The weather has really cooled down at night here in Brisbane, so tonight we needed something warm and hearty. I tried to recreate an Italian meatball dish using tempeh. I have once tried using a mixture of tempeh, lentils and walnuts to make Chef Chloe’s Sweet-and-Sour Meatballs. I was so impressed with the texture, that I thought it could be recreated in other ways. This is a much healthier alternative if you don’t like using store bought mock meats and it is just as satisfying.
These ‘meatballs’ are very soft and delicate. I didn’t want to add flour or too much corn crumbs to them, in case it ruined the flavor So be careful when flip them. I paired them with this rich red wine tomato sauce, instead of the usually napoletana sauce. I found my tinned tomatoes were a bit bitter and acidic, even though I added salt and sugar to balance them. So I added a bit of worcestershire sauce, which worked very well. It also worked well in the meatballs, to get a meat like flavor.
I also made Green beans with Tomatoes and Cashew Parmesan and Roasted Rosemary Potatoes. I actually adapted the recipe for the Green beans from the Leggo’s recipe book, Cook Italian. I’m not sure where I got this book, it just turned up one day in my recipe book collection. This recipe makes green beans a bit more exciting. I really loved the combination of tomatoes, lemon, pine nuts and cashew parmesan. Since I didn’t have pesto on hand, I just made a small amount with my mortar and pesto. It also gave a rich flavor to the sauce.
Tempeh Pine nut ‘Meatballs’ with Red Wine Tomato Sauce (vegan, gluten free)
2 tins diced tomatoes
1/2 cup red wine
1 cup water
sea salt & pepper to taste
raw sugar to taste
1 onion, diced
2/3 cup pine nuts, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, diced
1 cup walnuts
1 tin brown lentils
1.5 cups fresh herbs (basil, parsley, oregano)
3 tablespoons vegan worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
zest from 1 lemon
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1/3 cup corn crumbs (or other gluten free bread crumbs)
2. In the meantime make the sauce. Place diced tomatoes, red wine and water in a pot and bring to the boil. Season with salt, pepper and sugar. Place on a simmer, until the rest is ready. If the sauce is too bitter or too acidic and you can’t balance with salt and sugar, then add 1 tablespoon of worcestershire sauce.
3. Take a pan and heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add onion and pine nuts and cook for 4-5 mins or until onion is soft and pinenuts are golden brown. Remove from the pan and set to the side to cook.
4. In the same pan add more olive oil and saute diced garlic for 2 mins.
6. Place mixture into a large bowl then add onions and pine nuts, worcestershire sauce, fennel seeds, lemon zest, nutritional yeast, corn crumbs and sea salt to taste.
7. Form the mixture into large balls in your hands, then cook them in olive oil in a large pan in batches. You should be able to make 12 ‘meatballs’.
8. Serve ‘meatballs’ with sauce.
*Makes 12 large meatballs, Serves 4-6
Green beans with Tomatoes and Cashew Parmesan (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic clove, sliced
1 large tomato, diced
3 tablespoons tomato sauce (from recipe above) or 1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon pesto (or grind 1 teaspoon pine nuts, 1 tablespoon basil and 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil)
500g green beans
1/4 cup vegetable liquid stock
1 tablespoon lemon juice
pine nuts and vegan parmesan to serve (Cashew Parmesan)
1. Wash, top and tail the green beans.
2. Heat olive oil in a large pan, then saute garlic for 1 minute.
3. Add diced tomato, tomato sauce/paste and pesto. Cook for 5 mins or until tomatoes are soft.
4. Add green beans, liquid stock and lemon juice. Cook for a further 4 mins or until green beans are tender.
5. Serve green beans with pine nuts and vegan parmesan.
Roasted Rosemary Potatoes (vegan, gluten free, soy free, nut free)
1 kg kifler potatoes
1/3 cup olive oil
3 springs of rosemary
sea salt to taste
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
2. Peel potates and cut them into cubes.
3. Place potatoes in a baking tray, add olive oil and sea salt. Then top with whole rosemary sprigs.
4. Roast for 30-40 mins. To make more crispy turn oven up to 200 degrees and cook for a further 5-10 mins.
5. Before serving remove rosemary leaves from stems and reseason with sea salt.