In case you don’t know, vegan meatballs aren’t synonyms for flavorless rocks covered in marinara. This isn’t vegan food of the 1980s where you had to wear a teal sweatband during every meal and drive a Vanagon. This is a whole new generation of food aimed at people who don’t want to sacrifice flavor or texture on their quest to do something a little better for the planet.
To sum up: we’ve come a long way from powdery tofu and ground chickpeas. These vegan meatballs might just change your mind on the whole no-meat movement.
LET’S GET COOKIN’
- sautéed onions
- roasted garlic
- Italian seasoning
- fresh basil
- ground flax seed
If you haven’t already, start your oven and get your garlic prepped. I’ve got a 1-minute video showing you how to take boring ole garlic and how to transform it into soft, golden, wonderful, roasted garlic. Seriously, my freezer is never without a bag full of chilled roasted garlic.
Now, it’s time to prep an onion. Dice that bad boy in tiny little pieces. Alright, not tiny, we’re not mincing it. Just think to yourself: “What size of onion would I like to bite into when I’m eating a vegan meatball.” That’ll tell you how big to cut them.
Pour a TBS (15 ml) of olive oil into a pan and set on medium heat. Scrape, toss, throw, or any other movement verb, your onions into the pan ONCE IT’S HOT.
Top Tip: Do you like soggy, greasy onions? No? Nobody does. If you let your pan and oil heat up BEFORE you put your onions in, the onions won’t mop up the grease like so many tiny, moist sponges. They’ll cook beautifully and not absorb the oil… which is what we want.
I throw in a few TBS of water when my onions have started to soften. This steams them, furthering the process of softening as well as edges them closer to the county of Caramelized. Onions that live in Caramelized county are delicious. But we don’t want these onions to live there, just to edge closer to that county.
COMMENCE THE COOKING
When those are done, empty your beyond meat into a bowl and combine all of your ingredients. Put your “ick” face on, because you’re gonna need your hands in the vegan “meat” to mix things all around. You can do this. It’s essentially veggies and coconut oil, so think about that, and not raw meat.
Once those are mixed, start rolling out your meatballs. The video goes into technique, but essentially we’re looking for consistency in size. Don’t get creative, unless you really like things cooking at different times, asymmetry, or yappy dogs at 3 am. You’ve been warned.
Use the same pan that you’ve just scraped the onions out of: that flavor will transfer to your vegan meatballs. Pour in another TBS of olive oil, wait for the pan to get to temp, then place in your meatballs.
Turn the vegan meatballs when they’ve browned on the facedown side. These technically don’t need to cook, but that browning adds a ton of wonderful flavor and it fools your brain into thinking they’re “safe” and ready to eat.
Once they’re browned on all “sides” [I recognize that spheres don’t have sides, but you get what I’m trying to say], you’re done. Remove from the pan and serve up your amazing vegan meatballs over whatever pasta sauce you’ve perfected.
COMMON QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE VEGAN MEATBALLS
Can I freeze them?
You most certainly can. They warm up nicely in a pan or micrwave.
Can I use other meat substitutes?
Absolutely! In the video I actually compare Lightlife and Beyond Meat. Both are delicious and both work well with this recipe. I’ve yet to try other brands of vegan meat substitutes for these vegan meatballs.