Breadcrumbs are good—noble, even. Without them, meatballs would be dense little orbs and meatloaves would be just that: loaves of meat. There would be no crispy, breaded, pan-fried fish, no oven-baked chicken tenders. I do not want to live in a world without breadcrumbs, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to switch it up sometimes, and use French fried onions—the ones you find on that casserole—in their stead. How to Make the Creamiest Vegan Green Bean Casserole
French fried onion bits, once pulverised, can perform many of the functions a breadcrumb would, and they taste like onions, which is a fun taste. You can mix them into meat for extra flavorful meatballs and meatloaf, dredge a piece of fish through them before frying, or saute them with actual bread crumbs in some butter for an amped-up salad topping.
I am most excited, however, for a more oniony, savory meatball. You don’t even have to adjust your measurements, unless you are used to using extremely bland breadcrumbs, in which case you may want to decrease the salt. Just grab a can of French’s (the Trader Joe’s brand is also good), let the food processor do its thing, then measure out as many onion crumbs as you would bread. The onion bits will hold your ball together while adding a whole bunch of umami. If there is a downside here, I do not see it.