Saturday, April 23, 2011

Meatless Meatballs

So I had a play date last week with a few friends who also have little munchkins. We always do a potluck dinner when we get together and one of my friends is vegetarian so I brought vegetarian meatballs. Now you might gasp at the thought of meatballs without any actual meat in them but don't hold your breath too long because these are a healthy and delicious food!

Not a very complicated line up of ingredients. Some bread (I used herb garlic rolls I got from good old Walmart), pecan meal, reduced fat cheddar, an onion, a few eggs, a few cloves of garlic, and a box of Washington's rich brown broth (you can get this from health food stores).

First I toasted the bread and cut it into chunks about the size of a pea. I used 3 rolls and ended up with about 2 cups worth.

Then in a bowl I combined 8 oz of the reduced fat cheddar grated, the bread chunks, half an onion diced, 3 cloves of Garlic grated, 1 1/2 cups of ground nuts and 8 eggs.

Then I mixed everything up until it was uniform throughout and used the cookie baller to make mini meatballs on two cookie sheets. I baked them at 350 degrees for 10 minutes until golden brown. This made a little more than 100 meatballs feel free to cut the recipe in half if you want a smaller batch.

mmmmm golden brown goodness!

As you may have noticed there is no salt in this recipe. The salt comes from the broth. I had two options at this point.

Option #1: I could have made just enough of the broth according to package directions to cover the meatballs, poured it over them and baked them for another half an hour. This will bring moisture to the meatballs and flavor as well. Then after that half an hour bake in the broth you can pour off the extra and add in a BBQ sauce and the throw them back into the oven just to get a nice glaze going. This is what I usually do but I felt like a brown/beefy flavored gravy so I opted for option #2.

Option #2: I put enough water in a pot for 2 packages of the broth but added in 3 packaged instead. I added about 1/4 cup of flour to a bowl and then added about 1 cup of milk to the flour slowly stirring between each addition so that the flour didn't get lumpy. Then poured the flour mixture into the broth. Then I added some black pepper and oregano to the gravy. After this I just heated it on the stove until it had boiled and thickened up. Poured it over the meatballs and popped them back into the oven for 30 minutes. This does the same job as option #1 of adding salt and moisture but with the added bonus of being able to serve them straight from the oven with the creamy beefy gravy.

These meatless meatballs are really really great. They are very good served with rice or even just speared with a toothpick and eaten h'orderve style. The broth although vegan, has a GREAT beefy flavor, so much so that I've added it too my beef stew before with great results. So it's warm comforting and yummy :)

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