I really like these vegan “meat”balls. There are a few recipes floating around, many of which have been lovingly coined “neatballs”. Cute? Sort of. I guess that I’m kind of an unpredictable lady: those close to me probably would have said that I would have been all over the “neatball” name…meh: call me a non-conformist. So, because I refuse to conform to the neatball name, but not the essence of the delicious alternative to balls-made-out-of-animal-flesh, I happily bring you vegan “meat”balls.

These are primarily made from tofu, walnuts, and mushrooms, with some seasonings and binding agents thrown in. The caramelized onions add a lovely extra layer of flavour and moisture to the balls, that would otherwise be missing.

When these “meat”balls are browned in the pan, they develop a tasty browned exterior while their insides remain soft.  Thanks to the walnuts, they also have a really nice texture.

These are great on spaghetti with tomato sauce, would make a lovely “meat”ball sub, and are totally delicious on spaghetti squash-gratin.

When you cut into them, they crumble more than regular meatballs, but it’s a small price to pay for yummy little balls of vegan joy.

Vegan “Meat”balls

Adapted from Peppermill

1 cup firm tofu, crumbled
2 tbsp walnuts,  finely chopped
125 g mushrooms, cleaned and finely chopped (1/2 a standard-size pkg of button/cremini mushrooms)
1/4 cup caramelized onions, chopped
1 Tbsp whole wheat flour
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
a pinch (or two!) of cayenne pepper
1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
Extra virgin olive oil – 2 tbsp to shallow fry or 1 tbsp to bake.
1. Assemble all the ingredients for the balls in a bowl, except the bread crumbs and the oil. Mix well and combine until it all comes together.
2. Add just enough bread crumbs as is necessary to bind the balls together.
3. Check and adjust seasoning.
4. Shape into balls. The amounts in this recipe should make about 10-12 balls.
2. In a saute pan, shallow fry the balls in 2 batches adding a tbsp of oil each time. Make sure that you are carefully rolling them around in the pan to brown all sides.  Alternately, you could bake them in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, rotating them in between so they brown evenly.
Just so you know, as with the vegan veggie burgers, browning the “meat”balls in the pan is so much tastier!