Meatballs have always been one of my favorite comfort foods. There’s something about biting into a small ball of tender meat that always gives me the “food feels”. But seeing how this month marks my four year anniversary of being meat free, I’ve come up with an amazing meat-free recipe that does the job.
This recipe is a vegetarian’s dream. The shitake mushrooms and ground flaxseeds give these simple vegetarian meatballs a delicious earthy quality. While the moisture in the tofu prevents them from drying out. The texture and flavor of this recipe can’t be beat. And it’s just as tasty as its meaty counterpart.
Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of bean based veggie meatballs, and honestly, they always seem so dry to me. Especially the day after, when you go to heat them up for a sandwich or veggie bowl. And instead of having a tasty, moist veggie meatball you end up with a broken, crumbly mess. This is precisely why I decided to substitute beans for creamy tofu. The tofu is the perfect binding agent for this dish and absorbs all of the delicious veggie flavors as it bakes.
So, let’s get started!
What You’ll Need – Makes 12 VegGIE Balls
- Olive oil
- ½ pack of super firm tofu
- ½ large onion
- 2-3 leafs of kale
- 1 tablespoon veggie stock
- 1-2 teaspoons of garlic paste
- 1 pack of shitake mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- ¾ cup of Italian bread crumbs
- 2 healthy shakes of worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
Directions – Serves 4
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
- Grab a large sauté pan from your pantry. Coat the pan with olive oil.
- Add your garlic paste over medium low heat.
- Finely dice your onions, mushrooms, and kale and add them to the pan.
- Once the veggie begin to sweat and become translucent, add in your veggie stock. Stir.
- Reduce this mixture until the veggie stock is absorbed into the veggies. This should happen quickly.
- Remove the sauté pan from the heat. Set aside.
- Grab your food processor and add in the tofu. Be sure to drain off any excess liquid that might be in the tofu package before adding it to your processor. Blend the tofu until the texture is puree like.
- Remove the tofu from the processor and add it to a medium sized mixing bowl.
- Combine your parmesan cheese, flaxseed, breadcrumbs and Worcestershire sauce into the bowl with the tofu.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Once the veggie mixture is cool, combine it with the tofu / breadcrumb mixture. Fold all of the ingredients together.
- begin to form your veggie meatballs.
- Add olive oil to your sauté pan. Lightly brown the veggie balls on each side. 1-2 minutes per side. Once everything is browned you will finish baking these in the oven at 375 degrees for 25 -30 minutes. Serve over pasta, or on a sandwich with red sauce!
Author: Sarah Thomas-Drawbaugh
Sarah Thomas-Drawbaugh is a recipe developer and creator of the brand, Healthyish Foods®. Sarah makes plant-based, fish and chicken recipes that are simple and delicious. Her work can be seen in Healthy-ish by Bon Appetit and Bon Appetit Magazine (digital), Women’s Health Magazine (digital) and Mind Body Green. Sarah is a Pittsburgh, PA native but currently lives in Vail, Colorado with her husband, Dan and rescue dog, Graci!