Gluten-free Vegetarian Tofu Meatball Recipe

February 11th, 2011 yum Posted in Holiday, Lunch, Pasta, Valentine Day, Vegetarian, tofu, tomatoes 8 Comments »

Being a savory-type girl, when we stay in for Valentine’s Day, I tend to concentrate on the savory meal and the dessert is usually something of an afterthought. I know, I know, I have it backwards, but to me nothing says I love you like a hearty, home-cooked vegetarian meal cooked from scratch based around my DH’s favorite ingredients. I must love him an awful lot, because we often have those. Just one of the perks of having a gluten-free wife, I suppose. This might surprise you, but one of my husband’s favorite things is tofu. It is unexpected, as he didn’t grow up eating tofu, but he is something of an adventurer and world-traveler and perhaps his experiences overseas inclined him to like the stuff. Being married to a vegetarian wife for nine years who has an entire arsenal of tofu recipes probably helped as well. When introducing friends and loved ones to tofu I usually start off gently with my famous sesame-soy marinated grilled tofu. I haven’t met anyone yet who doesn’t love this recipe. At dinner parties I tend to serve it as the protein accompaniment to some creamy risotto, maybe with grilled mushrooms, artichokes, and onions as vegetable sides. For those who are on speaking terms with tofu, I serve my Southern Fried Tofu, usually with mashed potatoes (or cauliflower), french bread, or rice, with some savory vegan gravy. This is another fabulous recipe that just about everyone loves. It is just so savory and delightful, like all the best parts of fried chicken, blessedly without the chicken. But for a really special occasion, I have been known to bust out this time-intensive but absolutely worth the investment recipe for tofu meatballs for my tofu enamored husband. Because he is worth it. I’ve also made this recipe most recently for Baby Yum and myself, because we are worth it, and food is, as they say, love. So, whether cooking for yourself, your loved ones or an entire houseful of guests, this is one very special recipe that I hope you enjoy.

I have adapted it to be gluten-free and a bit more savory from a rather dated and, I’m sorry to say, out of print edition ofThe Great American Tofu Cookbook that promises to teach the reader to use “the Orient’s Amazing Protein Food in America’s Favorite Dishes.” Oh dear. However dated the tagline, the author has some very creative ideas about using tofu, and we’ve enjoyed several recipes from the book including Tofu Strips with spicy peanut sauce and a rather stellar Tofu with Mushrooms in White Wine Sauce. What can I say, we like our tofu. And I hope you will enjoy this recipe too, brought to you with love from all of us at the Book of Yum. Happy Valentines Day! It is perfect for a night of spaghetti love. Re-enactment of a gluten-free vegetarian version of a certain “Lady and the Tramp” scene, anyone? If you have any leftovers, you can serve it on gluten-free french bread in a subway sandwich. Delightful! What is your favorite vegetarian main dish for Valentines Day, or other romantic holidays?

By the way, the tofu meatballs are pictured on Mrs. Leeper’s Organic Corn Spaghetti, a favorite with our whole family.

Entered in Diane’s Real Food Weekly Event and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

Tofu Ganmo Ball Recipe
Ingredients
2 lbs firm tofu, drained
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 whole green onions, sliced
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
1 1/4 tsp salt
generous amounts of freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan or romano cheese (optional)
1 egg, beaten

3/4 cup gluten-free bread crumbs, made in a food processor
1 1/2 tsp italian seasonings
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
more freshly ground pepper

2 or 3 tbsp. olive oil
pasta sauce
A few large mushrooms, thinly sliced (optional)

fresh basil for serving
additional grated parmesan or romano (or dairy-free cheese) for pasta

Directions
Slice tofu horizontally and wrap in kitchen towels and put a cutting board on top of the wrapped tofu. Put something on top of the cutting board, like a pot, for additional weight. Leave it to drain for 20 minutes. Then wrap it in a clean thin cotton dishtowel, knead it and squeeze as much water out of it as possible.

