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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Vegan, Gluten-Free Daring Baker Challenge: Homemade Dairy-free, Egg-free Spinach Egg Pasta Recipe with vegan parmesan recipe and pine nut cheese recipe

March 30th, 2009 yum Posted in Dairy Free, Daring Baker, Egg Free, Gluten Free Pasta, Italian, JM friendly, Pasta, Vegan 11 Comments »

veganlasagnarollsWhen I saw this month’s Daring Baker Challenge was delicious homemade spinach lasagna, I was very excited. I was also inspired. I resolved to make not just a vegetarian and gluten-free version, but a vegan version as well. The great thing about this is that I was able to experiment with a vegan pasta recipe- and to my surprise, I actually ended up liking the vegan pasta more than my version of the gluten-free non-vegan pasta recipe included with the challenge. It was much easier to handle and didn’t require any additional starch, which was a definite plus. Part of it might have been my super-sneaky technique of rolling the dough out inside a gallon-sized ziploc bag- but I could actually pick this pasta up and move it around without it ripping (much). It DID require very strong arm muscles, so be warned that you’ll need to really lean on that rolling pin to roll out your dough. I also found that this recipe, which required that you boil the pasta, was a little more to my taste than the other recipe where you bake the pasta sheets un-cooked. Something about the slippery, silky texture of boiled pasta just goes well with sauce. The lovely thing is that although inspiration for this dish came from all over- all the flavors went together perfectly. It even won over the DH, who proclaimed it his very favorite of the two versions. He doesn’t usually pick vegan over non-vegan recipes, so that is saying a lot- this recipe is a real winner! I hope you’ll try it, because it really is delicious, and worth the time in the kitchen. It is also very easy to adapt for various allergies, so would be nice for serving to allergy-plagued friends or taking to a gluten-free potluck. Enjoy!

*By the way, after a day in the kitchen with the vegetarian version of this recipe, the light was leaving me, as you can no doubt tell from these pictures. If I have time I may add a few beauty shots, just to do justice to this really excellent recipe.

How to make Gluten-Free Vegan Lasagne Rolls:
veganlasmosaic

Visit my OTHER vegetarian version of this Recipe submitted for Daring Baker HERE (with different pasta recipe, sauce recipes etc.)

Gluten-Free Vegan Homemade Spinach Bean Pasta Recipe
Ingredients
1/3 cup and 1 tbsp. garfava flour
1/3 cup and 2 tbsp. cornstarch
1/3 cup and 2 tbsp. tapioca starch
2 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. salt
Enough fresh spinach to make 1/3 cup pureed blanched spinach*
1/3 cup drain water from blanched spinach
1 tbsp. Ener-g Foods egg replacer
1 tbsp. olive oil

2 large gallon size ziploc bags (generic is ok)

Directions
Mix all dry ingredients (garfava, cornstarch, tapioca, xanthan and salt) together in a medium bowl.

Prepare your spinach in a microwave bowl and a little water, microwaving until barely cooked. Then rinse in cold water, drain* and then puree in a food processor. Squeeze blanched spinach and drain water, reserving. (*You want to have 1/3 cup of spinach water, so you may need to keep all of the spinach infused water.) Mix your tbsp. egg replacer with the 1/3 cup green spinach water. Rinse out food processor and then combine dry ingredients with pureed spinach in the food processor bowl. Process. Then pour in the green egg replacer egg and slowly drizzle in olive oil with the machine running. When dough balls up in food processor, take out and place it on a piece of saran wrap.

You can put it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it- or keep it at room temperature. (I refrigerated it for a few hours before rolling it out).

When ready to roll out, separate the dough into thirds. Place one third of dough inside one of the gallon sized ziploc bags and carefully roll it out, using a rolling pin on TOP of the bag, so there is a layer of plastic beneath the dough on the table surface and so there is a layer of plastic between the dough and the rolling pin. When the dough has been rolled into a square thin sheet of dough that fills the bag, carefully cut out the sides of the bag and pull back the top of the bag away from the pasta sheets. Cut them carefully into your desired size, but don’t remove them yet. Place this pasta, bag and all, to the side.

Take another third of dough and put it inside your second ziploc bag, slightly to one side or the other. Roll out the dough just like the first one but keep it more to one side. When you have a nice large sheet of pasta, cut one side of the bag where the pasta has connected with the side. Peel back the top (leaving one side and bottom uncut if possible and cut the pasta into its desired shape without cutting through the bag. Gently peel off each sheet of pasta and place it on top of the first batch of prepared pasta at an angle.

