Christ is Risen!
This is my go to ‘meatball’ recipe!!! I have tried so many and I think this is the one. I enjoy making this recipe when making food for large gatherings (especially for church! It is a hit for the fasting days) or for a quick dish to make for dinner because the prepping and cooking is super easy. You can choose to bake or fry them; I personally like to bake and then sauté in some olive oil (most likely infused with Mediterranean herbs for a boost of both flavor and nutrition — rosemary is known for helping the brain and memory). If you want to bake it and not fry it, I highly recommend baking it first and then broiling it; this will ensure the interior will be fully cooked and then you get a really nice brown crispy outside when using the broiler setting. Don’t use the broiler setting first and then bake it. You don’t want to overcook the outside and have the inside to be undercooked. This is not meat that is being cooked, but beans. Keep that in mind. 🙂
If you have been making the Quick Sun Dried Tomato bread I posted a few weeks ago, this will pair nicely with it. You can even make this while cooking the meatballs. Simply put the bread ingredients together while you wait for the mushroom-tamari mixture to cool down. You can easily bake the bread and meatballs at the same time since both recipes require the oven to be at 375 F. For a fuller meal, make pasta of choice while the bread and meatballs are in the oven; I personally prefer linguine or fettuccine. Then toss it with Marinara Sauce (recipe follows) or with your favorite marinara sauce; I like to use Rao’s Tomato sauce if I don’t have the time to make my own or don’t have the ingredients. Enjoy this recipe on a Meatless Monday or on fasting days in the church calendar.
TIPS ON MAKING THE MARINARA SAUCE
You can make the marinara sauce while the meatballs are cooking. I think it is best to make this ahead of time so the flavors blend and work their magic. Good food takes time so if you can and have the time, I HIGHLY encourage to make this a day ahead. In addition to which, the choice of tomatoes makes a huge difference in flavor. I always use San Marzano tomatoes. The brand that I use is Simpson Imports, Ltd; the one you want to use is the can with the white and blue label. The tomatoes are grown by American farmers and packaged here in the States. I try to buy things locally as much as possible if I can. Also, this could be a personal preference but I notice that my best sauce comes from tomatoes in this can. I don’t usually like canned food but these tomatoes are the best! I made the sauce recently using San Marzano tomatoes from a different company and it just wasn’t the same (to me, at least.)
Robin Robertson’s Notes for Mama’s Meatballs: Try these flavorful orbs in the Piccata Meatballs with Penne and Asparagus on page 89, or serve them with pasta and Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce (page 197). They’re also great in a sub roll with a little tomato sauce and melty cheese.
Robin Robertson’s Notes for Marinara Sauce: Despite its seaworthy name, “mariner’s style” sauce does not contain seafood. The simple tomato sauce with few ingredients was supposedly favored by Italian sailors who had limited ingredients at hand. This basic all-purpose tomato sauce isn’t just for spaghetti; it’s great on other pasta shapes too. It can also be used in any recipe where an Italian tomato sauce is desired, such as polenta, Spicy Eggplant and Tempeh Stuffed Pasta Shells, or lightly breaded and sauteed seitan or tofu.
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
3 tbsp hot water
2 garlic cloves, crushed (you can add more if you are a garlic fan like me!)
1 cup coarsely chopped mushrooms
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp tamari
1 1/2 cups cooked or 1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, drained, rinsed
2 tbsp vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
1 tsp dried basil
3/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 tbsp minced fresh basil or 1 tsp dried
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Pinch sugar, optional
2 bay leaves
- In a small bowl, combine the flaxseed and hot water, stirring to mix. Set aside for 5 – 10 minutes.
- In a food processor, process the garlic until finely minced (I used a garlic presser). Add the mushrooms and pulse until finely chopped, but not puréed. (Don’t worry too much about it being perfect; mushrooms shrink in size when cooked). No need to clean out the food processor because you will use it for the beans. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the mushroom mixture and cook for a few minutes, sitting until the mushrooms release their liquid and the liquid evaporates. Stir in the tomato paste and tamari, then remove from heat.
- Pulse the cannellini beans in the same food processor (no need to clean it out), then add them to the mushroom mixture. Sprinkle on the vital wheat gluten, then add the bread crumbs, nutritional yeast, parsley, flax mixture, and the rest of the dried ingredients. Mix well. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F. Lightly oil a large baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. When the mixture is cool enough to handle, use your hands to press the mixture together. If its too wet, add additional bread crumbs. If its too dry, add a little water, 1 tbsp at a time. Pinch off a small piece of the mixture, press it together in your hand, and then roll between your palms to make a 1 1/2 to 2 inch ball. Repeat until the mixture is used up, arranging the meatballs in rows on the prepared sheet. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until firm and nicely browned, turning once about halfway through. If not using right away, transfer to a container and cool completely at room temperature, then cover tightly and refrigerate or freeze until needed.
- For the marinara sauce: In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, sugar (optional), and bay leaves. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove and discard the garlic cloves and bay leaves before serving.
Add any of the following to this basic tomato sauce, alone or in combination: 2 or 3 tbsp dry red wine, 1/2 tsp ground fennel seeds, 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper, 1 cup sautéed sliced mushrooms.
