Spaghetti and not-meatballs

Vegan spaghetti and meatballs
Spaghetti and vegan meatballs for my daughter, as requested.

A few days ago, I asked my daughter to make a list of meals she’d like us to make and she came up with three things: gnocchi (with inventive spelling), spaghetti and veggie burgers. We had gnocchi last night (tomato sauce for the kids, freshly made pesto for the adults) and we had spaghetti tonight. I’m saving the veggie burgers for a school night.

This dinner gave me the opportunity to try a new recipe for vegan meatballs. I’ve tried a few in the past – none have been memorable. But I have a new cookbook, The Edgy Veg: 138 Carnivore-Approved Vegan Recipes, with a recipe for meatballs.

I didn’t have high hopes for the kids to eat them – the main ingredients are eggplant and mushrooms so I knew my picky eater wouldn’t touch them. But my daughter is more adventurous and a good eater so I skipped the red pepper flakes to give her a chance to enjoy them (she has no tolerance for heat). I also swapped spinach for the parsley since apparently parsley didn’t make it on the grocery list.

Vegan spaghetti and meatballs
One hopeful meatball on my picky eater’s plate.

These are the best vegan meatballs I’ve tried so far! The onions, garlic, eggplant and mushrooms are chopped into tiny pieces in the food processor and they make a good paste when the mushrooms release their juices. When mixed with the dry ingredients, they come together easily and stay together when baked.

It is a time consuming recipe and if I’m going to spend an hour making something like this, it’s nice to have extra for the freezer (we barely have enough leftovers for lunch). I’d need a bigger food processor if I wanted to double the recipe.

My picky eater took a big bite and swallowed it (without making a face) before declaring that he doesn’t like the meatballs very much. That’s a much better review than I expected from him. These balls were herby with dried oregano, thyme and some ground cumin. The spinach was chopped sloppily and not disguised at all (should have been a deal breaker) and if you looked closely, you could see pieces of onion. But none of those things deterred him! And he just didn’t like them very much! Eggplant, mushrooms and onions came as close as they’ve ever gotten to getting a green light by him!

My daughter gobbled them all down. The only question she asked was “what’s in these?” to which I answered, “lots of things…they’re just like veggie burgers.” It’s best to keep these ingredients a secret – which she understands because she is eight, after all and there’s inconspicuous green poking out of the balls. Her brother doesn’t eat green leaves. Unless it’s summer and he’s pretending to be a rabbit in my garden. Then watch out pea leaves!

I already have plans for the last four balls – everyone else can fend for themselves – I’m having a meatball sub for lunch!

Here’s a recipe for the tomato sauce. We also had fresh bread.



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