Really good vegan meatballs do not have to be expensive, hard to make, or filled with weird ingredients. These are made with eggplants, carrots, and a handful of other things you probably already have in your kitchen.
Have y’all been watching The Handmaid’s Tale? It’s a pretty wonderful interpretation of the book. I feel that bringing pages to the screen is either a hit or miss, and this one is definitely a hit. Outta the park kinda hit.
I signed up for a trial Hulu account so I could watch. I rarely actually sit down and watch anything (handmaid’s tale being an exception), but when I’m doing stuff around the house, I like to have something streaming — either a podcast or a show.
I quickly found out that hulu has all the back episodes of Top Chef so I’ve been streaming that quite a bit. I haven’t kept up in ages, but I used to love it.
side note — did y’all know that Tom Colicchio is an Avett fan? Add that to the list of reasons why he’s awesome.
On one of the episodes in an early season, someone makes an winning fideo dish. So I did a very food blogger thing: I decided to remake it, and ended up with something that was nothing even closely resembling the original. I mean, it might resemble the original in that it tastes awesome. I will admit that these are not fideos, which are much thinner and are usually served with a soupier sauce. This sauce is kinda chunky.
The dish on the show served the noodles with clams, and I made mine with vegan meatballs. I pretty much used my beet meatball recipe, but with carrots. Obs. I think I like this vegan meatball recipe even better than my beet-ball recipe.
I did want make this with a saffron sauce, like the original recipe, but I did not want to drop all that cash on a few saffron threads. There’s no real flavor that imitates saffron, so I didn’t even try to sub something else. I went an entirely new route and made this sauce with Middle Eastern baharat. It’s kinda of paprika-y cinnamon-y cardamom-y. I found it at kroger, as part of their “private selection” spice line (not sponsored 😊 ). And if I can find it in my rural-ish central Ohio Kroger, you can definitely find it in yours.
It was my first time using baharat and and I am fully in love. It added this subtle layer of spice that wasn’t overwhelming, but still different in a really good way.
Ugh. “Different in a really good way” sounds like a bad inspirational poster. I better stop right there. Have a fab Wednesday, loves!
vegan meatballs and gluten-free not-fideos
the vegan meatballs:
- 1 3/4 lb eggplant
- 1 lb carrots
- 1/3 cup rough-chopped purple onion
- 1 cup of rolled oats
- 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
- 1/2 tsp celery seed
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 30 oz grape tomatoes
- 1 heaping cup rough-chopped white onion
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 big fat garlic clove, crushed
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme
- 1 1/2 tsp baharat
- 1 scant tsp of fresh serrano pepper slices
- salt to taste
- gluten free spaghetti
- Cut the eggplant into 8ths lengthwise. Sprinkle salt all over and let it sit for 1/2 hour. Pierce flesh all over with a fork, and then nuke it for 5 minutes. Let it cool for a sec, and then pat off the excess salt and squeeze out the excess moisture.
- Combine the eggplant with the remaining vegan meatball ingredients in a blender. Pulse it so that you get a chunky, not smooth consistency
- Scoop big fat heaping tablespoons of the vegan meatball mix and form into balls. You should end up with about 20. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes at 450. Remove from heat.
- Break the spaghetti up into thirds. Place in a deep, wide skillet over medium heat (no water yet!) and toast them, stirring occasionally, for about 4 minutes. They should darken somewhat. Add water to the skillet and cook to al dente.
- Drain, add a drizzle of oil to prevent sticking, and set aside. Give the skillet a quick wipe down.
- To make the sauce, place all the tomatoes in the skillet over medium heat. Smash them up with a flat-bottom cup. Start your timer now. Add the onion, thyme, bay, garlic, baharat, and serrano. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 10 – 15 more minutes.
- Pile up the not-fideos, sauce, and vegan meatballs in serving bowls.
- Dish out with lots of love. Serves 3-4.