Monday, April 18, 2011

Meatless Meatballs

Good Monday! First day of the week and Hundreds of tasks to complete, but that is life. Normal with craziness and 100's of things to do, see, and find. When I get ridiculously busy and have tons of things to do or when I have had a really crappy day I turn to Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Not the Movie, but the show
I am a huge nut when it comes to Buffy, I have all the seasons on DVD and I am embarrassed to say how many times I have watched the series through. Just know it is enough to repeat the lines verbatim. But when I am down there is only one episode that cheers me right up, Once More with Feeling, the musical episode.(Season 6 Episode 7)

Sometimes life is just better with a little musical in your life and I think Mondays are one of those days. That is probably one of the reason's I like Glee so much. I can belt these songs out on Tuesdays and feel 100% better at the end of the 45 minute episode.
The other thing that I find helps with a stressful day is discovering a recipe that replaces something that use to be frequently eaten in our house before we became gluten , dairy, meat free family.  Once such thing was the Meatless meatballs that had been added to our spaghetti, but these have wheat in them and the visit to our local Natural Foods store I couldn't find a replacement.  So when I got home I began hunting, online hunting and like fate the first I found Enlightened Cooking blog that had a gluten free option and strangely enough I had TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) hanging out in the cupboard waiting for a recipe.  One of the reasons that this was in my cupboard is I didn't know what to do with it and I was a little scared that It would be difficult to cook with, but really it was as easy as making nut butter.
 Hello TVP, Please be kind to me I never imagined us working together and here we are. 
 One onion chopped and then Sauteed. 
 These are the spices that are used to flavor the Meatballs. Next time I will used more Cumin, Soy Sauce and add some Chipotle Pepper (I like spicy foods:))
 All the spices were added to the sauteed onions and garlic and cooked for about 30 seconds to bring out the flavor. 
 Add the boiled water to the TVP and mix so all the TVP is wet. 
 Put the TVP, Onions mixture, and Two eggs in the food processor and process until the mixture sticks together and is easy to scoop out. Use a cookie or small ice cream scoop to form balls.
I forgot to take a picture of them cooked, but they were quite good and looked a lot like the ones that we had purchased from the supermarket, but they were healthier since I didn't fry them. With the scoop that I used I made 24 plus a patty. Next time I make them I will experiment with different spices since they weren't as flavorful as I would like.  If you don't do meat or are looking for an alternative to meatballs I think you should try them because they do add more protein to an other wise carb filled meal. We had ours on top of pasta with Marinara, and steamed vegetables.

Homemade Meatless Meatballs

Preheat oven to 375F
Makes 3 dozen meatballs (Per meatball: 30 calories, 3.3 g protein, .28 g fat)

2-1/3 cup texturized vegetable protein (TVP)
1 3/4 cups boiling water
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 tbsp olive oil or other neutral vegetable oil
1 tbsp minced fresh garlic
2 tbsp soy sauce
1-1/2 tsp ground cumin
1-1/4 tsp dried oregano
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 eggs or 2 flax eggs (see below for flax egg)

1. In a large bowl, combine the TVP and boiling water. Let stand 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic; cook and stir 5 to 6 minutes until onion is translucent. Add the soy sauce, cumin, oregano, salt, and black pepper and cook and stir 30 seconds longer.
3. Place the TVP mixture, onion mixture, basil, and eggs or flax eggs in bowl of food processor. Process until mixture just begins to hold together.
4. Mold into 1 inch size meatballs ( a small cookie scoop works perfectly).
5. Arrange balls on a large rimmed baking sheet. Optional, give balls a quick spritz with olive oil cooking spray (it promotes browning). Bake 15 to 20 minutes until lightly browned.

Use as a replacement for meat meatballs in the favorite recipe of your choice, or just eat plain as a snack--yum!

Flax Egg: To make the equivalent of two eggs, process 1/2 cup water with 3 tbsp ground flaxseeds (flaxseed meal) in a blender for 1 minute or until thickened and frothy.

Storage: Cool meatballs completely then place in heavy duty zipper top bags. Store in refrigerator for 3 to 4 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

Have a fabulous Monday and I will see you later with another post. 

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