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Italian Un-Meatballs


I know, right? But I didn't know what else to call these. They're "meatballs," but technically--not meat. So there you go, hehe.

Most of you know that lately, we've been trying to eat healthier. It's not a diet, but a lifestyle change. We originally planned on 6 days a week of raw and vegetarian (and if we were really feeling wild, vegan!), and one cheat day a week with some type of meat involved.

It's a few weeks later, and where are we now? Seven days a week of raw and vegetarian, and no meat! And even though I think of it fondly occasionally (and how weird is that?! hehe!), I don't miss it. I'm 100% serious when I tell you that. I'm not missing the meat. If I'm really jonesing for a burger, there are some great meat-free ones in the stores. Seriously--they do taste great!

We've been doing some reading, and here's the tricky part. My husband now wants to, and has pretty much gone vegan. I KNOW! I was more surprised than anyone. I'm almost there, really, except for eggs and cheese. I'm attached to them more than I was to meat, which blows my mind--I thought it would be the other way around. I can live with out milk, too--and have been since we started this journey. But eggs, on sunday morning? With cheese? Sigh. That's the tough part.

So if any of you vegans out there have good alternatives to breakfast (or favorite cookbooks!), please let me know! Because vegetarian books are full of egg recipes, hehe.

These un-meatballs were a result of a craving I'd had for weeks for spaghetti and meatballs. I was able to track down a recipe and method here at VeganDad. He has a a ton of great recipes, and this one was my answer. I used his genius method, but changed the seasonings to match my standby meatball recipe. Then after a simmer in the same sauce recipe that I always use, these were ready. They held up great to simmering for a couple of hours. A couple of them broke up, but I can live with that. This was a great way to satisfy my craving!

My other craving? Chicken noodle soup. Anyone have a killer magical vegan recipe that'll make me feel like I'm eating real chicken soup? I'll love you forever!

These are vegetarian, and not vegan--because there's parmesan cheese in them, and in the sauce.

adapted from VeganDad

2 (8 oz) pkgs of Tempeh, simmered for 10 minutes, cooled and grated
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 cup vital wheat gluten
2 tsp dried oregano
4 TB Braggs Liquid Aminos
1 smallish onion, grated
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 cup water

In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients. Form into balls--about the size of a walnut.
Heat a pan over medium heat, and add some oil to heat.
Sauté them until brown all over, then simmer in your favorite sauce for an hour or so.
Put them in the sauce to simmer, but don't go wildly stirring right away--just take a spoon and dunk them under the sauce.
Let them set up for at least 1/2 hour before you stir.
Serve over pasta, or in a bun with provolone for a great un-meatball sandwich.

Grated Tempeh...

An army of un-meatballs...

Brown them all over before you simmer in sauce...

Done. Now go eat!


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Reader Comments (27)

I agree with you-no diets, just a lifestyle change. Diets don't work, in my opinion. Love your UNmeatballs. I don't eat meat so these are perfect. I eat raw most of the time. I've thought about going vegan but I like yogurt and cottage cheese too I need those sources for protein. Have a great holiday weekend. Again, I love your unmeatballs!

July 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

These look awesome! Will have to nix the yeast and use my rice parm but its going to be great, I can tell! Andrew (the FH) would love these in a sub too (great suggestion!).

July 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Thank you, ladies!

July 3, 2009 | Registered CommenterElle

Elle, these look so yummy! Great photos, too! Happy Fourth!

July 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKelsey

Those look so good Elle! Hard to believe that they have to meat!!! I love the lifestyle change that you've made, I really admire it.

July 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJudy

These looks great Elle! I am impressed with your diet changes! I was a vegan and vegetarian for many years, but it never really worked for me, mainly because I am allergic to soy...and also because I need a lot of protein. But I love raw and vegetarian meals and recipes, because they do taste GREAT! Your photos are beautiful!

Elle, I love that you are trying out these recipes. I have also started a "lifestyle change" and at first I stopped blogging because of it. I could not keep doing daring baker challenges and have all those baked goods sitting around. I have been doing a lot of research on raw, vegan, vegetarian, etc. Not sure yet which path I will choose, if I will even commit or just be more aware.

Anyway, love reading what you have been up to. Do you have a juicer yet? I now love mine more than my kitchen aid which I never thought I would say!

July 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commentererika

i love your new path. It is really wonderful to read about. I do love not meatballs.

