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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Gluten-free Vegetarian +Vegan Option Quinoa Black Bean Burger

January 21st, 2011 yum Posted in Breastfeeding for Allergic Baby Recipe, Corn, JM friendly, Nut Free, Quinoa, Rice Free, Soy Free, Vegan Option, beans, tomatoes 6 Comments »

The DH has been traveling a lot for his job lately, and been gone from home and missing out on good home cooked meals. So when he got home relatively early the other night, I wanted to make him something tasty and healthy to make up for all the meals he’d been skipping or having at restaurants. We had a pot of quinoa I had cooked for lunch, so I thought I’d do something simple involving pasta sauce, beans, cheese and a microwave. What can I say, I wanted to spend time with the guy and not just spend all night in the kitchen. As I started adding ingredients to my quinoa, I got inspired. What If I put in the basic ingredients I’d had in mind, but instead of microwaving them, I made quinoa burgers on the stove? It wouldn’t take much extra time and would taste so much better. Of course, being me, I couldn’t just stop there, and I ended up making the vegetarian burgers, two sauces, and serving them on La Tortilla Factory Sonoma Corn Tortillas with some organic lettuce. Homemade tortillas would have been better, but if you can’t make them, those are the best pre-made tortillas I’ve found. They are even a little larger than normal ol’ Mission corn tortillas. Anyway, I digress. So I dragged the DH to the table and made him have a real, home cooked meal for the first time in far too long. And guess what? He loved it! I could tell by the way he kept going back for seconds, and how he said, “Hey! I would order this at a restaurant, on purpose!” And he told me to make it again, anytime, as he was spooning his third serving of avocado dressing on his burger. Funny, I thinned out the avocado with mayonnaise simply because I didn’t have enough avocado to make a full recipe without it, and the DH raved and raved about it. Boys.

The burgers are delicate when they are hot, so make sure they have a nice golden crust before turning them. They solidify and get very sturdy once they are cooled in the refrigerator, and become softer again once they get very hot again. Basically, I think it is due to the cheese (or un-cheese) which helps bind them together melting and then solidifying.

They are great on corn tortillas, would be delicious in a gluten-free hamburger bun, and were completely lovely as a breakfast “burger” served with a side of hash browns. This recipe was just something I threw together on a whim, but it was such a success that I can see it going on our regular menu rotation. A great way to use leftover quinoa!

After this recipe was such a hit in our household, I did a search for other gluten-free quinoa burger recipes:
Renee’s Sweet Potato, Quinoa, Bean Burger Recipe
GF Made Easy Black Bean Quinoa Burger Recipe
Gluten-free Cat’s Quinoa Burger Recipe
Gluten-free Dish’s Quinoa Black Bean Burgers
Gluten-free for Good’s Sweet Potato Quinoa Burger Recipe

Here’s an earlier Book of Yum recipe for veggie burgers:
Sweet Potato Black Bean Vegetarian Burger Recipe

Just want to buy one? Read my article reviewing the gluten-free veggie Burger options

Shared with Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and Gluten-free Wednesdays

Why is it that Baby Yum always steals my food in the middle of a photo session? I had to chase her around the kitchen in circles to get this quinoa burger back. Silly Baby, all she has to do is ask and I’ll give her some!


Breaking Gluten-free News: Speaking of burgers and sandwiches, did you hear that Subway is testing a gluten-free bun option in their Texas stores? Reportedly the bun is manufactured off-site in a gluten-free facility, comes in a sealed plastic bag and they use a single-use knife to cut the bun. Despite efforts to train staff in cross-contamination issues, I’m skeptical that they will be able to provide a truly gluten-free product. The condiments and any sandwich fillings will surely be contaminated, don’t you think? Besides, the bread smell alone in that place makes me feel queasy, personally. Nevertheless, at least another mainstream corporation is thinking about catering to gluten-free customers, which can only be a good thing. I just hope they don’t end up causing more harm than good by doing it improperly.