Finally, roll out the final portion of pasta against the edge of the ziploc bag that still remains. When you have a nice sheet of pasta, cut out the remaining side, peel back the plastic, and then peel off each remaining piece of pasta and place on top of the other prepared pasta at an angle to the piece beneath it.

Bring water to a boil in a large pot and add all your pasta. Time it for about three minutes FROM the point you add it to the water. Bring it back to a boil. After your timer goes off, carefully strain the pasta and rinse with cold water.

Use in recipe as desired. Yummy!

Notes
Flour blend inspired by Bette Hagman’s Bean flour pasta, Food processor technique and spinach inspired by Bryanna’s Vegan Homemade Pasta, but ultimately my own creation. Rolling out instructions purely my own technique.

*POTATO ALLERGY ALERT- if you are highly sensitive to potato, Ener-G foods Egg replacer does contain potato starch. You can try this recipe with ground flax seed instead or just spinach water. (And let me know how it turns out)

Gluten-free Vegan Bechamel White Sauce Recipe #2
Ingredients
2 & 2/3 cup non-dairy milk (I used soy. For soy-free use rice milk, almond milk, etc.)
2 tbsp. Earth Balance Margarine and 2 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil (For soy-free use 4 tbsp. olive oil and no margarine.)
4 tbsp. sweet rice flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp onion powder (or more)
Freshly grated nutmeg
Directions
Heat margarine and olive oil in nonstick pan until melted, and then add flour. Slowly whisk in non-dairy milk and raise temperature but don’t let come to a boil. Let thicken and season to taste. Whisk as needed and use in your recipe.
Daring Bakers Lentil Bolognese Sauce Recipe #3
Ingredients
1 onion, chopped
2 whole garlic cloves
2 carrots, coarsely grated
3 tbsp. olive oil
2/3 cup red lentils
1 14 oz. can tomatoes
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 cups GF vegetable stock
1 tbsp. fresh marjoram
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Directions
Saute onion, garlic, and grated carrot in olive oil in a large dutch oven until it is soft. Add lentils, tomato, tomato paste, stock and seasoning and simmer for 20 minutes until thick and lovely. Taste and season as needed.
Alternative Dairy-Free, Soy-Free Cheese Recipes Parmesan and Pine Nut Ricotta
Ingredients
Dairy-free, Soy-free Parmesan:
1 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup blanched almonds
1/2 tsp. salt

Dairy-free, Soy-free Ricotta:
1/2 cup pine nuts
squirt of lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
water as needed

Directions
Un-parmesan:
Combine parmesan ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until you have a smooth, granular topping. Reserve. (Only a small portion would be used for the lasagna recipe etc.- is nice to have on hand though. Great on popcorn!)

Not-ricotta:
Soak pine nuts in water for an hour and then drain. Combine in blender with lemon juice, salt, and enough water to form a paste. Reserve for recipe. Leftovers are great on all kinds of things!

Gluten-free Vegan Spinach Lasagna Lasagne Rolls Recipe
Ingredients
1 recipe Gluten-Free Vegan Homemade Spinach Bean Pasta Recipe
1/2 recipe Gluten-free Vegan Bechamel White Sauce Recipe
1 recipe Daring Bakers Lentil Bolognese Sauce Recipe #3

Partial amounts of Vegan Parmesan and Pine Nut Ricotta
handful Toasted pine nuts

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 F.

Boil vegan pasta, rinse in cold water and drain as directed in recipe.

In a medium size dish, put a thin layer vegan red lentil bolognese sauce on the bottom. Then take a medium-sized rectangle of vegan spinach pasta and create a roll, filling with bolognese sauce, a dash of bechamel, and sprinking of vegan parmesan. Continue to create rolls (as if you were making enchiladas) with the same fillings. When the pan is full of these lasagna rolls, top with a thin layer bechamel sauce, pine nut ricotta, a sprinkling of vegan parmesan along the center of the rolls, and finally, toasted pine nuts.

Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10-15 more minutes, or until pine nut ricotta starts to brown.

Enjoy!

Notes
To our surprise, we enjoyed this recipe even more than the non-vegan version. Even DH said it was the yummiest- and he’s a tough sell. I’ll totally make this again.
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