Vegan meatballs? Yes!
The weather has been so cold here that I’ve really been craving some solid comfort food. I decided to make some baked cheesy pasta with meatballs.
I didn’t want to use mock meat in the meatballs, so I turned to the ‘meatiest’ vegetables I know to provide the texture and flavour – mushrooms and eggplant.
They don’t look very pretty, but look past their ugly exterior. I am really happy to say that they worked out well. They hold together, the texture is good, with the smooth eggplant background, the small chunks of mushroom and onion and the breadcrumbs providing some extra chewiness. The flavour is great.
You could feed them to your omni friends and family and I don’t think there would be any complaints!
The recipe is a bit more complicated than I usually make, with the separate preparation of the eggplant and mushrooms and the appearance of a food processor, but they are worth the effort.
I ate them with some soft polenta and a sauce made from fried onion, stock, soymilk and lemon cashew cheese. I also used them in a baked pasta dish with a simple tomato sauce and some vegan Bio Life cheese. I think they would also be good as finger food with some relish. They’d make good burgers too.
- 1 large eggplant
- 150 g mushrooms
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tbs olive oil
- ½ tsp dried sage or a few leaves of fresh finely chopped
- a handful of fresh parsley finely chopped
- 1 cup soft breadcrumbs ( I made these in the food processor and threw in the parsley and sage at the very end to chop)
- 2 tbs chickpea flour
- 2 tbs grated vegan parmesan (I used Vegusto piquant)
- salt to taste - you probably will not need any.
- Chop the eggplant into 1cm cubes, put into a colander and toss with a couple of pinches of salt.
- Leave for half an hour to drain, rinse then squeeze as much liquid as you can with your hands.
- Finely dice the mushrooms.
- Finely dice the onion.
- Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion until it softens and colours.
- Add the crushed garlic and fry for 1 minute.
- Remove the onion and garlic from the pan and add to a mixing bowl.
- Add the eggplant to the frying pan and fry until soft and well cooked and brown.
- Puree the cooked eggplant in a a food processor.
- Fry the mushrooms until they release any liquid and they brown.
- Add the eggplant puree, the cooked mushrooms and all the remaining ingredients to the mixing bowl and mix thoroughly with your hands.
- Taste and salt if needed.
- Chill the mixture in the fridge for at least an hour.
- Form the mixture into balls and place on a baking sheet that has been lined with baking paper and sprayed with oil.
- Spray the balls with oil as well.
- Bake at 180deg C for 25-30 minutes turning them halfway through to make sure they brown on all sides.