Vegan Seitan Meatball recipe (Subway style)
Time flies fast. It feels like yesterday when I posted the last theme. The FSB'ites take turns in hosting the theme and yours truly decided this month's theme. If you have been a regular to this blog, you will be aware of my penchant for converting a classic meat based dish into a vegetarian/vegan recipe. I have quite a lot of such recipes in the site - Vegan Sloppy Joes, Tofu Turkey, Shepherd's Pie, "Meat"Loaf, "Chicken" Lollipop etc etc. So this month's theme was just that - to take a non vegetarian dish and make a vegetarian/vegan interpretation of it. I do not believe in using imitation/mock meat products owing to the fact that lot of sodium and preservatives exists in such ingredients. I like to use natural substitutions. The rule was to use such ingredients and as far as possible make them looks as close to the "real" thing as possible since we all know "looks" and "presentation" does play a huge role on our palate.
Vegan Seitan Meatball recipe (Subway style)
So what do I have for you? I have made the famous "Meatball" Sub(marine) sandwich that first caught my fancy thanks to Subway. Fancy not in the sense of eating it, but in the sense of creating something like that cos it looked delicious. Ever since the blogger in me was discovered, I have been attracted to foods by the way they are presented. So trying to make something similar to this Sub has been on my to do list for ages which finally got done now. Among the various ingredients that I use to substitute meat is Seitan. Its a good source of protein and is  nutrition rich. Seitan, unlike its Soy counterpart is made of Wheat gluten. Vegan Seitan Meatball recipe (Subway style) The Changes I Made:  I have tried an adapted version of Seitan Meat ball from my favorite website - Vegetarian Times. The changes I made were mostly with respect to the ingredients I had and to suit our tastes. I always stock up on Seitan, Tempeh and Soy in my fridge and on this day had some "Indian Styled" Seitan cutlets. It only means that some Indian spices have been added to Seitan. So from starting out with Italian style "meatball" sandwich I took the middle route of creating a Indo-Italian fusion. Instead of using all olive oil, I used part walnut oil for added nutrition and for complimenting the nuttiness created by pecans in the recipe. The parsley got substituted for cilantro. Just like many dislike cilantro calling it "names", I do likewise for parsley. So almost in all recipes calling for parsley I tend to cheat with cilantro. Instead of using Egg substitution/or Eggs in this recipe, I used double concentrated tomato paste (the type that comes in a tube). I figured that since I was going to use Tomato and Basil Pasta sauce, I might complement it with some tomato in the meatball. I recommend making breadcrumbs at home. And last but not the least was using garlic paste (from Indian stores) instead of mincing garlic myself.  Instead of thinly sliced Mozzarella, I used fresh petite ones called as bocconcini that I had on hand. A mini "cheese ball" to complement the "meatball" (!!)
  • Cook time:
  • Prep time:
  • Serves: 6 people
  • Yields: 18 seitan "meat" balls and 6 portions of sandwich
    For the Seitan Meatballs
  • 2 (8-oz.) pkg. (Indian spiced) Seitan
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup freshly made whole-wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 Tbsp walnut oil
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • pinch dried oregano
  • 1 generous tbsp double concentrated tomato paste
    For the Sub Sandwich
  • 2 small (slender) loaves french bread
  • 1 26oz jar of (Tomato and Basil) Pasta sauce
  • Abt. 10 bocconcini or sliced mozzarella cheese (skip to make it vegan)
  • grated vegetarian parmesan cheese (optional)
  • thinly sliced onions for garnish (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Chop the seitan into small pieces so that its easier to process.
2. Add it to the processor. You can use any other type of Seitan that's available to you. I had the "Indian" styled Seitan hence used them for this recipe which is flavored with Indian spices.
3. Blend seitan in food processor until crumbly.
4. Add pecans, and pulse until combined.
5. Transfer to bowl. Stir in breadcrumbs, cilantro, basil, 1 Tbsp walnut oil, garlic paste, soy sauce and oregano along with tomato paste.
6. Mix well with your hands and shape mixture into 18 balls.
7. Place on a well greased baking sheet,
8. and brush with 1 Tbsp olive oil.
9. Bake 20 minutes, turning once, or until crusty and lightly browned. I was busy doing laundry on the side and one side of the meatball got a "nice red crust". It actually was crispy and did not taste "burnt" at all.
10. While the balls are browning in the oven, heat the pasta sauce in the skillet and let it simmer.
11. I have used 2 slender french loaves. You can use one large or any other bread for the sandwich. Ciabatta, sandwich loaf, semolina sub rolls are few other options.
12. I sliced them length wise in half.
13. For a good measure I removed some of the bread from the center of one half so that the meatballs and the sauce can nestle comfortably in it.
14. I used about 10 bocconcini. The number would depend upon how much cheese you require. You can use thinly sliced mozzarella or provolone cheese.
15. I chopped them further into halves.
16. I heated the loaves in the oven for about 10 min at 350F - Just to heat it through and make it softer.
17. Take the hot tomato sauce and pour a little of it in the bottom half of the bread.
18. Add the "meat"balls dotted with bocconcini. The hot bread, sauce and meatballs melt the bocconcini. You can use sliced mozzarella instead.
19. Top this off with more tomato sauce.
20. Top it finally with sliced onions and parmesan. This is optional. I wanted to caramelize the onions but due to lack of time, skipped it. But I am thinking that caramelized onions might  enhance this dish further.
21. Now close the sandwich with the other half of bread. Slice it into half or into required portions and serve with additional tomato sauce and soda.
The "meatballs" are soft and not at all dry. They are immensely aromatic , thanks to all that basil and garlic and is especially heavenly while baking. I dunno how close this is in taste to the  original meatball but I would recommend this to all even to try for a change cos its that delicious. It is so low calorie (exception of cheese)that its not even funny! And one more thing - it fills you up like crazy! My Sub had only 4 "meatballs" and I was so stuffed that I was not hungry at dinner after having this for lunch at 12:30 PM.
Vegan Seitan Meatball recipe (Subway style)

