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Recipe: Vegetarian mushroom balls (a brilliant meat-free alternative to the classic meatball)

Written by MJ Portenski Sili | Thursday, 18 March 2021


According to my husband I have mastered the meatball. I love cooking with meat, but after a year of being vegetarian I miss a good meatball sub or spaghetti and meatballs.

I became vegetarian to encourage myself to eat more vegetables, so opting for the flavourless plant-based alternative was not an option for me. This inspired me to create a mushroom ball that even the carnivores couldn’t resist.

You will need time to prepare, roast and chill the ball mixture for a minimum of two hours, to ensure perfect rolling texture before baking. These taste amazing with a tomato-based sauce in a sub, on top of spaghetti or with a side of salad.

My tip for maximum enjoyment: These mushroom balls are best served with great conversation – invite your friends over and share the love around. This will fuel your excitement for vegetables!

Mushroom balls


  • 7 portobello mushrooms (variety = flavour, try different types of mushrooms)
  • 7 shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 5 garlic cloves (diced)
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs (toasted)
  • 2 eggs
  • 150g parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 1 bunch Italian flat parsley (chopped finely)
  • fresh oregano (to flavour)
  • pinch of thyme
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • Olive oil
  • 1 knob of butter


  • Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees
  • Roast mushrooms, onion, garlic, olive oil, butter, thyme, salt and pepper
  • Cut up once slightly cooled, keeping all flavour and oil
  • In a large bowl: add roasted mushroom mix, breadcrumbs, oats, fresh herbs, dried herbs, eggs and parmesan
  • Mix, cover and chill for minimum of two hours (turn oven off until then)

After two hours…

  • Preheat oven again to 180 degrees
  • Shape balls to desired size and back until golden

Add to your favourite dishes like subs, pasta, pizza, and salad.

Cooking tip: feel free to experiment with a variety of different herbs. Rosemary goes great with mushrooms also! If you are vegan or gluten free, you could try the following alternatives:


  • Egg = replace with 1 tbsp of either chia or flaxseed meal with 3 tbsp water
  • Parmesan cheese = replace with cashew butter
  • Butter = replace with Nuttelex

Gluten free:

  • Breadcrumbs = replace with almond meal or oatmeal or gluten free breadcrumbs
  • Quick oats = replace with gluten free instant oats


MJ Portenski Sili

As the owner of a successful hairdressing salon, MJ's relationship with her clients is what inspired her to pursue a future in Naturopathy. Currently in her second year of studies at Endeavour, her commitment to life-long learning has inspired her to become an empathetic and approachable practitioner.

In her spare time, MJ is a passionate about cooking (particularly with vegetables). She loves to inspire friends and family by hosting gatherings with great good, music, laughter and wine.

Read more by MJ Portenski Sili