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July 16, 2013 | Posted in:Dinner, Gluten-Free

I don’t feel comfortable calling these meatballs. I tried a few different spelling variations, like meitballs, “meat”balls, or my personal fave, meetballs, but the latter seemed a little too risqué.

So, it will just be meatballs, and people will get the picture when they see that the name of the website is “This Vegan Girl.”

 

So, what makes the perfect meatball? To me, the perfect meatball must encompass the following attributes:

  1. Firm enough to hold it’s own (doesn’t crumble)
  2. Moist, not dry
  3. Has absorbed the outside tomato juices (comes from slow cooking)

Now, I can say that these meatballs you are about to see fit in the first and second criteria. I’m not sure about the third, as I did not cook these meatballs in a crockpot.

The meatball’s main ingredients are tempeh, chia seeds, and a little bit of GF all-purpose flour. The tempeh made it firm, while the chia seeds and GF flour work together to really hold this thing together and gives it its moistness.

For those of you who prefer to use flax seed as an egg substitute, I’m not sure if that would work in this recipe. You need a really firm and sticky binding agent for this recipe, and I think flax seed might be a bit too goopy.

 

These meatballs are packed with nutrition! Between the tempeh and the chia seeds alone, you are getting a good source of protein, omega-3’s, phosphorous, fiber, and calcium! Not only that, but chia seeds contain Tryptophen, the same amino acid found in turkey that makes you so sleepy after eating it. Eat my meatballs and prepare for the ultimate post-meal coze*!

 

Gluten-Free Meatballs

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35+ minutes

Yield: 12 small/medium-sized meatballs

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of tempeh (8oz)
  • 2 tbs GF all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbs chia seed
  • 3 tbs warm water
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • GF seasoned coating mix (to coat meatballs)
  • 1 jar of marinara/pasta sauce

 

STEP 1: Prepare your chia seed by combining the chia seed with warm water in a small bowl. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. Almost like magic, the seeds grow and become sticky and gelatin-like!

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STEP 2: While your chia seeds are doing magical things, prepare the rest of your meatball mixture. Start by cutting the tempeh into tiny pieces. I did not use a blender or food processor to ground up my tempeh, but I’m not knocking the idea.

Cut the onion into tiny pieces as well (do NOT use a food processor for that step… we don’t want a watery mess!) Add those ingredients, including the GF flour, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, in a bowl.

 

STEP 3: Using your (clean) fingers, mix it up! Create a giant ball so you know that it will bind well. If your meatball is not sticking, I’d add a tiny bit of water.

Next, start creating your meatballs. My mixture made 12 small-to-medium-sized  meatballs.

One giant meatball!

One giant meatball!

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STEP 4: Place your meatballs on a plate with your GF Seasoned Coating Mix. My GF seasoned coating mix was from Hodgson Mill, and the ingredients seemed simple: “Brown Rice Flour, Salt, Natural Spices, Extracts; and Herbs.” When I placed my finger in it, it was salty and had a good taste. Sounds good to me!

Your meatballs should be slightly sticky to the touch. If not, coat your fingers with water and move your fingers along your meatballs. Then, move the meatballs in circles through the seasoning and around the plate until they are fully coated.

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Nervous meatballs on the sidelines, anxiously waiting for their turn.

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STEP 5: Place meatballs on an oiled-up pan and put them in the oven at 375°F for 30 minutes. Halfway through cooking, move them around a bit so they cook at a different angle.

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STEP 6: Take out your meatballs and place them in a pot with your favorite pasta sauce. On low-medium heat, cover your meatballs for 5+ minutes. I say + because I think the longer they cook, the better they will taste. This is completely up to you, though.

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STEP 7: Remove with a ladle and prepare to enjoy! These would be great on top of spaghetti, but we just ate ours by themselves. They were great!

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*coze

[kohz] cozed, coz·ing, related to the adjective cozy

verb (used without object)

  • to be in a comfortable, snuggly position. Let’s coze together.

noun

  • a comfortable, snuggly position. This is such a coze.

 

 

Happy cooking!

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