Sunday, May 10, 2015

My Beef with Meat Spicy Italian Eat Balls


Taking a little break from UWL today to join my husband in his favorite dinner - pasta and sauce. Well, For me, I'll be having my sauce over stir-fried zucchini and yellow squash.

He's hasn't been too happy with all the very veggie-heavy meals lately, even though I make him cornbread to go with Chef AJ's chili recipes and the other meals have plenty of rice or taters, so as a treat I'm making him self seitan-based meatballs to plop in his spaghetti today. Now if one happens to fall onto my plate when serving, well, I can't help but eat it now, right? ;^)

The recipe is by Jane Esselstyn and she developed it for her brother Rip's book My Beef With Meat.

Spicy Italian Eat Balls
Prep time: 10 minutes
cook time: 30 minutes
Makes 20 to 40, epending on sixe of balls

Add these to pasta night and have an absolute ball! You can also serve them with toothpicks as hors d'oerves and watch them disappear. If you like things less spicy, use less Italian seasoning.

¾ cup vegetable broth 
1 tablespoon low-sodium tamari sauce 
1 fresh garlic clove, minced 
1 cup wheat gluten 
1 to 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning 
1 teaspoon dried oregano 
¼ teaspoon garlic salt (optional) 
1 teaspoon onion powder 
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast 
1 cup Fast and Fresh Marinara Sauce

Pre-heat the oven to 375ยบ. Line a roasting pan with a layer of foil or parchment paper.

In a small bowl, whisk together the tamari, broth and garlic. In a separate bowl, whisk together the gluten, Italian seasoning, oregano, garlic salt, onion powder and nutritional yeast.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients.  Hand mix and/or knead ingredients until there is an elastic texture to the dough. Using your hands, roll dough into balls the size of grapes, walnuts or golf balls. Place the balls onto the lined pan and baste with the sauce.

Bake 20 minutes. 

Remove from oven, rotate & roll balls around, baste with marinara in the pan. Bake 10 minutes more. 

Remove from oven, serve warm over pasta with sauce.

VWG - I always have vital wheat gluten on hand because I've been using it since the 1970's as a meat substitute. When the shipping price started to exceed the item's price at the store I has used since the beginning, The Mail Order Catalog, I started buying the packages from Bob's Red Mill by the case from Amazon with free Prime shipping. It came out cheaper, and since each pound or so was individually wrapped, it was easier to store and less chance of bugs getting into it.

Tamari - I always use low-sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos since I once had a bad allergic reaction to low sodium tamari.

Garlic - My usual cube of Dorot frozen minced garlic to the rescue. It defrosted nicely in the few minutes sitting in the broth as I got the dry ingredients whisked together.

Italian Seasoning - I used my usual Penzey's blend.

Garlic salt - Never. I used plain old granulated garlic.

Marinara Sauce - I used some leftover Hunts no-salt added tomato sauce for this because it was in the fridge. For dinner I'll be using a jar of Engine 2 sauce from Whole Foods that we bought when on vacation. I'm not sure what flavor yet - my husband will pick when the time comes.

Amount - 20 to 40?? Maybe if these were the size of an aspirin tablet! Mine are about walnut size and I barely eked 12 out of the dough. They didn't change size in cooking.

Before and After cooking shots:


The verdict:

I've been making non-meat balls for almost 40 years using many different recipes as new recipes appeared and my dietary needs changed. I've had them fried in a bit of oil, fried in broth or water, fried in a tomato based sauce, roasted, broiled, steamed, and I remember one recipe from decades ago that was boiled. The texture of these was very close to those long-ago boiled ones. Tasty, but gummy. We have lots of leftovers so we'll see if they firm up more after being in the refrigerator a while. If I ever do make these again, I'll keep them in the oven a lot longer, maybe 45 or more minutes. 

Summer is coming rapidly (Didn't we just wear our winter coats last week? Oh yeah, WE DID!!) and I won't be using the oven all that much until late September now. But if I do decide to surprise my husband with non-meatballs again, I'll go back to these by Sarah Matheny

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