In my journey of being vegetarian, the first year (2012) was mostly focused on getting used to not eating meat. Which really isn't that hard with companies like MorningStar making fake "chick'n" that tastes shockingly similar to real chicken and burgers that I didn't (and don't) mind subbing for beef. You can even get bologna (which I lovingly call fauxlogna)! The bacon wasn't as easy, and still sometimes isn't, but it's amazing how satisfying it is to take a mind-over-taste buds approach to it. It has actually ended up changing what tastes good and what foods I crave. It's nice to feel in control. Still working on controlling myself around ice cream! ha!
After a year or so, the desire to eat meat really goes away, and actually now grosses me out. Ugh. Animal flesh. But it also opens up a whole new world of cooking not only with fruits and vegetables but with nutritional yeast and vital wheat gluten and all kinds of other fun ingredients that might not have crossed my mind a few years ago. It's fun, and the "meatballs" in this recipe came out delicious and even won the support of carnivore Jake. Who knew how versatile garbanzo beans and walnuts could be!?
Speaking of meat substitutes, did you hear about the new lab-grown beef? Would you eat it?
Baked Sweet and Sour Vegan "Meatballs"
2 cups (or 1 can) garbanzo beans (cooked) 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 cup water 1/2 cup walnuts 1 1/4 cup crushed saltine crackers (about 1 sleeve, or use breadcrumbs) 6 tablespoons vital wheat gluten 1/4 teaspoon paprika 1 teaspoon seasoned salt 1/2 teaspoon onion powder 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste) 1 1/2 cups (or 12 ounces) canned tomato sauce 1/2 cup peach or apricot preserves 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin (ground) 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon paprika
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place garbanzos, olive oil, and water in a strong blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. It will be fairly thick, so scrape down the sides if necessary. Add walnuts and blend until the mixture is smooth. In a separate bowl, combine the saltines, vital wheat gluten, paprika, seasoned salt, onion powder, salt, and nutritional yeast.
Pour the blender mixture into a mixing bowl and combine (use your hands if it gets too thick). Use a small ice cream scoop (or a spoon) to roll the dough into 2 tablespoon-sized balls. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 for about 30-35 minutes.
While the meatballs are baking, combine tomato sauce, apricot preserves, lemon juice, salt, cumin, and paprika in a saucepan on medium heat. Cook until sauce has boiled for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. When meatballs are finished, cover with the sauce and serve. I prefer it this way because the meatballs stay firmer, but you can also bake the meatballs in the sauce for 10 minutes at 350.
Source: Adapted slightly from Vegan Yumminess