This pasta with dairy-free egg-free Italian meatballs was a delicious dinner that practically fell into my lap. Last week I received a few interesting packages filled with edible goods. The first included several boxes of Wasa Crispbread along with a Crispbread cookbook! How cool is that? That shipment was followed by several jars of dairy-free Barilla pasta sauce and two boxes of Barilla pasta. Can we say Italian night?
After thumbing through the cookbook, I honed in on the Crispbread Meatballs recipe. I loved that it didn’t use eggs or cheese, and could be coupled with the Barilla sauce and pasta for a really quick meal.
The “glue” in these dairy-free egg-free Italian meatballs is a soaked mixture of dairy-free “milk” and crispbread crumbs. It makes them incredibly moist and tender. I admit, they are a touch fragile, especially if you make them big. So keep them modest in size or be gentle when turning the meatballs if you have fear of breakage. They do hold together pretty well once browned, and the two “casualties” we had tasted equally delicious!
Special Diet Notes: Dairy-Free Egg-Free Italian Meatballs
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, optionally gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, and optionally soy-free.
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons hearty cracker crumbs (I used Wasa rosemary crispbread ground into crumbs, can use gluten-free, if needed), divided
- ⅓ cup unsweetened plain dairy-free milk beverage
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- ½ medium onion, diced
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon salt, to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon smoked or regular paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder or 2 medium garlic cloves, crushed
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
- 1 24-ounce jar marinara (I used Barilla traditional marinara)
- 8 ounces uncooked pasta
- Chopped olives, for garnish (optional)
- Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)
- Place 2 tablespoons of the cracker crumbs and the milk beverage in a medium-sized bowl and let it soak for about 20 minutes.
- Once the milk mixture has had time to soften and thicken, add the ground beef, onion, salt, parsley, oregano, paprika, garlic, and pepper. Stir well to incorporate the ingredients.
- Shape the meat mixture into 12 to 20 meatballs. Twelve if you like them big, twenty if you prefer smaller meatballs that hold shape best.
- Place the remaining ¼ cup of crumbs (or more if needed) in a bowl and roll the meatballs in it to coat.
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat.
- Add the meatballs, and fry them, turning occasionally, until brown all over.
- Place the meatballs in a casserole dish.
- Add the mushrooms to your fry pan and cook them for just a few minutes to soften. Sprinkle the mushrooms over the meatballs, and marinara sauce over all.
- Cover and bake the meatballs for about 20 minutes, while you prepare the pasta according to the package directions.
- Serve the meatball marinara atop your prepared pasta, sprinkle with olives or parsley (if using). Optionally add an extra dose of greens with a side salad or steamed broccoli.