Sometimes when we’re transitioning to veganism from an omnivorous or what I like to call a SAD diet (Standard American Diet) we want to find familiar foods that remind us that we haven’t stepped too far away from our comfort zone.
This is true when moving from vegetarianism to veganism to. So one of the most convenient and comforting foods we’ve often had is spaghetti and meatballs. Nowadays you can buy vegetarian and vegan meatballs at the stores but I want to share with you an easy and super tasty vegan meatball recipe that you can make quickly and conveniently at home.
As you know, I’m all about easy and simple cooking. Becoming vegan should be easy and fun and not require an advanced degree from Cornell in nutritional science and a certificate in vegan cooking from Le Cordon Bleu (even though they don’t offer that ;)).
I know that Italian food played a big role in my house growing up and I’m not evening Italian. But let’s face it, it is relatively easy to make and very comforting food. Spaghetti and meatballs and spaghetti with meat sauce were some of our favs.
Here’s how you can enjoy that kind of food again but in a healthier and kinder way.
Viva vegan Italian meatballs
You can of course make vegan meatballs from tofu or lentils and walnuts etc, but for a really authentic and close to your “mom’s” made meatballs, I find that starting off with a vegan ground meat or vegan ground beef base is the best and easiest.
We’re helping you transition to a vegan diet and lifestyle and so it is comforting when we can enjoy familiar flavours and dishes that we grew up with. So let’s keep it simple Simon 😉 KISS. Just like we did with the best vegan soup recipe.
1 pound of Gimme Lean beef or Yves Ground Round Italian style
0.5 cup finely chopped walnuts
0.5 cup chopped bread crumbs (fresh is best)
6 or more cloves of crushed garlic
0.5 cup of chopped parsley (more or less)
0.25 cup lemon juice (more or less)
pepper to taste
vegan parmesan cheese to taste (optional)
The idea with this recipe is that you’re making it as you go and making adjustments as you go.
Other than the pound of vegan ground meat the other measurements are only guides. You’re going to be mixing it all up and getting the texture you want by adding a bit more of this or less of that. Capiche?
In a large bowl combine all ingredients while mixing them well. With the wet ingredients i.e. chopped parsley and lemon juice, hold back a bit until everything is mixed very well.
The idea is you want to get the consistency of moist clay, or how your original meatballs used to feel. So once everything has been mixed well, then you can add more lemon juice and parsley, maybe a bit of tomato sauce etc.
For the vegan parmesan cheese, you can add that into the meatballs as you make the mix or you can use it at the table to sprinkle on top of everything once it is served up. I like to use it both ways depending on how I feel. To add into the mix use around a third of a cup and see how you like the flavour and then add more from there or don’t.
If you want something different from bread crumbs you can use a similar amount (though I’d start with a third of a cup) of wheat germ. Ground flax works very well in place of bread crumbs at a similar amount as the wheat germ and gives you your heart healthy omega 3s.
Once everything is well combined form into meatballs any size you want, but about the size of golfballs seems to be best for flavour as well as cooking purposes.
Oil a pan (about a tablespoon or so) and over medium heat fry the meat balls up, turning every so often so you get them well browned all over. A tip as you’re browning them for extra flavour is to dust them with garlic and/or onion powder and pepper!
Once these babies have been cooked to perfection, throw your pasta sauce over them and let them simmer for a few minutes until the pasta sauce is hot.
Serve over spaghetti or any other type of pasta you prefer.
TIP: Use your imagination as you like. If mom used to add chopped onions to her meatballs, add them to these ones. I’m telling you, you’re gonna love ’em.
PS. Save some for me… I’m coming over 🙂