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Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Veggie "Meatballs"



These "meatballs" are in big demand whenever I make them and wherever I serve them.  From small family meals to church potlucks to large family reunions they are lapped up with great enthusiasm.  Now, you might think only the vegetarians love these but just about anyone who tastes them really likes them and at the least they are impressed with their meaty texture. 


Years ago (before my youngest son, Peter, was born) Aunt Cora was visiting for a few weeks. During that time I made these and invited another family for dinner.  Everyone enjoyed the meal and as the visiting family was getting ready to leave for their home I put the last 3 or 4 meatballs in a container and gave them to my friend's husband.  During the afternoon he had been going back and forth to the casserole dish fishing out "just one more meatball" so he was happy to have them for his supper.  But when the family left I got an "earful" from Aunt Cora who had designs on the last of the meatballs herself.  She had planned to have them for her supper and it was with great sorrow and disgust that she watched the last of the meatballs depart and walk away from her intended supper plate. 

These "meatballs" are quite versatile as you can switch up the spices and herbs and nuts (I've even used peanuts) for a different taste.  They can be served in a tomato sauce with a topping of cheese for an Italian flavour; in a sweet and sour sauce with rice and stir fry; in gravy for the ubiquitous meal of meatballs and gravy over fries, so happily consumed by many a Newfoundlander; in a mushroom and sour cream sauce for stroganoff over noodles or mashed potatoes or serve them in a roll for a meatball sandwich. 

After the ingredients have been prepared they are easy to make--just dump everything in a bowl and mix.  They can be fried or baked.  And unlike real meatballs they don't shrink in size.  They actually swell as they cook.  They freeze well and I usually make a double recipe so I can have a ready supply for a quick and delicious meal.  

So without any further fanfare, I give you. . .

Veggie Meatballs
½ cup finely chopped walnuts or walnut meal (can use pecans)
1 cup dry bread crumbs
½ cup cracker crumbs
½ cup grated cheddar cheese
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning or savoury or oregano or basil or steak spice (adjust the amount of salt) or a mix
4 - 5 eggs or the equivalent in egg whites

Mix all ingredients together using 4 eggs.  If mixture is too thick add the extra egg.  Form into balls a little smaller than the size of a ping pong ball.  Fry in small amount of oil or bake on well-greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheet for 20 minutes at 350 degrees F.  

Use immediately in favourite sauce or gravy or freeze until ready to use.  

To use in sauce:  Place required amount of "meatballs" in casserole dish or frying pan and cover with sauce or gravy.  If using a casserole, place in 350 degree oven and bake 30-40 minutes until sauce is bubbling.  If using a frying pan, cover meatballs with sauce or gravy and simmer covered 20 minutes over low heat.


 I use the little food processor that attaches to my mixer to grind the nuts very finely.

 You can see how finely the nuts are ground.

 The onions should be diced very small, as well.

 Everything is mixed together at once.  Add the extra egg if mixture is too stiff.

The picture on the left shows the unbaked meatballs.  
On the right you can see they've become a little bigger after baking and have flat bottoms.  
I used my new silicone baking sheet.  It worked great!

I fried up half dozen meatballs to show you the difference.  
This is my favourite way but I usually bake them.

 This is what the meatballs look like inside.  
They are even better when they're inside you!

Here are the Veggie Meatballs ready for your favourite sauce or gravy.  
Try them in spaghetti sauce over pasta.

Today we went with "meatballs" and gravy over fries.   
I added a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream to the gravy. 
Yum, yum, yum.  

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