Safe to say, these balls really blew me away.
Stop. Stop it right now. I can hear you snickering from in front of your screen.
Anywho…I never really find myself craving meat. But sometimes I do crave meaty-type things. That may make close to zero sense if you fancy yourself a carnivorous human, but I’m just going to go with it and ask that you follow suit. For instance, spaghetti and meatballs just sounded like the tits. So I made it. But my way.
There is something incredibly savory, hearty, and dare I say…meaty about these veggie balls. Not only do they have a chewy, slightly wet texture of a meatball, but they have this incredibly complex juicy flavor that you can’t stop yourself from devouring. And of course, they have a whole lot of spice for that lingering burn I love so dearly. The creaminess of the tahini and dense umami of the tamari mingles with the nuttiness from the sunflower seeds and when it mixes with a tomato sauce…the bite sends you to meatball nirvana.
These vegetarian balls are filled with gut-scrubbing fiber to keep your belly full long after dinner time. Antioxidants abound in the fresh herbs and sh*t-ton of veggies inside. This meatball is a win-win: loaded with flavor + good-for-you ingredients.
Spicy Vegetarian Meatballs
Makes 16-18 “meat” balls
For the spice liquid:
- 1 T tahini or other nut butter
- 3 T soy sauce
- 1 T water
- 1 T pesto or Sriracha sauce or other ground chili paste
- 1 T sesame oil (or another oil)
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 T chia seeds + 3 T water, combined in a small bowl for ~5 mins
- 1 tsp honey or agave syrup
All other ingredients:
- 1 T oil of choice (for cookin’)
- 1/2 medium red onion, chopped very fine
- 1/2 cup brown mushrooms, chopped very fine
- 1 serrano pepper, seeded and diced (optional…if chu want a lil fire, leave the seeds in)
- 1/2 medium carrot, shredded finely
- 1/4 cup fresh herbs of choice (I used thyme + oregano)
- 1 cup oats, processed for 2-3 seconds (not into a flour, just supa’ coarsely ground)
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 T nutritional yeast (optional but highly recommended)
- sea salt + black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds or other nut of choice, chopped finely
- 3/4 cup cooked quinoa or brown rice (I used leftovers from the other day)
- 1 jar (~3 cups) pasta sauce of choice (I used Vodka sauce….duh)
- pasta to go along wif them balls
- In a food processor or a medium bowl, combine all spice liquid until smooth. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high and saute onions and mushrooms for 3-5 minutes. Add in serrano, if using, and cook for another ~30 seconds. Remove from heat and sprinkle with some salt and pepper.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine carrot, herbs, oats, cumin, nutritional yeast if using, and a few more shakes of salt and pepper. Mix in sunflower seeds or nuts, onions, mushrooms, serrano, and quinoa or rice.
- Slowly stir the spice liquid mixture into the mixing bowl and stir until just combined. Taste and add more salt/pepper if you fancy more flavor.
- Refrigerate this mixture for 20 minutes or simply freeze for 10 minutes.
- Scoop mixture into balls and arrange in a slightly oiled baking dish or cast iron pan.
- Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, pour in pasta sauce of choice, and let bake for another 10 minutes. So, ~30 minutes total.
- Take out of oven, let cool, and serve with fave pasta.