Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Semi-Veg: Meatless Meatballs

School starts next week. I'm actually really excited about this! I've got great classes, a schedule that makes taking the bus not involve getting up at 5am, and all my favorite people are back in town.

One problem I found last quarter was that when I got really busy with midterms, papers, and finals, I tended to eat too much junk food, and a lot of it tended to be meat. I just didn't have time to fix a lot of good vegetarian food, and the premades I found were primarily spinach and feta cheese based - eat ravioli and spanakopita  for two weeks and see how much spinach and feta you ever want to see again.

To counteract this, I'm laying in a stock of vegetarian "fast food" during break. These are things I can make now, freeze, and then snag on the run. I did it last quarter when I turned some eggs that were getting old into a massive waffle stash. I had delicious for weeks.

As an experiment, I tried making  Vegetarian Eggplant Meatballs. This recipe was really easy to make. It took about an hour for my first time through and was simple to prepare. A few comments:
  1. Don't add more oil if the onion/eggplant mixture starts to stick to the pan. Just use water to decrease fat.
  2. I used a teaspoon of thyme instead of fresh basil and cheddar cheese instead of the vegan cheese and it tasted fine. I didn't add the walnuts.
  3. Dice the onion VERY well, and make the eggplant closer to 1/4 inch than 1/2.
  4. If you don't have cooking spray, just brush with oil instead and they'll brown well.
  5. There's no count on the recipe, but I made mine golf-ball size and it made about 25. 
I figure these can become meatball subs, be added to pasta, or even broken up and used like ground beef. They'd be fine with a dipping sauce as an appetizer, too. They got rave reviews from my non-vegetarian testers except for the one who didn't like eggplant. They're flavorful and smell fantastic while baking! Since eggplant are in season right now (10 for $10!!) I'm going to lay in a stash for the next quarter. 

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