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Jul 23, 2012 09:56 AM

best substitute for meatballs?

Lentil balls? bean balls? tofu balls? Any recipes?These will be added to a red sauce pasta dish.

Not into the fake stuff/faux meat.

Thanks in advance!

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    1. re: redfish62

      thanks. do you mean chickpea balls? Or do actual falafel balls with all of their seasonings complement an Italian pasta dish the way meatballs would?

      1. re: noya

        no I think the middle eastern seasoning would be a little off - but ground chick pea with italian seasoning should do well -

          1. re: noya

            What Weinstein said. Bake them first so they hold their shape. For the kiddos, maybe serve the falafel and sauce separately , so they can dip.

            Mushroom "meatballs" can be good

    2. How about eggplant? I had some recently that were delicious! And they would go perfectly with red sauce...

      1. Here's what I do. Granted I don't like meat, and don't miss it, but these really make a spaghetti and meatballs sort of dish.

        I use mushrooms. Giant white mushrooms that are the stuffable ones. I slow-sautee them (don't crown the pan!!) in butter and olive oil. Wait till they get nice and brown and are letting off a little juice.

        Those are your meatballs.

        1 Reply
        1. re: IndyGirl

          I second this. I do it, however, with shiitakes and creminis because they have a meatier flavor. I heat up a skillet (super hot) and brown the whole mushrooms on the tops, then I cut them in half and pop them into the sauce and let them soften for about 5 minutes.

        2. I respect your position on faux. However, for anyone with a more lenient perspective, I would like to suggest Gardein Meatless Meatballs, which I bought for the first time a couple of days ago. I think they hit it out of the park. I've been veg for almost 20 years, have tried many similar products and endeavored to make my own, but I bow to these as the best thus far. I made some heirloom tomato/basil sauce, simmered the Gardein product in the sauce, toasted some hero bread with fresh mozz, topped the bread/cheese with the "meteballs" (my term, not Gardein's) and chowed down. Good.
          I was an omnivore for many years before I went veg. I embrace the faux. Props to those who don't and as well as those who do. It's all good

          1 Reply
          1. re: mrsdebdav

            Simple seitan ones, or the Trader Joes brand prepared ones really are pretty good! I also avoid fake meat, but I think if you're craving "meatballs", this is the best way to go.

          2. Your best bet is to puree some mushrooms with a binder such as chickpea flour and garbanzo flour. The only problem is cooking the mixture will require extremely high heat. It works to puree crimini mushrooms and pulse together with chickpea a mushroom broth for the seasoning and liquidity.

            I can't give specifics. It's kind of a hit or miss process. Also there is the simple packaged trader joes meatless meatballs. They aren't bad. Especially if you have a nice wine sauce with good grated cheese to go with it.