My mom made a mean meatball. In fact, she still does, but now that I have gone over to the dark side, I admit that I haven’t had one of her balls for many years, but sought to create a vegan meatball version like mama used to make.
Mom and meatballs evoke terrific childhood memories. I am pretty sure that of her eight kids, most of us would pick her spaghetti and meatballs for our birthday dinner- and for good reason. They were tasty! Perfectly seasoned, not mushy, insanely delicious! The anticipation of presents after dinner and the special piece of birthday cake (how did the birthday boy or girl always get the piece of cake with the quarter neatly tucked into the bottom of the slice?) may have had some influence on the notability of the meal. Still, I insist that my Irish-English mom made some damn delicious balls…
So what does that have to do with a post about vegan balls? Well, in a nutshell, great balls gotta have great flavor. It’s not about the lump of ground beef (ouch!!) but about the flavors and textures and seasonings. In fact, that philosophy is at the core of vegan cooking. The quest to make those palate-delighting qualities come alive in preparations that are cruelty free…well that’s the essence of vegan recipe creation.
In my quest to “ball” it, I have probably juggled 😉 around with a dozen or so versions of my faux balls (shout out to Jack for the name) before I came up with the recipe I am sharing today. I’m not kidding, these are amaze-balls. Yeah, I heard that audible sigh and am done punning…for now. Kids, these fauxballs are loaded with veggies and spices and, thanks to the vital wheat gluten, have a nice non-mushy mouth feel. No lie, these balls will delight even the most finicky palate!
Ok, so these are not gluten-free because of the vital wheat gluten. This is the part of wheat that is responsible for giving foods wonderful chewiness and elasticity. Also, gluten is very high in protein-practically all protein-so as an added bonus it really does a body good. I know, I know, gluten has really gotten a bad rap of late and is certainly the bane to a celiac’s diet. However vilified in the media, gluten for the average Joe, may not be that bad of a guy after all. Want to get your geek on? Click here for a delightful article on this controversial nutrient.
Wonderfully elastic fauxball dough rolls like a dream.
Tossing these guys around in a little hot olive oil crisps them up nicely before baking.
Out of the oven and ready to top that spaghetti.
Get ready, get set, get ballin…