Vegan meatballs with a German flair

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My mom used to make a traditional German recipe called Bulletten or Frikadellen– basically hamburger patties or meatballs on steroids. They’re moist, flavourful and frugal. These patties are usually eaten with a creamy gravy with noodles or potatoes.

I’ve taken my mother’s recipe and veganized it using my new favourite ingredient – TVP (textured vegetable protein). My thrifty mom would have approved!

Let’s get started on this super easy and quick recipe.

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Ingredients

½ cup TVP

1 slice bread torn into pieces about the size of a pencil eraser

2 mushrooms finely minced

2 Tbsp onion finely minced or 1 Tbsp dried minced onion

1 Tbsp ground flax

1 Tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped

Hot vegetable bouillon to make 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons broth

¼ tsp nutmeg

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp garlic powder

¼ cup plant milk

1 Tbsp flour (I used chickpea flour)

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1 Tbsp ketchup

A few grinds of pepper

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Directions

Heat your oven to 400F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet or pan.

Place the TVP, flax, nutmeg, garlic powder, salt and pepper (and minced onion if using) in a heat-proof bowl and pour the vegetable broth over it. Give it a stir and allow it to stand for about 5 minutes.

While the TVP is rehydrating, you can prepare all your other ingredients and add them to the bowl.

Once the TVP is rehydrated, stir all the ingredients in and thoroughly combine them. You will have wet, dough-like ball. Form the meatballs using about 1 ½ tablespoons of the mixture for each meatball, and place the meatballs on the greased cookie sheet. You should have 9 -12 meatballs.

Bake for 15 minutes then gently flip the meatballs. Be careful because at the 15-minute mark the meatballs will still be soft and I accidentally mushed one out of shape as you can see in the photo.

Bake for another 10 minutes then remove from the oven. Let the meatballs sit for about 5minutes. Serve up, or freeze for later use.

I served mine with my mushroom stroganoff.

Enjoy!

 

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Mom’s German red cabbage – veganized! (Sorry not sorry, mom)

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Holiday dinners are so evocative. They’re steeped in tradition and emotion (hopefully happy) and help us measure the rhythm of the seasons and years. For vegans, it can be a hard time sitting at the table and having to forego old family favourite recipes that use animal products.

For me, red cabbage is one of those dishes. My mom made it at every holiday dinner, and only at holiday dinners. I can’t even see a red cabbage in the grocery store without thinking it’s a holiday.

My mother’s recipe calls for 4-6 strips of bacon to be rendered and crushed. Then the apples and cabbage are braised in this fat/pig-belly mixture. Ewww.

With just a bit of tweaking, I’ve figured out how to simulate the savoury, salty, smokiness of the bacon using miso, margarine and liquid smoke. The results are my mom’s recipes taken to the next level of delicious compassion.

Ingredients

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1 red cabbage – remove the outer leaves and then cut out the core. Chop the cabbage into roughly 1 to 2 cm pieces

3-4 apples (I used MacIntosh apples – use a variety that is not sweet). You want a 2:1 ratio of cabbage to apples so adjust how many apples you use based on the size of your cabbage. Peel, core and cut the apples into 1 cm pieces (see image).

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1 tsp liquid smoke

1 Tbsp miso paste

1 ½ Tbsp brown sugar

3 Tbsp cider vinegar*

3 Tbsp vegan margarine

½ cup water

1 tsp salt

1-2 bay leaves (optional)

A few grinds of pepper (optional)

Directions

Melt the margarine in a very large pot over medium heat. Add the miso and liquid smoke and stir to combine. Add the cabbage and apples and water. Stir everything together to get the cabbage apples coated in the margarine mix. Add the vinegar, salt and brown sugar and stir again to combine all. Add the bay leaves if using. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes. When it’s cooked, the cabbage volume will have reduced by about a third and the cabbage will be soft but not mushy). The apple will be pretty much impossible to spot. Fish out the bay leaves if you used them and serve the cabbage.

This recipe is also great with vegan sausages, perogies or “white” dishes such as tetrazzini, béchamel or alfredo-sauced pasta or mushroom stroganoff.

*Fun fact – you MUST add vinegar or some sort of acid to red cabbage when you cook it or it will turn the most unappetizing blue-gray hue that’s roughly the colour of sadness.