Vegan meat... balls :)

Alyssa Bozzuto

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hi guys,
I’m new at this so I need all the help I can get.
I’m Italian, so naturally we eat pasta & meatballs like it’s going out of style.
Any recommendations on vegan meatballs? I just tried Italian style meatless eggplant meatballs and they were awful :(
 

Lou

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Check the frozen food section of your grocer. There are a couple of companies that make meatless meatballs. I can't remember if I have had any. but I have heard that they are ok.

When I googled vegan meatballs this recipe came out on top. The Minimalist Baker is a vegan chef. I've made a bunch of her recipes and they are usually very good.
https://minimalistbaker.com/simple-vegan-meatballs/

You might want to google it yourself. there seem to be dozens of variations on the theme. There seem to be a lot of different types of vegan meatballs. so you might have to try a few to find the one you like best. Could be fun.

One of my favorite vegan YouTubers Posted this

 

Veganite

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I've made some meatballs once with tempeh and they were delicious. I can't remember what exactly what I put in mine, but here's a similar recipe.
Ingredients
FOR MEATBALLS
  • 1/2 cup white onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 flax egg
  • 8 ounces tempeh* (or sub 1 heaping cup rinsed and drained chickpeas for similar result)
  • 1/3 cup
  • 2 tsp Italian seasonings (or 1/2 tsp each dried basil and oregano)
  • optional: 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup vegan bread crumbs (gluten-free for GF eaters | or sub almond meal)
  • 2 Tbsp your favorite marinara or tomato sauce
  • Olive oil for sautéing + salt and pepper to taste (can be baked oil free)
FOR COATING
  • 1/3 cup vegan bread crumbs (gluten-free for GF eaters )
  • 1/3 cup vegan parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and prepare flax egg in a small dish.
  2. In a large, deep skillet, sauté onion and garlic in 1/2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat until soft and translucent - about 3 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Add tempeh to food processor and pulse to break down. Then add sautéd garlic, onion, and remaining ingredients (except olive oil) and mix, scraping down sides as needed. You want it to form into a moldable “dough.”
  4. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. The tempeh will come across as a little bitter, but once coated, baked and served with marinara it's not nearly as apparent.
  5. NOTE: Depending on how salty your vegan parmesan cheese is, you may need to add a little salt and pepper at this point. However, I didn’t find it necessary.
  6. Scoop out 1 Tbsp amounts of dough and roll into balls. At this time, heat the same skillet you used earlier to medium heat.
  7. Mix remaining bread crumbs and parmesan cheese together in a shallow dish. Add tempeh balls one or two at a time and roll to coat.
  8. Add enough olive oil to form a thin layer on the bottom of your hot skillet, then add your coated tempeh balls in two batches, as to not crowd the pan. Brown for about 5 minutes total, shaking the pan to roll them around to brown all sides.
  9. Add browned meatballs to a baking sheet and add to the oven to bake for about 15 minutes, or longer if desired for a crispier result.
  10. At this time, prep any pasta your want to serve with your meatballs, as well as your favorite marinara sauce
  11. Once meatballs are deep golden brown and fairly firm to the touch, remove from oven.
Here's a few more options for you, if Lou's video doesn't grab ya ;)

I have not watched the video, but it looked helpful.

 
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amberfunk

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@Veganite All of those recipes in the video contain egg. Otherwise some great ideas. They can still be binded with some double flax "eggs" and some vital wheat gluten with some water or broth as needed.

Lightlife also has some great meatballs. I didn't like the gardein ones as they were too spicy but the lightlife ones are very mild and great texture.
 

Veganite

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All of those recipes in the video contain egg

As I said, I didn't watch the video. However, egg is an easy thing to substitute out with a flax egg.
Hopefully the OP has enough suggestions to work with. Although, more meatball recipes wouldn't hurt either.

Nothing personal folks, and Gardein has excellent tasting products, no question about it. However, it is processed food, and despite it tasting good, I personally prefer my food without paragraphs of ingredients. The ingredients aren't that horrible, but compared to meatballs made without enriched wheat flour, soy protein isolate, ferrous sulfate, methylcellulose, sugar, etc., I'll stick to homemade, myself.

