I know some of you have been waiting for this one and I’m so happy to finally share it with you all. I am of Italian and Irish heritage and like every other Italian American family out there I grew up eating meatballs and spaghetti at least once a week. Mom’s sauce bubbling away on the stove, a big pot of spaghetti boiling away and meatballs sizzling in the skillet or oven always brought us kids into the kitchen sniffing about and she would inevitably give us each of a piece of bread to dip into the sauce to hold us off until dinner was ready. This updated version skips the meat of course but satisfies those comfort food cravings and brings me right back to Mom’s kitchen.
Yield 11-12 2-25" round balls
It doesn't get much more classic than home-cooked meatballs and sauce and this vegan version does not disappoint. Chock full of flavorful veg and seasonings with the perfect amount of richness from omega-3 rich pumpkin seeds and baked to perfection in the skillet. Comfort food at its best: tasty, memory-filled, healthy and sustainable.
- 3 Cups extra-firm tofu
- 1 Cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 3 medium carrots peeled
- 1 stalk of celery
- 1/2 of a large sweet onion (or small onion)
- 1 clove of garlic
- Handful of parsley leaves
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- 1 Tbs house seasoning
- 1 tsp caraway seeds
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil plus 2 Tbs for oiling the pan and balls
- Preheat oven to 425ºF.
- Coat an 8" cast iron skillet with 1 Tbs olive oil.
- In a food processor, first process carrot, celery, onion, garlic, and parsley until finely minced and transfer to a large bowl. Next process pumpkin seeds until finely ground and transfer to the same bowl. Then process tofu until smooth and transfer to the bowl. Add all of the seasonings and 2 tablespoons of olive oil and mix everything together with your hands.
- Form 2-2.5" round balls and place in skillet. Drizzle remaining 1 Tbs of olive oil over top of balls.
- Bake for 45 minutes until golden brown. These are slightly more fragile than grandma's meatballs so don't put them into a pot of sauce or they might fall apart in the sauce.
- Serve them over pasta or rice and sauce the plate. Uncooked balls can be refrigerated overnight or frozen for future use. Cooked balls can be kept refrigerated for a few days. They make delicious additions to sandwiches too!
You can replace some or all of the pumpkin seeds with other nuts and seeds. I love walnuts, pine nuts and/or macadamia nuts. Our little guy has allergic reactions to nuts so we've been making them with just seeds or adding nuts your ours only.
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