Thursday, December 29, 2011

Best Mock Meatballs and Maple Coconut Kale with Champagne Vinegar

As I've noted before, spaghetti is a family favorite--especially for Abiline and Daddy (who share many food preferences--who knew taste was so much a function of genetics?). I have tried out many a homemade meatless meatball recipe to accompany our beloved noodles with red sauce, but I have found that the tofu and beans used as the base make most of them too mushy.  I wanted my spaghetti to have a  slightly crispy, chewy counterpart to complement it, so I experimented around and found that the combination of quinoa, chia seeds, and wheat gluten in addition to some beans made for a more toothsome texture.  Anthony said that these meatballs were "awesome," Sawyer ate them without complaining, and Abiline scavenged for little morsels amidst her finely chopped noodles. We will definitely be making these again.

The meal was rounded out nicely by this magical kale, which I have been eating nonstop since I picked up some Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar at Trader Joe's and ventured to splash it on my greens. Combined with maple syrup and coconut oil, this kale has Abiline and I battling for the last bite.

This recipe is also posted on Whole Foods Wednesdays :o)

Mock Meatballs

1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup cooked kidney beans
1/4 cup vital wheat gluten
2 Tbsp. chia seeds
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional)
1/4-1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 1/2 tsp. dried parsley flakes
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp. dried basil
dash of pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2-3 Tbsp. water

Preheat the oven to 375 and oil a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.  In a food processor combine all of the ingredients except for the water, starting with just 1/4 tsp. salt. Process until smooth, and then taste and add additional salt if desired. If necessary, add the water 1 Tbsp. at a time to get everything well-incorporated; you want the mixture somewhat firm like cookie dough, but not runny like batter.

Form the dough into about a dozen small balls and bake for 8 minutes in the preheated oven, then flip and bake for 8 minutes more, until lightly browned on both sides.

Maple Coconut Kale with Champagne Vinegar

1 bunch kale, washed, stemmed, and leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp orange muscat champagne vinegar (If you don't live close to a Trader Joe's you could probably sub some OJ and regular champagne vinegar.)

Preparation Method 1: Melt the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the kale, and saute for a minute. Add the maple syrup and vinegar, stir to coat, then cover the pan and cook for 7-10 minutes, until the leaves have cooked down and are starting to caramalize.

Preparation Method 2: Preheat the oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt the coconut oil in the microwave, then toss the kale leaves in a large bowl with the oil, maple syrup, and vinegar. Spread the kale out on the prepared pan so that no leaves are overlapping and bake until crispy, 5-10 minutes. Check the kale after five minutes and then keep a close eye on it if not yet crisp, as it can burn quickly.

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