Recipe Reference

recipe inspired and adapted from vegetarian times

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By Kerry on Nov 16, 2014

Seitan is so simple to make - I'm a bit surprised that with your adventurous cooking you would buy it. Store bought has a "ping in the back of your throat" taste that I can't stand. Try PPK Chicky Seitan and add what ever spices you want for whatever occasion/taste you want. I think you will be a convert!

I have made it as well. Frankly, I like the ones I buy as well. So depending on the recipe/the time - I buy or make my own. Either way, we love Seitan but I have to agree one thing - making your own is therapeutic. --DK

By Is Seitan Paleo? | The Paleo Diet Food List on Nov 7, 2014

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By Ellen on Mar 12, 2014

If you are going to put the seitan in the food processer does it matter then if I bought the strips instead of the cutlets. I'm thinking it shouldn't change the taste would it? Kinda of stupid question!

Nope not at all. All questions welcome :). Yes, you can buy type - both will work equally well. --DK

By Divya on May 9, 2013

U have wonderful recipes. Am a silent follower of ur blog. I would like to know where to find the seitan. I live in south bay area. I believe u live in here too. Can u let me know where to find it?

Available at Whole Foods and Sprouts Market --DK

By AikoVenus on Jul 4, 2011

Ooh that looks tasty! I plan on making a similar thing for dinner tonight. :)

By tasteofbeirut on Jul 3, 2011

I had been meaning to make my own seitan but now I am leaning towards buying it ready-made and making these delightful sandwiches!

By Madhuram on Jul 1, 2011

I'm drooling Dhivi. Looks great. I have never used seitan/tempeh. Something is restraining me from going to that side of soy. I'll try it one of these days.

By Gayathri Ramdas Sreekanth on Jul 1, 2011

Oh my..That looks so brilliant and had it not been for your title, you would have totally duped me into thinking it was non-veg..Such an innovative idea for FSB ! Looks very "Subway"ish.. :-D

By Priya on Jul 1, 2011

Absolutely inviting sandwich, seriously am drooling over it..

By kadhyaa on Jul 1, 2011

:-P looks very interesting. i havent come across seitan before. how does that tastes. looks very yummy

Its hard to explain the taste owing to the fact that I am yet to taste a basic seitan. I have always tasted the flavored ones and they have the taste of whatever enhancers has been added to it like Soy, spices etc...but it has the tendency to absorb as much flavor as you put into it --DK

By Lata Raja on Jun 30, 2011

I had read that seitan not only 'looks' but because the wheat soaks so much taste within, it tastes as nearly too. That is one reason I wanted to give that a try. I am also wondering like Anu, you might just open a veg Subway outlet!!!!!

By Anu on Jun 30, 2011

DK - you opening up a veggie subway soon? Looks wonderful. I always look at the Seitan at TJ's - never thought it would be this easy to make meatballs out of them! Super!

By Divya Vikram on Jun 30, 2011

That sounds amazing Dhiv!

By Vardhini on Jun 30, 2011

Yummy looking sandwich. I love sub sandwiches too. Vardhini

By Pavani on Jun 30, 2011

Vegetarian meatball sanwich looks mouth watering. Super idea to grind seitan to make the meatball. Where do u get the Indian flavored seitan?? I'd love to try it. Enjoy ur weekend.

I get mine from Whole Foods Market. They have different flavored ones and this time around I just happened to pick Indian styled one :) --DK

By Sonia on Jun 30, 2011

This is awesome.. makes me want to be a staunch veggie now !! :)

By sreelu on Jun 30, 2011

DK, this is awesome love veggie meat ball and pics look awesome