Meatball ingredients
gardein™: water, soy protein concentrate*, expeller pressed canola oil*, vital wheat protein*, soy protein isolate*, enriched wheat flour* (wheat flour, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), methylcellulose, spices, yeast extract, onion powder, sea salt, organic cane sugar, malted barley extract, dehydrated onion, dehydrated garlic, natural flavors (from plant sources), garlic powder, white distilled vinegar, pea protein, carrot fiber, beetroot fiber, molasses, paprika and turmeric extracts, annatto extract. *Non genetically engineered soybeans, wheat and canola. Ingredients are subject to change at the manufacturer’s discretion. For the most complete and up-to-date list of ingredients, please refer to the product packaging.

*
 

Lou

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^ the ingredients aren't the worst things. but it is a highly processed food.
Plus Gardein got bought by Tyson. and Tyson is maybe the worst food company in the known universe.

Have you guys seen this? Don't just skim it. If you read it and pay attention - I bet at some point you will say "O.M.G."
Tyson Foods Violation Tracker
https://violationtracker.goodjobsfirst.org/parent/tyson-foods
 
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Alyssa Bozzuto

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I've made some meatballs once with tempeh and they were delicious. I can't remember what exactly what I put in mine, but here's a similar recipe.
Ingredients
FOR MEATBALLS
  • 1/2 cup white onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 flax egg
  • 8 ounces tempeh* (or sub 1 heaping cup rinsed and drained chickpeas for similar result)
  • 1/3 cup
  • 2 tsp Italian seasonings (or 1/2 tsp each dried basil and oregano)
  • optional: 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup vegan bread crumbs (gluten-free for GF eaters | or sub almond meal)
  • 2 Tbsp your favorite marinara or tomato sauce
  • Olive oil for sautéing + salt and pepper to taste (can be baked oil free)
FOR COATING
  • 1/3 cup vegan bread crumbs (gluten-free for GF eaters )
  • 1/3 cup vegan parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and prepare flax egg in a small dish.
  2. In a large, deep skillet, sauté onion and garlic in 1/2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat until soft and translucent - about 3 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Add tempeh to food processor and pulse to break down. Then add sautéd garlic, onion, and remaining ingredients (except olive oil) and mix, scraping down sides as needed. You want it to form into a moldable “dough.”
  4. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. The tempeh will come across as a little bitter, but once coated, baked and served with marinara it's not nearly as apparent.
  5. NOTE: Depending on how salty your vegan parmesan cheese is, you may need to add a little salt and pepper at this point. However, I didn’t find it necessary.
  6. Scoop out 1 Tbsp amounts of dough and roll into balls. At this time, heat the same skillet you used earlier to medium heat.
  7. Mix remaining bread crumbs and parmesan cheese together in a shallow dish. Add tempeh balls one or two at a time and roll to coat.
  8. Add enough olive oil to form a thin layer on the bottom of your hot skillet, then add your coated tempeh balls in two batches, as to not crowd the pan. Brown for about 5 minutes total, shaking the pan to roll them around to brown all sides.
  9. Add browned meatballs to a baking sheet and add to the oven to bake for about 15 minutes, or longer if desired for a crispier result.
  10. At this time, prep any pasta your want to serve with your meatballs, as well as your favorite marinara sauce
  11. Once meatballs are deep golden brown and fairly firm to the touch, remove from oven.
Here's a few more options for you, if Lou's video doesn't grab ya ;)

I have not watched the video, but it looked helpful.

I appreciate it!!!!
 
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Lou

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From what I read on Wiki they only bought a 5 percent stake in the company. As Sax pointed out, this is bound to happen as these plant-based companies gain in popularity.
*

Decided to check my facts, turns out I got just about everything wrong. So here are my corrections. My memory does play some tricks on me. But I usually don 't get everything wrong. Thanks, guys for calling me out on these. I will try to be more careful in the future.

As Veganite pointed out, Tyson only bought 5% of Beyond Meat. General Mills bought some too. 5% is just a little bit. So probably not worth worrying about. Beyond Meat is still in charge of their company.

