I’m super excited to share with you my new favorite vegan “meat”ball recipe and one of my absolute favorite vegan cookbooks.
First, the “meatballs.”
What I love about these meatballs (which, by the way, are adapted from the 7 Secrets Cookbook) is that they are easy to make, essentially oil-free, and downright delicious.
Take a bite outta this.
These puppies right here are probably the best vegan meatless meatball that I have tasted to date. And, I’ve had alot of ’em. Just sayin’.
They are just a a little bit crunchy on the outside, super flavorful, yes, no refined oils (other than what might be in your breadcrumbs, depending on what kind you use), and, aaaaand, you’re going to love them. I just know it.
Has anyone ever acknowledged the fact that blogging about food is sometimes sheer torture?
I mean, I’m sitting here at 10 o’clock at night writing about these amazing “meat” balls that Jonathan finished off long ago (For real. He probably ate 12 of them after coming home from a 30 mile bike ride.) My stomach wants food, and the only thing that I really want is the sweet and sour tofu pecan balls that are dangling in front of me on the screen. Torture, I tell you, sheer torture.
So, let’s stop discussing meatless meatballs, and move on to a giveaway! For a few years now I have had an extra copy of 7 Secrets Cookbook sitting on my bookshelf, and I’m still not sure how I got it.
Nevertheless, 7 Secrets has to be on my top five list of awesome plant-based cookbooks, for several reasons:
- The recipes are awesome.
- The recipes are healthy–low to no refined fats and sugars in these recipes, folks!
- The authors ran a restaurant, Five Loaves Deli, in Seattle that my parents and I frequented when I was a kid. I was always thrilled to eat at Five Loaves Deli for Sunday brunch. I still remember the brown rice ice “cream” that was served on waffles there. Incredible stuff! Basically, I’m a little bit nostalgic when I use 7 Secrets Cookbook.
- The authors, Neva and Jim Brackett, are personal family friends and are what I would call forerunners of the plant-based diet. They promoted the vegan diet back in the early ’90s, when seemingly no one else was vegan.
So there you have it. Someone is going to really love this cookbook.
I must say…. There are a couple of recipes in 7 Secrets that use honey. If this is a problem for you, feel free to substitute with agave nectar. Aaannd, the photography inside 7 Secrets is a little less than spectacular. It gives you an idea of what the food is supposed to look like, and it looks tasty, but this cookbook is all about fabulous recipes, and not just about the pictures. Just so ya know. :)
Vegan Meatballs with Sweet and Sour Sauce
For the Meatballs:
- 1 1/2 cup breadcrumbs I pulsed torn pieces of whole grain bread in my Vitamix blender. If you use pre-processed store-bought crumbs, you may need to add a little more water at the end.
- 1 cup whole pecans or 3/4 cup finely minced pecans
- 1/3 cup onions finely chopped
- 1/4 cup quick oats
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 teaspoon dried Basil leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 14 oz extra firm tofu or one large block
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce or Bragg’s liquid aminos
- 2 tablespoons water (or more, if you're using store-bought breadcrumbs)
For the Sweet and Sour Sauce:
- 1 1/2 cup tomato sauce (I used canned sauce.)
- 1/2 cup apricot preserves
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoon groun cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
For the Meatballs:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place breadcrumbs, pecans, onions, oats, and seasonings in a mixing bowl, and combine until well incorporated. Then, add your crumbled tofu, and remaining ingredients. If you are using pre-processed, store-bought breadcrumbs, you may need to add an extra tablespoon of water. Your mixture should be soft and malleable, but be able to hold together a ball shape.
- Form 2 tablespoon sized balls and place on a parchment or Silpat lined (or oil-sprayed) baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees F for 28-30 minutes, or until balls are a nice golden brown color and aren’t mushy on the inside.
- Serve hot or at room temperature with marinara or sweet and sour sauce (my favorite). Top with a little vegan mozzarella and basil , if desired. I used Trader Joe’s mozzarella style shreds.
For the Sauce:
- Place all sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and gently whisk together.
- Place saucepan on medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until sauce begins to bubble.
- Pour sauce over meatballs in casserole dish and return to oven for 10-15 more minutes.