Meatless Monday: Baked Tofu Meatballs [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes, Meatless Monday

Yields: 24 ‘Meatballs’
Serves: 8
Prep: 35 mins
Cooking Time: 30-35 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Chopping board(s), small dish, fork, sharp knife, food processor, mixing bowl, silicone spatula, baking tray, silicone mat (or parchment paper)

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & E, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, omega 3, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and per serving is low in added sugar, salt* and sat fats*. (*Variable due to the brand of vegan cheese, puree and/or bread used.)

Yes, it’s more ‘meatballs’; but to be fair this is our third type of plant-based ‘meatball’! We actually made this variety last November- which is what got our cognitive gears in motion for our designing our baked tofu loaf. We love ‘meatballs’ and think they’re great for cosy family dinners, picnics or as a healthy snack!

These lovely ‘meatballs’ have about a half hour prep involved due to the nature of its main ingredient (sorry folks!). Tofu needs to pressed and its water expressed before it’s used. You might have a tofu gadget that will shorten this process by ten minutes, but it needs to be done. However, it’s worth the effort. We think they’re satisfying all round; moist, meaty and flavourful, with plenty of room for adapting them to your own personal spec. 

Some other good things to note include:

  • Yes they have vegan cream cheese (which isn’t something we would have a regular basis due to its saturated fat and salt content), but it works here. Paired with a healthy pasta sauce and pasta, this can be a balanced meal. Also, it might be interesting to try them with a DF garlic and herb cream cheese instead.
  • These meatballs are not dry and like a lot of freefrom ‘meatballs’, chunkier ingredients can stop them from sticking together properly. So if you are looking for a dish with more texture, serve them with a chunky tomato-based pasta sauce instead!
  • Perhaps with a little more bread or alternative grain, they can be adapted into small burgers.
  • Feel free to use fresh herbs (if you have them) as they always make a difference in the overall flavour of things! 

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

 

Ingredients

++++++++++800g          Firm Tofu (=2 tetra paks )
++++++++++32g             Ground Flaxseed (about 4 tbsp)
++++++++++9 tbsp         DF Milk (or water)
++++++++++100g           Bread (GF if required)
++++++++++6g               Garlic clove (one fat one)
++++++++++130g            Spring onion (about 5)
++++++++++100g           Red bell pepper
++++++++++75g              Plain vegan cream cheese alternative
++++++++++4g                Dried Thyme
++++++++++6-8g           Dried Oregano
++++++++++¾-1 tsp       Salt
++++++++++                    Ground black pepper
++++++++++20g             Sun-dried tomato puree
++++++++++20g             Rice flour (or Plain GF Flour)

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Directions

1. Drain and press the tofu between two heavy (or weighted) chopping boards or plates for 30 mins.

2. In the meantime, prepare some ‘flax eggs’! Place 32g ground flaxseed into a small dish with 9 tbsp DF milk or water. Whisk with a fork to combine. Leave it to set.

3. Heat the bread in a toaster or under a medium-low grill until lightly brown and crispy. Place the toasted bread into a food processor. Process the toast until breadcrumbs are achieved. Tip: Alternatively you can make some breadcrumbs by placing the toasted bread into a sealed kitchen bag; crush and press it into crumbs with a rolling pin or a heavy tin. Transfer into a large mixing bowl.

4. Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400°F. Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or a sheet of parchment paper.

5. Prepare the vegetables. Peel the garlic. Wash, trim the tops and then roughly chop the spring onion. Wash, remove the stem and core and then roughly chop the bell pepper. Whilst the food processor is running, drop the garlic down the pouring spout. Process until minced. Add the onion and bell pepper. Process until finely chopped. Tip: If you don’t have a food processor, just get out your ‘chefy-ist’ knife and show the vegetables who’s boss! Peel and mince the garlic and then finely chop and dice the spring onion and bell pepper (the smaller the pieces the better!). Transfer into the mixing bowl.

6. Drain the tofu. Pat it dry with some kitchen paper. Break it into smaller pieces and transfer them into the food processor. Process until it’s smooth-ish and completely broken down. Transfer into the mixing bowl. NB: Alternatively mash it in a large bowl with a fork or potato masher!

7. Add 75g vegan cream cheese, 4g dried thyme and 6-8g dried oregano, ¾ tsp salt and a few grinds of black pepper into the mixing bowl. Mix and thoroughly combine the ingredients. Taste and season it as necessary. Add the ‘flax eggs’, 20g sun-dried tomato puree and 10g of flour. Mix and thoroughly combine (we used a silicone spatula for this).

8. Shape the mixture into ‘golf ball-sized meatballs’. Tip: If the mixture is a little tacky, use the remaining flour to lightly dust your hands first. Place the ‘meatballs’ onto the baking tray. Repeat until all the mixture has been used (we made twenty-four!). If desired, spray the ‘meatballs’ with a little low-fat cooking oil.

9. Place the tray onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for 30-35 mins; turning once halfway through. Tip: They will be slightly firm to the touch and lightly golden at the end of baking!

10. Serve on top of with your favourite pasta and sauce! We served ours on a bed of courgette and carrot ribbons, gluten free spaghetti and our homemade marinara!

Enjoy!

TipRefrigerate any leftovers in an air-tight and resealable container; reheat and consume within 3-5 days. Alternatively store and freeze; defrost, reheat and consume within 1-2 months.

 

 

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6 thoughts on “Meatless Monday: Baked Tofu Meatballs [Vegan & Gluten Free]

  1. This looks so yummy!! 🙂 I have to ask though, is gluten free pasta a good substitute for regular?? I know it is probably much better for you but I’ve never given it a try since I’m not gluten intolerant and didn’t want to sacrifice taste. If it has nearly the same flavor and constancy though I would much rather use that for the health benefits!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Reeanna! Maybe you can have a ‘meatball’ day with Landon? 😀 We can’t speak for the varieties you get in N.America, but the tastes, textures and main ingredients of the GF pastas we get in the UK varies. Our mainstream GF pastas tend to be made from maize and white rice; from a health point a view, this is not better than say wholemeal and spelt-based pasta. However its benefits tend to be anecdotal. I suffer from IBS and gluten can cause me some issues, although it’s not my complete downfall. I vary my wholemeal and GF pasta to give my gut a break; I actually prefer wholemeal pasta. 🙂 If you don’t need GF products, we would always say stick to multi grain, wholemeal and spelt-based pastas; their overall nutrition, taste and texture is better all round (and of course cheaper)! Correct us if we’re wrong, but do you get black bean pasta in the US? We saw some online here, but it’s super expensive. Alternative grain pastas (quinoa, brown rice etc.) or legumes (black beans or soy) could be a healthy choice, but the texture and cost might still be up for debate! x

      Like

    1. Thanks Sophie. Yes it’s really not that bad and if you double the recipe, it’s even better; no cooking for a few days! You’ve been reviewing a lot of Violife cheeses, so you’ll have to let us know if you use something flavoured instead! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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