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Italian “Meatball” Sandwich

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raw vegan gluten-free Italian "Meatball" Sandwich displayed in a napkin holder

~ raw, vegan, gluten-free, nut-free ~

Good ole’ American classic “meatball” sandwich.  That is what Bob had for lunch the other day.  I was sitting here trying to recall the last time I had a meatball sandwich, and I am guessing that it has been roughly 15 years.

Back in 2007, I really started to shift my ways of eating. I had kicked gluten and dairy to the curb. Then processed foods, grains, legumes, nuts…. trust me when it comes to dietary restrictions… I have “been there done that” enough that I could write a book.

Does anyone else have a roller coaster trail of eating styles behind them?  I have done it all in the name of finding the right healthy combination for my body and just when I think I have an understanding… my body shifts.  Keeps me on my toes and has forced me to become a better chef.

If I don’t eat grains, what can I use in place of them? If I can’t eat nuts, what can I replace them with? You get the picture.  I have helped many people some who have a long laundry list of food allergies, and it can become a real challenge to re-create foods when the limitations pile on.

Anyway, I didn’t intend to get off on that pony trail…. all I can say is that I am thankful for what food I can put in front of me and I ask many blessings for my body as I partake of it.  A food restriction just opens up other doors of creativity!

In case you are wondering… the meatball sandwich is sitting in an antique napkin holder.  How perfect is that?  I have shared before how I use them for holding tacos… well here is another great way to serve them!  After I had put the sandwich together, I slide the holder and put the whole thing in the dehydrator at 115 degrees (F) for about 1 hour, just to warm it up.  A warm, vegan meatball and cheese sandwich is just what needed for this chilly day.  Bob loved it… I will end with that. :)

close up of raw vegan gluten-free Italian "Meatball" Sandwich displayed in a napkin holderIngredients:

Bread dough:

yields 14 flatbreads

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto:

Italian herbed “meatballs” – makes 12

“Cheese topping”


Bread dough:

  1. This amount of dough yields 14 (1/2 cup) 6 1/2″ circular breads.
  2. The night before I soaked the buckwheat, flax seeds and corn in three separate bowls.  Soaking the corns helps to soften the kernels.
    • You can take the buckwheat to the next nutritional level by sprouting them before continuing with the recipe.  This will take an extra day or two.
    • When you are ready to use the buckwheat, drain and rinse the tarnation of out of them.  It will take about 5 minutes.  Make sure that the water runs clear, and you don’t detect any mucilage dripping from the mesh strainer.
    • Strain the corn.
  3. In a food processor, fitted with the “S” blade, combine the buckwheat, corn, oil, flax, garlic, salt, cumin, rosemary, and thyme. Process until it reaches a dough-like consistency.
  4. On non-stick sheets that come with the dehydrator, spread 1/2 cup of batter into a 6 1/2″ circle.
  5. If you struggle with making perfect circles or question how big 6 1/2″ is… create a template. (shown below).
    • Using a black sharpie pen, I took the ring from my Springform pan and traced it onto a piece of paper.
    • You want to use a marker of some sorts so you can see it through the non-stick sheet.
    • Slide the paper under the non-stick sheet and use this as a template.  Move the sheet to all four corners as you make the wraps. Remove the paper when done and save for your next creation!
  6. Option: sprinkle extra Italian seasoning on the surface of the wrap before drying.
  7. Dehydrate at 145 for 1 hour, then reduce the temp to 115 degrees (F) for a few hours, long enough to where they are done enough to turn over onto the mesh sheet and peel off the non-stick sheet.
    • Continue to dry for another 3-4+ hours.
    • Keep an eye on them and test their flexibility.
  8. Any leftover wraps should be wrapped individually, slid into a ziplock bag, and stored in the fridge for 5-7 days.

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto

  1. I used sun-dried tomatoes that were not soaked in oil.  If you don’t have a high-powered blender such as a Vitamix or Blendtec, I recommend re-hydrating the dried tomatoes in enough water to cover them.  Let them sit for about 15 minutes or until soft.
    • Drain the excess water from them when ready to use.
    • You can use the soak water in place of the plain water.
    • If you only have dried tomatoes that are packed in oil, you can use them. Just dab off the oil with a paper towel and skip the re-hydrating process.
  2. Place the tomatoes, water, olive oil, vinegar, oregano, agave, garlic and basil leaves, blending until smooth.
    • You can hold off on the agave, taste testing to see if it is needed or desired.
  3. Store leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days.

raw vegan Spinach Sunflower 'Cheese' Ravioli and 'Meatballs'Italian herbed “meatballs”:

  1. I made 12 meatballs and one small taste tester.
  2. In a food processor, fitted with an “S” blade, combine the sunflower seeds, nutritional yeast, Italian herbs, and salt.  Pulse together mixing all the dry ingredients together.
    • I always soaked and dehydrate my nuts and seeds, having them ready for recipe inspirations.  I soak them to reduce the phytic acid which makes it easier to digest.
  3. Add the pesto, vinegar, basil and red onion.  Pulsing everything together until well mixed.
  4. Form into 1 Tbsp sized balls and optionally dehydrate at 115° F for 6 hours or until they are slightly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.


  1. Lay a small piece of parchment paper on the counter.
  2. Place a soft bread wrap on top and line with lettuce.
  3. Place 3-4 meatballs down the center.
  4. Add a bit more tomato pesto and gently fold. Place in the napkin holder.
  5. Pile on the cheese and one extra meatball on top.
  6. To warm: slide everything into the dehydrator at 115 degrees (F) for roughly 1 hour. Enjoy!

The Institute of Culinary Ingredients™

raw vegan Italian "Meatball" Sandwich displayed on wooden table


6 thoughts on “Italian “Meatball” Sandwich

  1. villarosa says:

    I think I’m understanding that the corn is just dried corn kernels? Like one would grind for flour? Recipe looks delicious! Thank you!

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Villarosa,

      No, the corn is fresh. Never would have thought of dried corn so I didn’t indicate fresh. Sorry for the confusion, I adjusted the wording. :) Have a happy day, amie sue

  2. Jessramos says:

    Hi, for the bread dough can we replace the buckwheat with something else?

  3. Devorah says:

    Im wondering about meal prep time.since it takes many hours of dehydrating how do you plan it?

    • amie-sue says:

      I am not sure what your day-to-day schedule is like, you could always start the soaking process for the wraps, make the “meatballs” and store them in the fridge, same with the pesto. Then put the wraps and “meatballs in the dehydrator together. Then it’s just a matter of assembling the dish.

      I hope this helps, blessings. amie sue

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