July 5, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermaybelles mom

Thank you, everyone!

Erika, it's tough to decide which way to go. I'm still working on it. I mean, beach--seafood, fried clams? Give those up? I dunno...maybe as a special cheat, I guess. I do have a juicer--we actually used it a lot before we went raw. Now we just blend the stuff up in the blender and get all of the benefits of the fiber, too. My KA mixer is sad from not being used. The food processor is getting good workouts, though!

July 6, 2009 | Registered CommenterElle

You are a brave girl! Your un-meatballs look fantastic and I bet they are great unfortuantely I am allergic to yeast, I have yet to find tempeh locally that does not contain that forbidden ingredient. I would like to try it though and after looking at your beautiful dish now I really want to!

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKristen

Kristen, you're allergic to yeast? That must be so difficult, I'm sorry. Thankfully, I have no food allergies, or this way of eating would be very difficult.

July 6, 2009 | Registered CommenterElle

Gotta say, as most of the commenters have said, I am very impressed with the changes you guys have made. Sounds like you're embracing this new road; way to go. Having said that, I'm just going to be a spectator; I shan't be joining you on the meatless-and-evenutally-eggless-and-cheeseless road. ;)

And your name for the tempeh balls sure beats "Italian Meatless Balls!" lol

PS Good luck w/the un-chicken soup. I am definitely the wrong one to advise you there:)

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJenni

I sense a theme among many bloggers. If you wouldn't have called them un-meatballs, I would never have known - and kudos to you for the lifestyle change.

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergiz

Ill see if I can trick my boyfriend into eating these! They look moist and delicious.

July 6, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterzoe

When I went vegan I thought cheese would be my biggest problem... but turns out I really missed eggs! Try scrambled tofu - you can even add some turmeric for yellow colour. Add a bunch of chopped veggies and it's not quite an omlette but it's a warm savory breakfast dish that just might take your mind off eggs for a bit! Whip up a cashew, food yeast flake

July 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

(continued - press the post button too early!)

...cashew food yeast flake "cheese" sauce to top it off with. The NEWSTART cookbook has a really good "melted cheese sauce".

July 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Hey Elle, love the new home.

July 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCynthia

Yummmmm....those look and sound delicious, Elle!

July 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercanarygirl

Hi Elle! Congrats on your new site! It's real pretty!

you have exceeded the target you have set for you and your family! brilliant! keep it up! cheers!

July 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMrs Erg├╝l

If you really wanna turn vegan i wud suggest buy an indian vegetarian cook book..... it will have alot of vegan recipes... and wherever they ask for paneer/ cottage cheese u can replace it with tofu :) In India being vegetarian was cool lot before West realized what being vegetarian meant.

July 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAkriti

I am so impressed that you have kept this up!
Great looking non-meat balls.

July 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKristen

Congratulations on your new site! Love these meatballs and will try to slip them by everyone who always want the "real deal."

July 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterunconfidentialcook

Must tlak to you about Bragg's.....hope I can drag your number out of me

July 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer (savor)

Very proud of you. I remember when starting talking about this and just so wow. Awesome job! I too have started to go to more vegetarian cooking. I do feel a lot better and if I have meat it is a smaller portion with veggies being the big show.

July 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

I am vegan and eat very unusual (for the US) things for breakfast such as tofu, veggies and potatoes braised in the pressure cooker, brown rice, black beans and salsa, miso soup and odd things like that.

My cookbook The Veggie Queen: Vegetables Get the Royal Treatment is vegan, as is my DVD, Pressure Cooking: A Fresh Look, Deliciious Dishes in Minutes.

I also recently made Un-Meatballs from mushrooms and oats. The vegans at the potluck that I brought them to, avoided them at first, thinking that they were meat. They got gobbled up quickly.

Congratulations on your diet change. I hope that you find enough great tasting food to continue.

July 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJill, The Veggie Queen

These look so delicious Elle. I am very envious of you. Grumpy would never agree to do what you guys are doing. If only he would - he (and I) would be so much healthier I am sure of it. He is one stubborn GRUMP!

July 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHoneyB

these look so good! I would love to make them but am having a hard time finding vital wheat gluten (that doesn't cost an arm and a leg!) do you think there is anything that can be use in it's place?

July 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRed Head, Yellow Dog

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