.
Per Serving: Calories: 164, Fat: 10g, Carbohydrates: 7g, Fiber: 1g, Protein: 12g
Hope you all enjoy them!
Reader Feedback: Was there a food you hated as a child, but LOVE now? I can’t believe I hated marinara sauce– it’s one of my favorite things ever now!!
Questions and Reviews
oh wow yum! anything baked with feta is a GO in my book! 🙂 looks so great and a delicious alternative to meat!
Anything baked with feta is a GO in my book, too! The feta definitely “makes” this dish!! 😉
Oh how creative I have to try these recipes I am always throwing out pulp!!
Awesome! I just threw away a ton of carrot pulp this morning and am kicking myself because I also made a killer gazpacho that could easily stand in for a raw marinara with these. Thanks for yet another amazing idea!
I hate when that happens! (I waste a lot of juice pulp, too…) Hope you have the chance to try it soon! 😀
I hated all veggies as a child!!! I was such a picky eater…I didn’t try an actual tomato until I was in my 20’s!!! LOL
I always hated meatballs and meat loaf….I think I would have been a vegetarian as a child because I naturally hated all meat…but I was forced to eat it 🙁 Oh well…that won’t happen with my kids!!!
Your kids are lucky to have you. 😉
what a brilliant way to use juice pulp!
wow. this is a great idea! yummm
I just made these for lunch and whoa, I’m in love! I had juice pulp that included carrot, celery, kale, tomato, and these awesome hot peppers from the farmers market. Baked them and poured some yummy homemade gazpacho over them: heaven. Totally worth the excess heat in the kitchen on an already hot summer day! Thanks again for the recipe!
Where do get the juice pulp?
I’m a huge fan of hummus/baba ganoush and I was wondering if you had any ideas for a recipe similar to this one (veggie pulp, egg, no nuts) except falafel style. I really enjoyed the meatballs and their shape reminded me of falafels which I don’t know how to make in a healthy way!
I am a HUGE fan of falafel, too! I’ve been meaning to create a detox-friendly falafel recipe, so I’ll get busy on that one. 😉
So I diddnt try the meat balls, but I did try marinara sauce over steamed cauliflower! Talk about Fantastic! I’ve never thought about doing this until I read your recipe and it is great. <3 thanks
I’m so glad you tried it! I actually prefer steamed cauliflower over pasta now. 🙂
Hi there is the Feta a must? I follow a strict Paleo diet and no diary/goat cheese…
No, the feta is definitely optional. It does add a nice salty flavor, so you’ll probably need to increase the seasonings a bit when omitting it.
I hated avocados as a kid, and can’t get enough of them now. Still not a huge fan of walnuts after all these years, but I like them toasted, or walnut oil…just not as chunks in baked goods, or eating them plain. I LOVE your blog and have pinned SO much of it so far. Thank you! : )
I used to hate okra. Never tasted it but didn’t like the goo surrounding it. Until… I tasted it when I became an adult. Oh, my! today I love it… it’s good sauteed or roasted or cooked in a pot of beans. I like it with the goo and all. All those wasted days I didn’t eat okra as a child… 🙁
Do you have this recipes in a printer friendly version?
i did have foods i just plain didn’t like, red italian sauces being among them. but i hated ‘complicated’ foods. i liked meals with less than 2-3 components staring at me, and i never let my sides/sauces mingle. except for jam with eggs…..
nowadays i mash up anything and revel in combining seasonings. still not a fan of italian food though…..
juicers are expensive to come by, do you think this could be made with a food processor and some boiling/straining?
btw making your recipe for peanut butter balls right now
What can you use if you dont have pulp?
I would imagine that shredded veggies would work (carrots, beets, etc.). I’d try squeezing out the excess moisture, so that they will work similar to the veggie pulp.
I used to hate avocado! Wow, does that seem so strange now. I can’t get enough of the stuff and am so glad to see that you include it in your green smoothie! PS: I am addicted to your site and so appreciative of your recipes and enthusiasm for healthy eating! A million thanks!
the herb for meatballs is cumin: you put cumin even to grass, and it will still smell and taste of meatballs 🙂
Hey Megan, Just recently started following, wondering if you could recommend a good substitute for the eggs in your recipes? I have a sensitivity to albumin and casein (milk protein).
You can try using chia or flax eggs as a substitute: https://detoxinista.com/recipes/how-to-make-flax-eggs-or-chia-eggs/
Keep in mind that they won’t necessarily work for every recipe, though, especially in baked goods that call for more than 1 egg.
What if you don’t juice (yet?), how would one go about making juice pulp?
I do most of the cooking in our house, wife claims she made it clear from the beginning that she does not like to cook. That’s ok because I love to cook, and learning to clean as I go along (wife has taken pictures that make the kitchen look like a tornado went through!). Anyway, she is 99% vegetarian, so I’m always looking for meatless recipes. This one looks good, but we don’ juice and I’d like to try this recipe without wasting food. Can you please help?
Btw, stumbled upon your site when searching for a veggie pizza crust, found your cauliflower pizza crust (was great!), but found so many interesting recipes and ideas. Find myself coming back again and again.
You could throw your veggies in a food processor, to grind them, then squeeze out the excess moisture in a thin hand towel to create a “juice pulp.”
Useful recipe and was actually looking for something with pumpkin, so used your recipe as a base for a pumpkin version- substituted canned pumpkin, goatcheese and quinoa- omitted oregano for a non-italian version and drizzled a cilantro pesto on top… so tasty…
YUM. I made these with okara (soy bean pulp) instead of juice pulp. We make a lot of soymilk and varying up okara recipes can get tricky. Soy pulp is probably quite a bit less flavorful than juice pulp, so I added diced onion, 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire, and upped the spices just a little. And they are oh so tasty! We ate them with spaghetti, but even on their own they are really good. Thanks!
These have become one of our favorite dinners… its a VERY rare thing to find a dish that all 5 of us are happy with, and this one does it!
Megan, can you make these into patties instead? I like this better than the beet patties. I think they would be delicious on a grain less bagel.
Yes, I think patties would work just as well!
We are juicing 5 lb of carrots every couple of days, so I was looking for a way to not waste the pulp. We’ve made these three times now, and they are gonna be a staple for my wife and I! We do double the eggs, add extra Feta, roll ’em smaller (1 1/4″ or so), and cook them a touch longer rotating them twice. Really great recipe, thanks a lot!
Just curious if these freeze well?
We ALWAYS have deviled eggs at big family dinners. When I was a kid I wouldn’t eat the yellow yolk mixture. My aunt didn’t like the whites, so we would always trade. But NOW, I love the whole deviled egg. I still take my aunt’s hard boiled egg whites though. LOL…
Amazingly delicious. I mixed in a little cheese and flour to make sure they’d stick together nicely. So delicious but also could be served as appetizers – no need for sauce or pasta. I printed this recipe out to put in my fav recipe book! Thank you.
OMG! Soooo good! Due to allergies, I omitted the egg and added cumin and paprika. Thank you so much for the recipe!
Has anyone made these in an air fryer? What do you recommend on timing?
So good! Even my husband liked them and he is a huge meat eater.