Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Meatballs Sans the Meat?

As some of my followers know, I try to stay away from red meat completely. I fill my protein void with poultry, beans, lentils, chickpeas; whatever and however I can get my protein fill!
My soon to be sister-in-law is vegan, so cooking for her (when I seldom do) and also being able to eat what she's eating can be a challenge! Obviously, she stays away from milk, but she does eat gluten as far as I know, so I have to be creative when it comes to entertaining her. She's living in Spain until about June of this year, but I think that she will appreciate my creative meatless efforts at least when it comes to my cooking!
These Meatless Balls are made with tofu. Tofu often comes up when I speak with people about French Onion Soup Blog or my cooking and/or diet. Most of the time, I get the nose wrinkled in disgust; Tofu?
My response? "You have to know how to cook it, and you have to get creative with it!"

Kath's Saucy Meatless-balls
1 pkg. (500 g) extra firm tofu (I like Sunrise brand)
1 can (about 540 mL) chickpeas, drained
1/4 cup Kinnickinnick panko-style gluten free bread crumbs
2 egg whites (vegans use egg substitute or vegetable oil)
1/8 cup water
2 tbsp rosemary
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp thyme
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
2 tsp curry powder

1/2 cup gluten free, reduced sodium beef broth (vegans and veggies use vegetable broth or vegetable bouillon)
1/4 cup red wine
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp corn starch
1 tsp cayenne powder (optional)

In large food processor or blender, blend first four ingredients until a thick paste. If mixture is too thick, add more water (keep in mind that you have to roll that mixture into balls!). Either sift or stir spices together in a small bowl so that they are thoroughly combined and add to tofu mixture in blender/processor. Blend spices into tofu mixture until thoroughly combined. Roll mixture into balls of desired size and set aside.
Heat a small saucepan on medium heat on stove. Whisk together first four SAUCE ingredients and bring to boil. Add remaining ingredients and stir until sauce begins to thicken. Cover and turn heat down to simmer.
Heat oil/cooking spray in large stove-top pan over medium heat. Place balls in pan and cook on medium heat until sides are browned. Turn heat down to simmer. Pour sauce over top, distributing sauce evenly on top of balls. Cover pan and let simmer for 30 -40 minutes.
Once ready to serve, spoon any remaining sauce over top of balls on plate. Serve with vegetables and/or rice.


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