Monday, May 23, 2016

Italian Meatless Balls

I came up with this recipe about 3 weeks ago and have made it weekly ever since. My family is in love with these savory little bites. We have crumbled them over pizza, put them in sliders, and over spaghetti.

Italian Meatless Balls


1 1/2 tbsp flax meal
4 tbsp water

2 tsp Earth Balance vegan margarine
1/4 onion, diced fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz button mushrooms, chopped
rounded 1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp liquid smoke (optional)
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp crushed fennel
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil

14 oz TVP (meatless ground beef replacer)
1 tbsp wine, water or vegetable broth

1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, minced (yields about a 1/8 cup when chopped)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tbsp vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast
3 tbsp plain unsweetened soy milk

1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup flour


Whisk together the flax meal and water in a measuring cup. Be sure to mix it completely so there are no clumps, and set aside to thicken.

Heat the 2 tsp of Earth Balance (or other vegan margarine) in a non-stick frying pan over medium low heat. Add the onion and sauté until it becomes translucent. Then add the minced garlic and stir it until it becomes fragrant, about a minute or so, and then add the chopped mushrooms and the 1/2 tsp of salt. Raise the heat to medium high and sauté the mushrooms until they release some liquid and begin to soften. This just takes a few minutes, about 5 or so.

Now it is time to add the seasonings so add the liquid smoke, chili powder, nutmeg, fennel, black pepper, oregano, and basil. Stir to coat the mushrooms and onion, then add the TVP and stir well. Continue to cook over medium low heat until the TVP is heated through, then deglaze the pan with some wine, water or broth, and take it off the heat. Put the mixture into a mixing bowl.

Add the flax meal mixture minced parsley, bread crumbs, vegan parm or notch, and the soy milk. Mix very well with your hands, really get in there and mash it up until it begins to get kind of sticky. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Once you are ready to make the meatballs, heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Form the mixture into balls, I like mine to be fairly small. Roll the balls in the flour and tap off any excess. Put them in the hot oil and fry for a few minutes turning every so often to brown them evenly on all sides.

Notes: I have also baked these at 425 degrees, but much prefer the nice little crust/seal you get from frying them up. Frying also enhances the flavor by browning the outside. I have used a finer ground TVP like Lightlife's gimme lean beef replacer, and a larger ground like Boca's veggie crumbles in this recipe. With the larger crumbles, I added 1 more 1/2 tbsp of flax meal for a total of 2 tbsp flax meal and 5 tbsp water instead of four, and they held together just fine.

For 24 meatballs. Nutritional information below for 1 meatball.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 39 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrates
Dietary Fiber
Vitamin A 3%Vitamin C 4%
Calcium 5%Iron 11%
Nutrition Grade A
* Based on a 2000 calorie diet

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