Sweet, Sour & Spicy Meatballs

Isn’t it funny when you make something as an afterthought, and it ends up being the best part of the meal? I’d planned on making Orange Scented Broccoli and Scallion Potato Pancakes from Appetite for Reduction, but I couldn’t think of a third item for the plate. Our meal needed a little more protein, but I was stumped. I didn’t feel like tofu, seitan, or beans. What was I to do?

On our weekly trip to Trader Joe’s, I purchased both chickenless chicken nuggets and meatless meatballs. When I got home, I realized the nuggets had egg in them (bummer!) but the meatless meatballs were indeed vegan. I’d been thinking of making orange “chicken” as the missing piece of this meal. But–no dice. So, sweet, sour, spicy and altogether wonderful meatballs to the rescue! I literally threw this sauce together in 5 minutes, shoved the meatballs in the toaster oven, and that’s about it. And they were awesome. Amazing. Almost indescribably perfect. Really! I suppose that sounds like I’m tooting my own horn, but for all the effort I put into these, I think this recipe came from Divine Providence instead of my own brain.

Does God give out awesome meatball recipes? I guess so!

Sweet, Sour & Spicy Meatballs (makes enough sauce for 12-15 meatballs):

  • 12-15 vegan meatballs (you can cook the Trader Joe’s ones from frozen, check your recipe or other brand for different info)
  • 3 T Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or low sodium soy sauce or tamari)
  • 2 T dark brown sugar (maple syrup would also work)
  • 1 T sweet chili sauce
  • 1 T ketchup
  • 1/4 tsp habanero hot sauce (or any sweet hot sauce will work)
  • 1 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • sesame seeds for garnish

Mix all the ingredients except the meatballs in a small mixing bowl. Add the meatballs and stir to coat. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Pick up individual meatballs on a fork and place on a sheet of foil on top of a cooking sheet. You want them to be coated, but not dripping, with sauce. Save the rest of the sauce in the bowl and set aside.

Bake meatballs for 10 to 12 minutes, then return to the bowl. This time, you can pour out the sauce and meatballs together back on the same piece of foil, and return to the oven for another 2-3 minutes. This gives the sugar a chance to get really gooey, and make a nice thick coating on the outside of the meatballs. Garnish with some pretty little sesame seeds.

If you want to make a ton more, I’m pretty sure this recipe will expand out make as many meatballs as you want. However, I’d caution about adding a lot more liquid aminos/soy sauce. That can get pretty sodium-filled pretty fast. You can always use water or veggie broth if you need the sauce to stretch a bit further. Just use common sense, because too much water could make it bland.

If you were wondering about the other parts of dinner–they were great! I made the broccoli completely incorrectly (I added basically everything at the wrong time) and it seemed pretty fool-proof. The scallion cakes should have probably been thinner, but I’m hoping that they toast up nicely for lunch tomorrow.

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Even More E2: 3 Bean Chili, Two Ways

I realize as I type this that I still need to make the E2 meatloaf. I just get side tracked! And this week I was put off my meal planning by the GIANT ENORMOUS POT OF CHILI that I made from this recipe. It says that it feeds 6 to 8. 6 to 8 what? Obviously not humans. Maybe professional wrestlers. Or Hulks. But this made easily 8+ servings for us, plus 2 quart-size freezer bags of leftover chili. I’m pretty sure that my grandchildren will be eating that chili someday.

As you can plainly see, this chili is not sexy (which begs the question: can chili be sexy?). But it is packed with basically every form of protein they could think of, with three different beans and a whole pound of tofu. As for taste? It has a lot of ground coriander, but no cumin, so it doesn’t exactly taste like traditional chili. It’s sweet from the addition of carrots, apple (see? What isn’t in this chili!), and molasses. It’s not something I would necessarily make again–probably because if you’ve made it once, you have enough leftovers to never need to make  a second batch!

To use up even more of this chili, I decided to make chili dogs for dinner this week as well. Because the texture of the original version is so…chunky…I ran it through the blender a bit to get it the right texture for hot dog chili. Behold!

The daiya really made the difference, giving it an authentic chili dog flavor. And I made the buns myself, using the same recipe for rolls from Thanksgiving. I’ve made that bread twice since we had it on November 24th, so you know I love it. Or I just love carbs. Whatever.

Recipe from the Engine 2 Diet.

Pad Thai…Sigh

That sigh? Contentment. Not only is this Cheater Pad Thai from the Happy Herbivore totally delicious, it is unbelievably easy to make. On a scale of 1 to 10 in dinner easiness (with 10 being homemade vegan lemon merangue pie), this is a 1. A ONE.

I can’t believe how easy it was–I didn’t have to cut anything but the lime! That’s it! And Pad Thai noodles (while strangely hard to find) are the easiest noodle in the world to cook. So, stir, saute a bag of frozen veggies, boil some water. Bam! You’re done! And unlike other sauces that don’t coat well, this coated the veggies and noodles like magic.

I’m going to make this constantly. I love love love Pad Thai, and this was absolutely perfect. I haven’t made anything from this cookbook that was less than astounding. I don’t know how she does it!

 

Peanut-Lime Bowl

Appetite for Reduction suggests using tempeh in this bowl, but I didn’t have any extra tempeh–so I just dry-fried some tofu. I think that it probably had a milder flavor, since it’s missing the bitterness of tempeh, but I liked that! I made an awesome marinade for the tofu out of two tablespoons (each) of liquid aminos and chili garlic sauce with about 1/2 a cup of veggie broth. Score!

Can I get an amen for the mixture of peanuts and lime? Really, why isn’t there more peanut-lime goodness out there in the world? Would peanut-lime butter even be feasible? I may need to test this out.

I also had a ton of extra sprouts–I forgot to put them on the chef salad we had yesterday. So I put sprouts on this. Genius! And it furthers my thesis that sprouts belong on everything. Almost.

Tofu & Noodle Salad

I just ate the rest of this for lunch, so I figure that I’ll be at my most poetic with the flavors still on my tongue. And what a happy tongue I have! This may be my favorite recipe from Appetite for Reduction that I’ve tried so far. And I only picked it because I wanted to eat something “weird” and I had rice noodles left over from something else.

OH MY GOD. I almost can’t look at this picture without trying to lick the screen. I’ve never had Vietnamese food before, and I know this is an approximation, but DEAR LORD. Incredible. First, who would ever think that mint, garlic, chili, lime, cucumbers and peanuts would ever taste this good together? Frickin’ genius. The taste actually reminded me a bit of the sunshine pickles my grandma would make when I was a little girl. I think it’s the pungent garlic, onion and cucumber background. But the mint! THE MINT. As I was chopping it all up, I kept thinking–really? Really? Almost half a cup of mint, total? That is a ton of mint. But you know what? Perfect.

Also, I’m super excited that my tofu turned out awesome. Every time I make tofu and it doesn’t stick to the pan, or taste gross, or have a weird wet texture, I could cry. Oh, tofu. We were meant to be together.

Chili Verde con Yummmmmm

And here’s another one of our fantastic dinners from Appetite for Reduction–Chili Verde con Papas.

Also, con EXTREMELY LARGE bunch of kale. I think it was triple a normal bunch. We actually had to pick kale out if it to make it less like a super hot salad. Oh well. It was still really tasty! Not all that spicy, plus the white beans really made it awesome. And, oh yeah, the potatoes. I looooove me some potatoes.