The word basil is derived from the Greek word for king, suggesting that the ancient healers held this aromatic plant in high regard. It is an effective remedy for a variety of digestive disorders, including stomach cramps, vomiting, and constipation. Benefits from basil are reducing stomach cramps and nausea, relieves gas, promotes normal bowel function, and aids digestion. (Mindell)
It is believed that oregano was used for medicine as far back as the time of the cave man! Ancient Greeks used crushed oregano leaves on wounds and sore joints. Greek healers prescribed it for parasites and other infections. The Romans popularized oregano throughout Europe where oregano oil was used to disinfect the sick room. Even thought they were unaware of the existence of germs, they did know that disease was often spread through physical contact with the sick. Benefits from oregano are: natural disinfectant and antimicrobial; may help you beat a cold or flu; and may promote healing of skin wounds. Advice from Dr. Earl Mindell: Buy only products that are true oregano (oregano vulgate). The spice you buy in the supermarket that is sold as oregano is often a form of marjoram, and, although it’s great in tomato sauce or on pizza, it does not have the same potency of real oregano. (Mindell)
Flax seed has a neutral thermal nature; sweet flavor; laxative; mucilaginous; relieves pain and inflammation; influences the spleen-pancreas and colon. The richest source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have vitally important properties for strengthens immunity and cleansing the heart and arteries. Useful in many degenerative disorders.
1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds every day — such as on cereal or in smoothie — fulfills daily omega-3 fatty acids needs. (Page)
Calories: 5 per clove (raw)
Mushrooms, Button | (IF USING)
Calories: 15 per 1 cup serving (raw, sliced)
Mushrooms, Cremini | (IF USING)
Calories: 10 per 1 cup serving (raw, sliced)
Mushrooms, Porcini |(IF USING)
Calories: 100 per 1 oz serving (dried)
Mushrooms, Portobello | (IF USING)
Calories: 45 per 1 cup serving (grilled, sliced)
Nutritional Yeast Flakes
Serving Size 3 Rounded Tablespoons (20g)
Amount per Serving / % Daily Value
Calories per serving: 80
Total Fat: 1g / 2%
Saturated Fat: 0g / 0%
Trans Fat: 0g
Cholesterol: 0g / 0%
Sodium: 5mg / <1%
Potassium: 370mg / 11%
Total Carbohydrate: 14g / 5%
Dietary Fiber: 5g / 20%
Protein: 9g / 18%
Vitamin A: 0% Vitamin C: 0% Thiamine: 820% Riboflavin: 720% Niacin: 370% Vitamin B-6: 700% Folic Acid: 225% Vitamin B 12: 500% Biotin: 300% Pantothenic Acid: 15% Calcium: 1% Iron: 4% Phosphorus: 20% Magnesium: 6% Zinc: 25% Selenium: 40% Copper: 8% Manganese: 6% Molybdenum: 107% Chloride: 2%
Parsley helps settle stomach after a meal; it is a natural antispasmodic; a good expectorant that helps clear congestion due to coughs and colds and helps asthma; protects against cancer; it relieves gas and is a natural diuretic. (Mindell)
Parsley has slightly warming thermal nature; pungent, bitter, and salty flavor. helps detoxify meat or fish poisoning; ripens measles to hasten recovery. It promotes urination and dries watery mucoid conditions; good for the treatment of obesity, mucus in the bladder, swollen glands and breasts, and sonnets in the bladder, kidney, or gall bladder. Parsley is effective for nearly all kidney and urinary difficulties, although not for cases of severe kidney inflammations (since it is warming). Parsley strengthens the adrenal glands and benefits the optic and brain nerves; it is useful in the treatment of ear infections, earaches, and deafness. It is often taken as a cancer preventive. Parsley counteracts halitosis and poor digestion, and has a refreshing green color, thus making it an exceptional garnish. Parsley tea strengthens the teeth and makes a face lotion to increase circulation and bring color to the skin.
It contains several times the vitamin C of citrus and is one of the higher sources of provitamin A, chlorophyll, calcium, sodium, magnesium and iron. Trace amounts of vitamin B12 can be found in parsley, about 4 mcg per 100g edible portion (but it depends on how and where they are produced).
Caution for nursing mothers: Parsley should not be used since it dries up milk.
Tamari is a great alternative to adding salty flavor to dishes, especially if you are watching your sodium intake.
Tomatoes have a very cooling thermal nature; sweet and sour flavor; builds the yin fluids and relieves dryness and thirst; tonifies the stomach and cleans the liver; purifies the blood and detoxifies the body in general; encourages digestion and so is used in cases of diminished appetite, indigestion; food retention, anorexia, and constipation.
Tomato relieves liver heat and accompanying symptoms such as high blood pressure, red eyes, and headache. To treat areas of stagnant blood in the body, tomato can be used as a food and as an external pack of the raw finely sliced fruit on the stagnant site.
Even though an acidic fruit, after digestion the tomato alkalizes the blood and so is useful in reducing the acid blood of rheumatism and gout.
Vine ripened tomatoes are best; green-picked tomatoes that are later ripened can weaken the kidney-adrenal function.
Caution: Tomato upsets calcium metabolism and should be avoided in cases of arthritis. large amounts of tomatoes are weakening for everyone.
Calories: 35 per 1 cup serving (chopped, raw)
Veganize It!: Easy DIY Recipes for a Plant-Based Kitchen by Robin Robertson
“1,000 Vegan Recipes” by Robin Robertson
“The Vegetarian Flavor Bible” by Karen Page
“Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition by Paul Pitchford
“Earl Mindell’s New Herb Bible: A Complete Update of the Bestselling Guide to New and Traditional Herbal Remedies — How They Can Help Fight Depression and Anxiety, Improve Your Sex Life, Prevent Illness and Help You Heal Faster” by Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D