Spicy Meetball Pitas

I experimented with Sausage Style Gimme Lean first with “Meetloaf” because it had been a long time since I’d had a cold meatloaf sandwich, and that’s good picnic food on hot summer days. A variation on this that I came up with was meetballs, which I wrapped in foil with a bit of sauce and stuffed still warm into pita pocket bread when we went to the outdoor Shakespeare Festival last year. I sprinkled a bit of grated parmesan on top, too, though it hardly needs any embellishment. (The Bota box Cabernet went well with this, by the way.) Between the cold meetloaf and the spicy meetballs — both of which I’ve stuffed into pita bread on picnics — I think I’ve created the perfect vegetarian picnic food. 😀

1 pkg Sausage Style Gimme Lean
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tsp dried minced onion
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Hungarian hot paprika
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp marjoram
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 6 oz can tomato paste
Oil for frying
Salt & pepper if desired

Mix tomato sauce, and all seasonings except salt and pepper in a medium saucepan, heat until it just begins to bubble. Dip out 1/2 cup of sauce and add to Gimme Lean and panko bread crumbs. Combine with a fork until homogenous. Shape into balls about 1-1 1/2″ in diameter. (Makes at least 16, maybe more if you’re better at guestimating the size than I am.)

Add tomato paste with equal amount of water to what’s left of the sauce (This makes the sauce milder than what went into the balls.) Simmer on low.

Fry balls in small batches in 1-2″ oil (just enough oil to cover when a batch is in). Remove when the outside is brown and put directly into the sauce. Stir so sauce coats the balls. When all of the balls are fried and stirred into the sauce, cover and simmer gently on low heat for 20 minutes.

I don’t usually make “meatballs” or “meetballs” when I make spaghetti, preferring to use Smart Ground in the sauce instead, however this recipe could easily be adapted to go with your spaghetti sauce by using your usual sauce recipe in making this. (This meetball recipe has more of a “kick” to it than my basic version of spaghetti sauce.)


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