Round abouts the holiday season, Trader Joe’s stopped carrying our favorite frozen vegan meatballs. Initially, I thought it was just on account of making room for holiday goods, but alas they’re GONE. Apparently there’s an issue with the supplier, but sometimes I think that’s just something they say to pacify a disappointed customer. Those things were awesome. Since then we’ve tried others and have only found disappointment. And some are darn expensive. Especially with a five year old that can eat her weight in meatballs. So, we did what every self respecting foodie does: we made our own! They’re definitely not gluten free, as one of the primary ingredients is vital wheat gluten. If you happen to have a gluten-free recipe you like, please let us know! We would love to give it a try. So given that this is a gluten-fortified recipe, take care not to over mix it. More mixing means tough meatballs and nobody likes that. If you do happen to overdo it, a good soak in some red sauce will do the trick. Here are a few great recipes to keep your meatballs company:
Six to eight servings
About an hour to prepare
Adapted from For Reals Life
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 8 oz. tempeh
- 6 oz. fresh spinach, chopped
- 1 cup vital wheat gluten
- ¼ cup whole wheat flour
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- ½ cup marinara sauce
- 2 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp. dried fennel
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Chop and crumble your tempeh into little pieces, like smaller than a pea.
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add garlic and cook for about a minute, then add the chopped spinach and tempeh. Cook until the spinach is just wilted. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- In a separate bowl mix together your vital wheat gluten, flour, nutritional yeast, salt, basil, oregano, dried pepper flakes and fennel.
- Mix the marinara sauce, tomato paste and rice with your tempeh mixture. Add that to your dry mix. Stir to combine and then knead gently until just combined.
- Take a small piece of the mixture out and roll into a ball that's about 1 inch. You should end up making around 35 - 40 meatballs.
- Bake for 15 minutes and then turn and bake for another 10–15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes.
- If you're going to add them to a red sauce, simmer them in your sauce for 5-10 minutes to warm them up. They also freeze well. To freeze, let the meatballs cool completely. Then store them in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, just simmer for 10 minutes in your favorite sauce.