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
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
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
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.
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