Everybody loves their comfort food and most of them like it as their mothers cook. I also belong to the same category. I always try to recreate my mother’s cooking and that’s how I keep myself happy on those stressful days. But recently my happiness is gone to the bay as the nearest supermarket had stopped selling non-veg items (How could they do that to me, I was such a regular customer there; sob sob!) and by force I’m turning into a vegetarian. No I don’t have any offence to any vegetarian it’s just I love non-veg more than my life (at least I believe so).
But again my wish, my choice all belongs to me and I’m the only keeper here. So now I have to travel long route to grab a mini tray of chicken and if I’m lucky I’ll be able to fetch some fish too I think I should buy a lottery on the next day when I get fish there. May be I’ll win the 1st prize; who can say (wink wink)! Recently I had bought a huge pile of tofu to control my non-veg urge. But after 3 days I had lost my interest as I was running out of variations. Frankly speaking, it was my belief that only meat can be compared to the taste of meat; it doesn’t matter how close the veggie taste to it. And I wouldn’t have changed my mind if my experiment with tofu wouldn’t get the success.
During the summer I rely on my comfort food completely and meatloaf or meatballs are the topper of the list. It saves my ass during rough weekdays or lazy weekends. I was craving for some sumptuous meaty comfort food but all I had is 2 packets of frozen tofu. In my wildest mind I thought to make some meatloaf with the tofu and threw out tofu into the sink and started working with the rest. But soon I realized I was also out of egg and breadcrumbs. Out of the frustration my determination level increased and I decided to finish what I had started. But as the dough wasn’t tight enough to hold the shape, I turned them into small balls and rolled them in ground flax seed and baked (read, treated) them as meatballs instead of meatloaf. I used Homemade Marinara Sauce (damn! still 2 bottles in the refrigerator) as gravy to wipe off my Spaghetti Aglio e Olio.
And as icing of the cake, these Vegan Meatballs are baked not fried so saves a hell lot calorie from the oil. Hence it will pile on 34 calories only per ball.
So without killing you with the suspense I’m handing out the recipe of Skinny Baked Vegan Meatballs (Gluten free).
Preparation Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 25 mins
Resting Time: 5 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Yield: 18-20 large balls
For the Vegan Meatballs:
Tofu: 300 g
Red onion, large: 2
Carrot, small: 1 (I used 1 baby carrot)
Jalapeno, small: 2
Green chili: 2 (optional)
Garlic: 8-12 cloves (adjust the amount according to personal preference)
Ground flax seed: 2 tbsp + 2 tbsp (for the outer crust)
Mustard sauce: 2 tbsp (optional)
Spicy tomato sauce: 3 tbsp (optional)
Salt to taste
Extra virgin olive oil: ½ tsp (for greasing only)
For the Glaze:
Marinara sauce: 1 cup
Baking loaf pan (optional but recommended) or Baking sheet
Preheat the oven to 1800C. Prepare the baking pan by greasing with extra virgin olive oil.
Squeeze water from tofu as much possible. Break the tofu in small pieces and make dry crumbs of it by using food processor/chopper. Keep aside the crumbs in a clean dry bowl. (See Tips)
Wash, clean and roughly chop the onion, carrot, chili (if using any) and jalapeno; peel the garlic cloves. Add all the veggies in food processor/chopper and pulse for 1-2 mins to mince the veggies neatly. (See Tips)
Take a large mixing bowl and dump the minced veggies and tofu crumbs in it. Mix thoroughly with a spatula or with your fingers. Pick the option you are comfortable with. Add mustard and spicy sauce (if using any) and salt in the bowl and mix thoroughly. Add 2 tbsp of ground flax seed and mix to produce smooth dough. The dough shouldn’t be either tight or runny; it should be easily pliable with bare hands. (See Tips)
Take rest 2 tbsp of ground flax seed in a small bowl and keep aside. Now roll out small balls out of the dough and give it round ball shape with your palms and fingers. Keep them on a large clean dry plate. Make sure they don’t touch each other. Roll each ball in ground flax seed and place them on previously greased baking pan. Sprinkle ground flax seed on the top of the ball, if you got any extra. (See Tips)
Now bake the meatballs at 1800C for 15 mins or until the top gets the golden color. Remove the pan/sheet from the oven and keep on the wire rack for 5 mins.
While vegan meatballs are baking, keep the marinara sauce warm in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Now pour ½ of the warm marinara sauce on the meatballs and bake it for another 10 mins at 2200C or until the top becomes sticky and looks dark in color. (See Tips)
Once meatballs oops tofu balls aka Skinny Vegan Meatballs are nicely colored, remove them from oven and keep on wire rack for 5 mins to cool down a bit or until easy to handle. Transfer rest ½ of the warm marinara sauce in serving bowl. Carefully arrange the baked glazed vegan meatballs in the sauce, without breaking them into pieces. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve immediately.
These Skinny Baked Vegan Meatballs (Gluten free) tastes best when served hot. It can be enjoyed both as appetizer and meal. Serve with any of your favorite dip, salad and/or drink or appetizer. And serve with any kind of pasta/spaghetti or even simple few slices of French bread and a good white wine if you are looking for a heavy brunch/meal. This recipe is also ideal for Summer outdoor picnics or for your lunchbox as well as a party starter. I had some Spaghetti Aglio e Olio on my dinner table to complement the dish.
1. Make sure tofu and all other ingredients are at room temperature. For better result squeeze out water from tofu, keep the tofu on a sieve and place a weight on it. Don’t forget to place a large bowl beneath the sieve to avoid the mess.
2. You can also chop the veggies with knife but choppers just make our life way too hassle-free to concentrate on other things.
3. Or you can also use food processor for the same if you have larger bowls with it.
4. If you are not so comfortable to use your hands to form balls, use any large/medium ice-cream scoops. They yield very good shaped balls with a wonder.
5. If you find the tofu balls are getting darker color soon, cover them with aluminum foil and continue baking.
Eat, Love, Enjoy and Repeat!