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Oh-la-la… My clean eating “meatballs” that actually contain zero meat. Where do I begin?! First of all, this recipe is here to help you feel #soyinspired this Fall in partnership with the Healthy Aperture Blogger Network and the Soyfoods Council. And you should listen to me – all these Holidays upon us mean a lot of animal products and saturated fat at the table. My meatballs are made of lean, healthy and zero cholesterol source of protein… with a liiiiiiiitle sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Just a little bit. Who doesn’t like cheese?! In moderation it is all fine.

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Secondly…Should I mention kids were all over these meatballs?! Or the fact that to make 40 meatballs cost me $10 (BTW all organic and that is including $5 jar of pasta sauce)?! Or that they take 30 minutes to make (minus 6 hours of recipe development for me)?! And last but not least my meatballs are gluten free?! Not that I care but I have explained my situation with breadcrumbs before.

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Let me explain what you are looking at.

Tofu – on that below. Parmesan cheese – I mentioned that. Onion and garlic – clearly no meatballs are meatballs without them. Egg – to hold everything together. Mushrooms – chanterelles, shiitake and brown for depth of flavour (any mushrooms work). Almond meal and oat flour – in place of breadcrumbs. And spinach – for colour and nutrition.

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So, tofu…I feel it is such an underrated food. I have heard so many theories about tofu by now, I don’t have so many fingers on my hands. Stick with me and listen for a minute…

Tofu is simply cooked soybeans that have been pressed and cut into blocks. That is it people, that is it. It is not more processed than yogurt or bread. Tofu has virtually no flavour, like zero. Which is FANTASTIC because you can add it to so many recipes as a filler and it will take upon a flavour you want it to take.

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For example, meatballs – I flavoured tofu with onions, garlic, mushrooms and Parmesan. There was ZERO tofu taste left. My kids still don’t know they ate tofu!!! I paid $3 for this block of organic tofu. It is packed in water so can keep refrigerated for weeks and weeks. Whenever I need quick dinner – tofu, eggs and pasta here we go.

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Overall, all soy products are totally OK and healthy to eat. Everything in moderation. Too much kale isn’t good for you either because of thallium (metal in the ground), did you know?! Or that too much water can cause dangerously low sodium levels?!

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So, this Fall whip up a batch of this deliciousness and make yourself 40 meatballs. Back in Ukraine we used to make all kind of plant-based fritters, meatballs and patties because meat was SO expensive. And they tasted amazing! And we were healthy! Western diet is so overload in animal products, it is scary.

On another note, I always watch kids at my son’s hockey games. So, that is like 3-4 times a week. And I always see kids munching on sugar, always! Last night I was thinking no wonder 30 years ago we had barely any sick kids in a developing country like Ukraine, our sugar consumption was limited to mom’s jam and candy once a year for New Year’s celebrations.

So enjoy everything in moderation and be healthy! Don’t forget the spaghetti.:)

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Parmesan “Meatballs”

Parmesan “Meatballs”

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 12 oz firm tofu
  • 5 oz any mushrooms, coarsely chopped*
  • 1 egg, large
  • 1 cup almond meal**
  • 1 cup oat flour**
  • 2 oz Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 handful spinach
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp coconut or avocado oil (for frying)
  • 1/2 jar (12 oz) your favourite pasta sauce (I like herb flavoured organic with no added sugar)

Directions

  1. Rinse tofu under cold running water, cut into strips/cubes and squeeze out liquid with your hands as much as possible. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, add onion and garlic; process until finely chopped scraping off the walls. Add tofu, mushrooms, egg and process until chunky smooth mixture forms. Don’t make it into puree. Add almond meal, oat flour, Parmesan cheese, spinach, salt and pepper; process until well incorporated.
  3. Preheat large non-stick skillet on low-medium heat and swirl 1 tsp of oil to coat. Prepare a small bowl of water and small ice cream/cookie scoop. Place a scoopful of mixture in your hands and roll into a golf size ball. Place on a skillet and repeat with remaining batter, working in batches. Cook meatballs until golden brown, about 5 minutes per each side. Pour jarred sauce on top and cook for a few minutes until warmed through. Serve hot with your choice of whole grain or salad.
  4. Storage Instructions: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Notes

*I used a mix of shiitake, brown and chanterelles from a farmer’s market but any kind works. I recommend affordable flavourful brown mushrooms. **Grind almonds and quick/rolled oats in a food processor until coarse type of flour forms.

http://ifoodreal.com/parmesan-meatballs/

Nutritional Info

Servings Per Recipe: 8

Amount Per Serving = 5 meatballs:
Calories: 224.5
Total Fat: 14.4 g
Cholesterol: 28.9 mg
Sodium: 475.0 mg
Total Carbs: 14.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.9 g
Protein: 12.0 g
WW Points+: 6

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7 Comments

  1. Vera (VerasCooking)

    Wow! I will have to give those “meatballs” a try. I have never tried tofu, I guess its about time. I just wonder how my kids will take it. Each and every time when I introduce a new dish, they ask for the list of ingredients. They do too care what’s in their food and where its coming from 🙂

    Reply
    • Olena

      Hey:) Good for them, mama’s brainwash pays off. I call parenting – brainwash.:) OK, my 9 year old is pretty good with guessing ingredients and like your kids asks what is in every meal. Always! He had these meatballs 3 times and still thinks they were made with meat LOL. I didn’t tell him just for the sake of experiment. He even didn’t really wonder – meatballs are always made with meat in his mind. Picky 4 year old gobbled them up twice too. I think the trick is Parmesan cheese. Me and my husband definitely could tell the texture wasn’t meaty 100% but they were delish nonetheless.
      Tofu saves me money and health – I really try to eat meat in moderation. It is very bland so I can’t say I’m super excited about tofu itself but when incorporated properly with other ingredients it will taste like other ingredients. And high in protein which keeps everyone full because this mama is tired of cooking.:) So, I love tofu!

      Reply
  2. felicia | Dish by Dish

    Olena! these meatless meatballs look so much like the real deal! Now I understand why your kids got fooled! 🙂 Good one! Sounds like a great way to eat tofu, will be keeping your recipe in mind!

    Reply
  3. Amy

    I have an eater who is allergic to onions (adult). What flavor or spice would you substitute?

    By the way, I love the recipes and your comments.

    Reply
    • Olena

      Hi Amy. I would just use more Parmesan and add a bit garlic powder. Those 2 will give meatballs that MMM flavour that onions add.

      Awe, thank you. Keeping it real.:)

      Reply

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