Veg Greek Meatballs in a Fragrant Tomato Sauce with Goat Cheese

Other, Vegetarian

veg-greek-meatballs

Adapted from vegetariantimes.com

I’ve done vegetarian meatballs before with lentils and several vegetables. I’ve bought Trader Joe’s Meatless Meatballs. I wanted something different. While browsing through Vegetarian Times, I came across this recipe. Seitan meatballs. Of course. I’d thought about it before. It’s a great vegetarian substitute for ground meat. I also loved the addition of tomato sauce (how my mom makes regular meatballs) and goat cheese.

Yields 12 servings

Ingredients:

  • 3 8-ounce packages plain seitan, rinsed and drained
  • 1 8-ounce package ricotta
  • 1 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 25 ounces tomato purée
  • 1 cup crumbled goat cheese

Directions:

  1. Pulse the seitan in the food processor until finely ground. Transfer to a bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients except the oil, tomato puré and feta. Mash the mixture with hands or a potato masher until the mixture comes together. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F (177C). Coat the baking dish with oil. Scoop the seitan mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs. Place the meatballs in the prepared baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven.
  3. Pour the tomato purée over the meatballs and sprinkle with the goat cheese. Bake for 30 more minutes or until the sauce is bubbly.

Comments: I really loved the blend of flavors in this recipe. If you aren’t a huge fan of plain seitan, you should still try this recipe; you don’t really taste it. The addition of cheese also is the perfect finish. Since it was just me eating, I made a third of the recipe. Here, I wrote down the full one because it’s simpler. I didn’t like grinding the seitan in the food processor; if I had planned it beforehand, I would have bought the ground seitan instead. The recipe on the sight actually uses 1 25-ounce jar of tomato sauce; I like to use the purée instead, but you may do as you wish. The original recipe also uses feta cheese, not regular goat cheese, but I only had goat cheese. Feta would also do nicely; as always, make sure to buy actual goat’s milk feta, not cow’s milk feta. Though the baking time is pretty long, the actual hands-on time isn’t; you can also prepare the mixture ahead of time and chill it for more than the stated 30 minutes. These meatballs work nicely with some whole wheat couscous or in a hot dog bun as a sub.

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Roast Vegetable Tart

Quiches, Vegan

roast-vegetable-tart

Adapted from meatfreemondays.com

Paul McCartney and his daughters started a movement in the UK (Meat Free Mondays) to encourage people to eat less meat. Many restaurants have integrated this campaign into their menus and it as spread across the world while helping convert many people (including myself) to vegetarianism. The Meat Free Mondays website has a collection of many great vegetarian and vegan recipes, including this one. This tart is incredibly easy and quick to make and uses everyday ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 5 tablespoons butter (or margarine for a vegan version)
  • 3 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 onion, chopped coarsely
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced thickly
  • 1 zucchini, sliced into 1-centimeter rounds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

roast-vegetable-tart-arriba

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F (190C). Grease a pie dish and set aside
  2. Mix the flours in a large bowl.
  3. Cut in the butter with a knife until the mix is like breadcrumbs.
  4. Add the cold water (add more if necessary) until the mix forms a dough.
  5. Wrap the dough in parchment paper and place in the fridge for a half-hour.
  6. Place all the chopped vegetables and herbs in a baking tray and toss in the olive oil.
  7. Bake the vegetables for about 25 minutes or until they are tender. Let cool.
  8. Roll out the chilled dough to 5-millimeter thickness and place in the prepared pie dish. Cover the dough with a piece of parchment paper and place pie weights (or beans) on top, making sure that they line the edges. Blind bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  9. Add the vegetables to the tart and bake for another 30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

 

Comments: Like I said before, this is a very easy and quick recipe, perfect for a weeknight meal. Though delicious, it is quite light as it has no eggs or cheese like regular quiches. We had this tart with some spinach soup. This tart could also be good as an appetizer. The original recipe calls for vegan margarine but we don’t buy margarine so I used butter instead. When cutting in the butter with a knife, you can always “cheat” like I did and use your hands to mix better; it’s so much easier! When rolling out the dough, I placed another piece of parchment paper between the dough and the rolling pin to create a sort of “sandwich” with the two pieces of parchment paper; in doing so, I did not have to waste flour for rolling out the dough AND I didn’t have to clean the rolling pin. I later also used the parchment paper to place the dough in the pie dish. For a more detailed explanation for rolling out dough and blind baking, look at my instructions for quiche crust.

roast-vegetable-tart-pedazo

Roasted Pumpkin and Sage Whole Wheat Pasta with Pumpkin Seed and Spinach Pesto

Pasta, Vegan

roasted-pumpkin-and-sage-whole-wheat-pasta-with-pumpkin-seed-and-spinach-pesto

Adapted from Going Veggie by Trudy Slabosz

Though it sounds like a super dense meal, surprisingly it is not. May I add that it is another great autumn recipe. I’ve always had the traditional pesto so it was interesting to try out this new combination. I loved the combination of pumpkin (kabocha squash in my case) with the pasta and pesto. Though it takes about 45-60 minutes to make, it is not a difficult recipe. Don’t be intimidated!

Yields 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ¾ teaspoons maple syrup
  • Ground black pepper
  • 3 cups spinach
  • ¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 cups diced kabocha squash
  • Bunch of fresh sage
  • 9 ounces (250 grams) whole wheat pasta

Directions:

  1. To make the pesto, add the pumpkin seeds to a heavy pan and dry roast over medium-low heat until they begin to crackle and pop. Remove them from the heat and drizzle the maple syrup on top along with the pepper. The maple syrup should almost candy when it hits the hot seeds. All to cool.
  2. Transfer the pumpkin seed mixture to a food processor. Add the spinach to the food processor. With the motor running, gradually add ¼ cup of olive oil until you have a loose pesto. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350F (177C).
  4. Throw the diced kabocha into a baking tray and drizzle with the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Season with pepper. Toss well and place in the preheated oven for around 25 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package.
  6. When the kabocha pieces just begin to turn golden on the edges, add the sage leaves and return to the oven for another 5 minutes or until the squash is soft and golden and the sage leaves are crisp.
  7. Add the cooked pasta to the same heavy pan you dry roasted the pumpkin seeds in and toss over medium heat with the prepared pesto until well coated. Add the roasted kabocha and sage leaves. Toss gently to combine.

 

Comments: Alternatively, you can use regular pasta instead of whole wheat or any other kind you wish (the original recipe calls for spelt pasta). Originally, as the name suggests, the recipe is made with pumpkin but I had a kabocha squash sitting in my kitchen, waiting to be roasted so I decided to use that instead. If you wish, you can double the amount of pumpkin seeds and maple syrup and use half for the pesto and toss the rest in the final step with the pasta and pesto. I did not try it but this pasta would also probably be delicious sprinkled with some feta or goat cheese.