Vegan meatballs

 

Do you believe that eating healthy is boring and being vegan is only about salads? 

These delicious no-meatballs made of quinoa and black beans will definitely change your mind!!

The original meatballs are a typical dish from southern Italy.  The traditional recipe is made of minced beef, eggs, parmesan cheese, pine nuts, stale bread and heaps of oil for frying.

Not the healthiest thing to eat but, when I was a child, I couldn’t leave my grandmother house without eating at least one “polpetta” (Italian name for meatball).

I love to spend time in the kitchen cooking and trying new recipes, but even more, I love experimenting with different ways to adapt to gluten-free and vegan cooking from the traditional Italian cuisine.

There is this misconception that eating vegan is tasteless and it doesn’t fill you up unless you use processed foods and plenty of oil, salt and flavor enhancers.

This recipe is proof that with just simple and natural ingredients you can create dishes that will knock your socks off!

It’s delicious, fast to make it, vegan and completely gluten-free.

Ready to get your hands “dirty”?

Let’s get started!! 

 

Quinoa & Black Bean No-Meatballs 

Makes approximately 15 no-meatballs.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of cooked beans
  • 3 cups of cooked quinoa
  • 1 handful of basil – chopped
  • 5 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped 
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 fresh red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 1 tsp of turmeric
  • Salt, 1tsp or to taste
  • Vegan “parmesan cheese” (pulse in food processor 1/2 cup of almonds and 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds until it becomes a fine meal, add 1 tbsp nutritional yeast for extra flavor)  
  • Pepper (optional)
  • 2 tbs of olive oil (optional)

Sauce:

  • 3 cups of tomato sauce (not ketchup)  
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped 
  • 1 eggplant with skin, diced
  • 1 tsp oregano 
  • Salt to taste

 Method:

You can cook the meatballs two ways: in a frying pan or in the oven. I prefer in the oven because it is less oily and, in my opinion, tastes better.

 

No-meatballs Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 180°.  Spread the cooked black beans on an oven tray previously covered with baking paper. Bake the beans for 7-10 minutes just to dry them.

In a food processor, add all the ingredients except for the quinoa and pulse for just a few seconds. Do not overmix as we do not want the consistency to be too creamy.

Pour the mixture in a bowl, add the quinoa and the pumpkin seeds and mix well with your hands or a wooden spoon. Add salt if needed.

With the aid of a spoon, shape the dough into the size that you prefer and roll them into vegan parmesan or breadcrumbs in order to have a crunchier crust on the outside ( I used breadcrumbs from buckwheat bread for keeping it gluten-free). Place them on the baking tray.

Bake for 20 minutes at 180° and turn them every few minutes in order to have a crunchy crust on all sides.

 

Sauce:

1.      Heat a medium pan and when is hot add the onions. When they start sizzling add a couple of spoonful’s of water to prevent from burning.

2.      When the onion turns golden-brown, add the eggplant, 1/2 cup of water, salt, cover with a lid and let it cook for 10 minutes.

3.      Once the eggplant is soft, add the tomato sauce.  Put the lid back on and cook for 10 minutes more on low heat.

 

Finishing:

Now that both the no-meatballs and the sauce are ready, it’s time to make the magic.

Add the no-meatballs to the pan with the tomato sauce, make sure that are covered with it. Add the oregano, salt if needed and 1-2 spoon/s of olive oil (optional). Cook on low heat, covered, for 10 minutes.

Serve with some fresh parsley and a sprinkle of vegan parmesan.

Try this recipe, I am sure you will be amazed! Remember that you can eat healthy without ever compromising the taste.

 

BUON APPETITO!!!

 

If you like it, don’t forget to share it on your social media with the hashtag #thewholistichub and #happyfunkyvegan

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