Gluten-free Vegetarian Quinoa Bean Burgers with Vegan Option
Ingredients
4 cups cooked quinoa (about 1 cup uncooked, simmered with 2 cups water)
1 can drained, rinsed black beans
1/2 can organic stewed tomatoes, drained (I used muir glen with green chilies)
1 egg OR for vegan, 1 flax seed “egg”* blended or food processed
1/2 cup roasted frozen corn (Trader Joe’s, or regular un-roasted)
4 scallions or green onion, minced
1/4 cup sorghum flour (or your favorite gluten-free whole grain flour)
2 cups monterey jack cheese OR for vegan, daiya mozzarella
small handful fresh cilantro, diced

olive oil or your favorite oil

Directions
Prepare a large baking sheet with a layer of parchment paper, if you have the latter. The paper is optional but makes life easier. Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine quinoa, beans, and tomato in a medium-large bowl. Stir with your hands or a large spoon, mashing the beans a little if possible. Create a well in the mixture for the egg or flax “egg” and use a fork to whisk whites into the yolk. Fold the egg or flax “egg” into the mixture and combine thoroughly. Microwave briefly or cook your corn so it is no longer frozen and stir into your mixture along with the minced green onion. Sprinkle with half of your flour and fold in. Add your second half of the flour and combine. Sprinkle with cheese or un-cheese and mix it so it is evenly distributed throughout. Add cilantro, fold together one final time. See if you can create a patty with the mixture. If it is too wet, add a little more flour.

On medium-high, heat enough oil in a nonstick or well-seasoned cast iron pan to cover the bottom of the pan. Carefully add enough medium-size patties, one at a time, to cover the bottom of the pan and not have them touching each other. I had two full batches. Fry until each patty has a golden-brown crust on the bottom and then carefully turn over. Cook second side until golden brown.

Carefully remove first batch to your baking sheet and put in oven. Let bake while you make the second batch in your skillet, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve while the second batch is in the oven, if you like.

Enjoy!

Notes
We served these on tortillas with lettuce, red pepper pico de gallo, and avocado dressing. DH LOVED them, and I did too. Yum!

*Flax egg= 1 tbsp ground flax seed + 3 tbsp water, blended or food processed

Pepper Pico De Gallo
Ingredients
1 roma tomato (organic preferred)
1/4 of a red or yellow pepper OR handful of mini peppers
1 or 2 green onions
dash of fresh lime or lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro (or less, to taste)
salt to taste
dash of pepper or California pepper
Directions
Mince your roma tomato and discard the watery pulp. Put the nice minced pieces in a small bowl. Mince your red or yellow pepper OR your mini peppers- I got a big bag of adorable mini yellow and red peppers from Costco in a bid to get Baby Yum eating more veggies and have been putting them in everything. Mix peppers into the bowl with tomato and sprinkle with salt. Mince your green onions and add them to the party. You can use less or more, to taste. Use more if you will be eating the pico de gallo soon, and use less if you are going to let it sit overnight or for at least a half hour. It becomes even more delicious the next day, and flavors of raw ingredients mellow. Squeeze a bit of juice from a fresh lime or lemon on top of the mixture and mix together. Finely mince your cilantro and add to the bowl. Season with salt and pepper and fold ingredients together. Let it sit. Refrigerate in a sealed container if you are going to leave it longer than half an hour or overnight. Use on something delicious.
Avocado Dressing Recipe
Ingredients
1/4 avocado, mashed
Equal amounts of mayonnaise (Vegan mayonnaise would make recipe vegan!)
1 small amount of scallion, minced into tiny tiny pieces
Pinch of lemon or lime juice
white pepper if desired (I didn’t
Directions
Combine ingredients and mix thoroughly. Serve on something tasty, preferably with my pepper pico de gallo.
Notes
The DH LOVED this. You can double or triple the recipe. I didn’t have very much avocado, so I made a small batch.
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