Gardein did get bought up. but not by Tyson. By Pinnacle, a big giant food company.

This big food corp includes Campbell, Swanson, and Vlasic and at least a dozen more brands we see in the supermarket.
In 2014, there was an announcement that Hillshire brands was going to buy Pinnacle, and then be acquired by Tyson. but that deal was scrapped.
 

Sax

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Thanks for the update Lou.

Would it be detrimental to veganism if we boycotted vegan alternatives that were bought up by giant food corporations? I don't want to make perfection the enemy of progress, but I also want to minimize my support of companies that hurt animals. I could never knowingly give my money to Tyson, for example. Where do we draw the line? And how do we stay informed?
 

Lou

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Thanks for the update Lou.

Would it be detrimental to veganism if we boycotted vegan alternatives that were bought up by giant food corporations? I don't want to make perfection the enemy of progress, but I also want to minimize my support of companies that hurt animals. I could never knowingly give my money to Tyson, for example. Where do we draw the line? And how do we stay informed?


That is a good question. and a good point. The saying "cut of his nose to spite his face" comes to mind.

I think its one of those things that each and every one of us can decide on our own. I also think places like this are great for staying informed.

Based on the above example, if I was really into Beyond Meat maybe I would continue to buy it, Tyson only bought a little bit of it. Fortunately, I bought Beyond Meat just once. Mostly out of curiosity and haven't felt a need to buy it again. And wasn't it here in this forum where we concluded that it's better than real meat but that it is still processed food and not something those of us who are interested in personal health could recommend.

The Gardein might be an easier decision to avoid. Totally bought up by a big food corporation. Although not even in the same league of evil as Tyson. The meatballs are also a pretty highly processed food.

Just a little off topic. Take Silk, a big maker of Plant Milks. They got gobbled up by one big company which then gobbled up by an even bigger company. Since then they no longer buy certified organic soybeans. And some of their soy milks use soy flour instead of whole soybeans. There are other makers of soymilk - so that is an easy one to avoid.

There is also sort of a flip side to this question. what about when a company introduces a vegan product. Taco Bell now promotes its vegan-friendly items, right on their website. I understand that some Subways have vegan items. Costco has some vegan items. Burger joints now have the Impossible Burger. As vegans is it our "duty" to go out and buy these products?

I don't think we need to go out of our way to buy these. But let's say you are on a road trip and the next exit has a Taco Bell and a McDonalds. I would pull into the Taco Bell. At the after-work party, and everyone is tired of Mexican and Chinese, I would suggest the place with the Impossible burger



----
Is the Beyond Meat Burger Good For you?
(Spoiler alert: not really)
https://myhealthdetective.com/beyond-meat-burger-good/
 

Emma JC

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I love the Gardien meatballs - we just use 3 each so a package lasts for 2 meals - we also made meatball subs with them.

I also love my Black Bean Burger recipe that I use for burgers, meatballs and even for meat loaf. You can put anything in that you like or have in the fridge and add or subtract spices. When I make it as meatloaf I put a ketchup bbq sauce based topping on it.

Black or Other Bean Burgers Etc

1 1/2 cups cooked black beans or one 16 ounce can, drained and rinsed with hot water for easier mashing
2 chopped green onions
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 chopped celery stalk
2 cups grated sweet potato or carrots
small amount chopped finely - kale collard greens spinach fresh basil etc
1/4 red pepper finely chopped
1/2 cup rolled oats or leftover cooked rice or quinoa or cous cous
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon mustard
3 tblspoons chow chow or sweet relish
1 tsbsp soy sauce
2 tsbsp ketchup or 1 tbsp tomato paste
spices - thyme allspice garlic onion powder salt pepper paprika cumin turmeric

in water/veggie stock - saute garlic onions salt and pepper until soft add sweet potato, celery, greens, red pepper and then spices - remove from heat add soy sauce

mash beans and add veggies, yeast and chow chow and mustard and ketchup or tomato paste and hot sauce

add bread crumbs if needed

395 degrees on parchment paper on cookie sheet - 10 minutes per side

Emma JC