Knead the tofu in a large bowl for five minutes and then add the garlic, green onions, fennel seeds, parsley, salt, pepper, and cheese. Knead it for another few minutes. Whisk the egg and work it into the tofu dough.

Combine the ground bread crumbs, spices and pepper in a large flat bowl or pie pan. Make small, walnut-sized balls out of the tofu dough and roll each ball in the dough.

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick pan or well-seasoned cast-iron pan on medium and fry your tofu ganmo meatballs on each side until golden brown. I like to freeze half the recipe and save it for another time.

Then simmer in pasta sauce for an hour or more so it absorbs the flavors. If you like you can add thinly sliced fresh mushrooms to the pasta sauce and let them simmer along with the tofu meatballs.

Serve on gluten-free french bread with fresh basil leaves or on gluten-free spaghetti, sprinkled with additional grated cheese and julienned basil.

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Go Ahead Honey Gluten-free Lunchbox Entry: Indian Tiffin Recipes

September 27th, 2010 yum Posted in Breastfeeding for Allergic Baby Recipe, Chickpeas, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Go Ahead Honey Event, Indian, Lunch, Naomi Devlin, North India, Nut Free, Quinoa, Rice Free, Soy Free, Vegan, Web Event, Zucchini 8 Comments »

This month I happened to notice that Ali of the Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen was hosting the wonderful monthly blogging event called Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free, and I was inspired to join! This event was created by the lovely Naomi Devlin of Straight into Bed Cakefree and Dried. Ali chose the inspiring theme Ideas for Packing a Healthy School Lunch! I always love planning lunches, especially when I can get inspiration from countries that have wonderful packed lunch traditions like Japan and India. I have waxed joyous many times on the Japanese onigiri, or rice ball, and the Japanese Bento Box. But India has quite a bit to offer the packed lunch as well with their practical but chic stainless steel tiffin lunchboxes. When I was lucky enough to go to India in person, I snatched up quite a few tiffin lunchboxes and started a personal small but treasured tiffin collection.

Once Ali threw down the challenge, I started thinking about what dishes would be good in a tiffin. Lately I’ve been eating more quinoa than rice, and so a quinoa dish was a given. I could have packed my favorite quinoa masala recipe, but this time I thought I’d make a more basic recipe that would be the base note for the meal, rather than the star component. I riffed on a favorite rice cooker recipe, adding more spices and peas for fun. Lately I’ve been reveling in the fresh offerings at the Farmer’s Market, and I’ve got a serious crush on baby zucchini and zucchini blossoms. I decided to make a highly seasoned and decadent (but still healthy!) baby zucchini and baby pattypan dry curry that would travel well and complement the quinoa pilaf. And then, influenced by Japanese bento where a high-protein fried treat accompanies rice and vegetables, I decided to end on a slightly decadent note with a pakora (chickpea flour fritter) zucchini blossom. It tastes lovely hot, cold, with ketchup or simply kissed with salt, and marvelously blends the fresh flavor of the blossom with hearty, savory chickpea batter.

And so, a healthy Indian vegetarian (and vegan) lunch menu was born. Baby Yum is too little for such lunchbox menus as yet, but I think you’re never too old to treat your adult self with a healthy and delicious lunch, whether it be in a paper (or eco-reusable) bag, tiffin, or bento box. And when Baby Yum is old enough for school, I hope she’ll enjoy eating this type of International, vegetarian feasts as much as I will enjoy making them for her.

