Tofu and Lentil Vegan Meatballs Recipe
I love plating a recipe beautifully almost as much as I love creating one.
Getting to eat them is equally as intoxicating.
If it looks beautiful, it's more likely to persuade someone to try it.
The goal is always to persuade more people who might be on the fence to try some vegan recipes. Plant based food is just as, if not more, wonderful.
Cream. butter, meat... they can all be replaced. Moreover, replacing them smartly, can result in a far superior finished product in every conceivable way.
This is my goal with every recipe.
Flavor is easy in vegan food. Plants and spices are rife with flavor. So I was focused on texture in this case. Tofu can be too soft, especially for vegan meatballs'. The addition of par cooked lentils was my way of creating that perfect chew. I believe it was a success. I hope you agree.
Tofu and Lentils Vegan Meatballs Recipe
14 ounce block extra firm tofu, drained overnight
3 cloves garlic, chunked
1 pint white or cremini mushrooms, diced
1/4 cup dry lentils
1 jalapeno, diced
1 serrano, diced
1/4 cup shredded vegan mozzarella
1 tbl olive oil
2 tbls hot sauce
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 tbls salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dry basil
1/2 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp crushed pepper flakes
The next day...
Add the mushrooms to a cold fry pan and top with 1/2 tsp salt. Cook over medium high heat. Add the olive once the pan is hot and the mushrooms have released a lot of their water.
Cook until the mushrooms darken and the pan dries out. Deglaze with the hot sauce and 1/4 cup of water.
Add the garlic, jalapeno, serrano, spices. Cook until the liquid dries up again.
Add the lentils and the other 1/4 cup water. Again cook until dry and continue to toast the lentils just a few minutes. Careful not to let anything burn.
Chunk the tofu and add to your food processor. Pour your mushroom mixture over that.
Pulse until you have a thick paste similar to a meatloaf of meatball mixture consistency.
Pour the mixture into a small metal bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill for at least 45 minutes at the bottom of the fridge.
Line a large sheet tray with foil or parchment. Coat with non-stick spray.
Retrieve your bowl from the fridge and stir in the cheeze until evenly distributed.
Roll your prepared mixture into 2 inch diameter balls and arrange evenly on the sheet tray. Try to work quickly so the mixture doesn't warm up too much.
Stash the tray of balls in the freezer. Keeping them quite cold before baking helps them retain their round shape even as they bake.
Preheat your oven to 400 F.
When the oven is ready remove your tray from the freezer and bake for 20 minutes.
Allow to cool thoroughly before trying to remove them from the sheet pan otherwise they will tear.
The lentils help to create a really nice texture that's similar to that of traditional meatballs. They drink up excess moisture during the baking process and they still retain a little chew. The tofu provides plenty of protein.
I use this particular blend of spices often with tofu based recipes because it provides a meaty, salty, smokey flavor that is extremely tasty and satisfying.
I began cooking because eating vegan pretty much requires it, but I kept at it because vegan recipes have become my passion!