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SPICED VEGAN QUINOA MEATBALLS

I know it seems odd to call something vegan meatballs, but I didn't feel comfortable calling them balls. Maybe nuggets is better? OK, not really but the whole point is that these are quick, healthy and most importantly, delicious.


I don't follow a vegan diet, but over the past year or so my family has made a commitment to eating more plant based meals. We wanted to support my 12 year old daughter who has been a vegetarian for over 4 years. I am so proud of her commitment and my husband and I wanted to be more mindful of our own eating habits and how our actions affect our health and our environment.





SPICED VEGAN QUINOA MEATBALLS

(serves 4)


INGREDIENTS

(QUINOA MEATBALLS)


  • 1 cup cooked quinoa

  • 3/4 cup cup canned whited beans, drained

  • 1/2 cup gluten free oats

  • 1/4 cup gluten free breadcrumbs

  • 1 cup white mushrooms

  • 1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves

  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

  • 1 tablespoon vegan parmesan cheese

  • 1 tablespoons chives, finely chopped

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons za’atar

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 tablespoon tamari

(TOMATO SAUCE)


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 cloves, garlic, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more to taste

  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes

  • 1 teaspoon dried basil

  • 1/4 cup red wine, optional





METHOD


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a sheet pan with cooking spray and set aside.

  • In a blender or food processor, coarsely blend the white beans, oats, breadcrumbs, mushrooms, and spinach together. Transfer the mixture to a medium mixing bowl and add the quinoa, nutritional yeast, vegan parmesan, chives, tamari and spices.

  • Stir all the ingredients together until thoroughly blended and it forms a dough. Be careful not to overmix it. Roll the mixture into meatballs roughly the size of a heaping tablespoon and place them evenly spaced on the sheet pan. Bake for 15 minutes then turn them over and bake for 10 more minutes.

  • While the meatballs are baking, prepare the sauce. In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until lightly brown. Add the tomatoes, salt, sugar, red pepper flakes, basil and red wine if using. Stir all the ingredients together, then reduce the sauce to a low simmer and continue to cook for 15 minutes.

  • To serve, ladle the tomato sauce into a 4 bowls and place the quinoa meatballs on top. Sprinkle more vegan parmesan cheese and chives are the top for garnish.





I developed this recipe because quinoa is a great source of protein and is so versatile and tasty. I serve it with tomato sauce and some sourdough for a nice light meal, and you could serve it over vegetable spirals or pasta to make an even heartier meal. I threw in some of my favorite spices including za'atar but feel free to try out your favorite herbs and spices. It's a great way to explore what's in your pantry and make it your own.


For a printable version of the recipe, click here.



TIPS


  • Don't over mix, this will keep the texture nice and light

  • Try using black beans or chick peas instead of white beans

  • Have fun using different spices and dried herbs you have in your pantry






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