Here is Ali’s roundup of gluten-free lunch ideas

I also entered this post in Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays

More International Lunches from the Book of Yum:
Vegetarian Bento with Burdock and Lotus Root and Inari Zushi
Fusion Tiffin with Thai Lemongrass Corn and Quesadillas
Spinach Sesame Onigiri (Japanese Rice Ball) for Bento
Assorted Avocado Fusion Onigiri recipes for Bento

Looking for more inspiration for your Bento or Tiffin Box? Here are some of my favorite sites which have recipes that can be adapted to be gluten-free:
Just Bento (Japanese recipes)
Just Hungry (Japanese recipes)
Maki of Just Bento and Just Hungry’s Cookbook:
The Just Bento Cookbook: Everyday Lunches To Go
Cooking Cute (Japanese recipes)
The Cooking Cute cookbook:
Yum-Yum Bento Box: Fresh Recipes for Adorable Lunches
Lunch in a Box (no longer being updated)
Week of Menus (How about a Korean recipe bento?)
Hapa Bento (Japanese cuisine)

Indian Baby Zucchini, pattypan squash, and tomato dry curry recipe
Ingredients
1/2 lb baby zucchini
1/2 lb baby pattypan squash
2 small tomatoes or one medium tomato, cubed and dusted with salt

2 tbsp. of olive or canola oil, divided
1 1/2 tbsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ancho or cayenne chili pepper (or paprika for kids)
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp salt

Directions
Clean zucchini and pattypan squash and towel dry. Cut Baby zucchini in half lengthwise, and cut pattypan squash in half horizontally so that you have two circlets, one having a pumpkin-like stem and os one not.

Heat 1 tbsp. of oil in a large nonstick pan on medium high and then add your baby zucchini so that you have one layer in the pan. You may have to do this in batches. Let it brown for a minute or so and then lower the heat. Let brown for 8 minutes, turning halfway through to get even browning. Remove zucchini from pan and reserve. Heat the remaining oil on medium high again and put a single layer of your pattypan squash in the pan. After a minute or so, lower heat and brown for 5-6 minutes. Turn halfway through or as soon as the bottom layer is brown and brown the other side. Add the zucchini back into the pan and add your spices, mixing thoroughly. Let the spices heat up and brown slightly. Add the cubed tomatoes and mix again. Let the tomatoes cook down slightly and then take off burner. Taste and season with additional salt if needed. Serve!

Notes
*vegetables can be replaced with Okra if desired.
zucchini blossom pakora fritter recipe
Ingredients
Batter:
1 cup chickpea flour
pinch baking soda
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or 1/4 tsp paprika, 1/4 tsp chipotle pepper)
1 tsp roasted ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup water

canola oil for deep frying

1 farmer’s market package of zucchini squash blossoms

salt for taste

Directions
Combine pakora batter ingredients in a small bowl.

Pour enough canola oil in a small, deep pan for deep frying. Heat on high until hot but before reaching smoking point. If oil is too hot, fritters will burn. If not hot enough, the fritters will absorb too much oil. Oil is ready when a drop of batter rises to the surface immediately and sizzles. Lower heat to medium high to keep at correct temperature.

Dip your squash blossoms into the batter, coating all sides evenly. Drop them into hot oil, turning frequently so that the blossom browns evenly.

Remove fritters from oil with tongs or metal strainer and set on rack to drain. You can reheat them later in the oven on 375 and they will taste hot and fresh!

Sprinkle lightly with salt if desired.

Notes
Good with ketchup, chutney, or even plain!

*this photo is of whole baby zucchini and blossom from my first experiment with this recipe. However, I found it better to just batter and fry the blossom separately, and those are the versions pictured in the tiffin photos!

Special Indian Quinoa Recipe
Ingredients
5 tsp sesame oil
1 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 cups quinoa, rinsed and drained
1/2 – 1 cup green peas
3 1/2 cups water
3 tsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2-1 tsp sea salt
Directions
Heat sesame oil in your rice cooker and then add your black mustard seeds and cumin. Heat until seeds pop and then add your quinoa. Heat the rice cooker again (by pressing cook), stir the quinoa, and let it cook a few minutes. Open rice cooker and add your peas, water, lime juice, turmeric, and salt. Stir. Start your rice cooker cycle again and let cook. Can keep warm in the rice cooker for a bit or serve immediately. Enjoy!
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