Quinoa, Oat, Cauliflower, Walnut, & Black Bean Vegan Meatballs with Marinara & Butternut Squash Noodles topped with Almond Coconut Parmesan & Basil
The way I go about creating a recipe usually starts with some type of inspiration. Either from an idea within or something I saw that sparked the formation. This weeks Food Story comes with a little of both. I always love a challenge with combining different ingredients especially those deemed Vegan or Gluten Free. I find the process of taking all the perceived normal ingredients out of the equation and using alternative ingredients fascinating. To me, it's a creative wonderland. To be able to produce a dish that reminds you of its counterpart yet hold its own in flavor is such a wonderful thing. Especially for those individuals out there who sincerely DO have food allergies and intolerances. They need and want alternatives in order to continue enjoying a world of culinary pleasures. A good portion of these individuals have already been blogging for years creating some truly amazing delights. So let's celebrate the fact that it's different, yummy, and healthy. Now...creating a Vegan Meatball is really nothing new but I wanted to construct one that I could call my own. For weeks I just kept letting different ingredients filter through as I processed how I wanted to put them all together. I would always come back to a core handful and finally decided one day to just go for it. The recipe that follows is the result of that test run. Every now and then the first run turns out just perfect. It's not to say that down the road I might tweak it here and there but for this run, I couldn't be more pleased. "So why a Vegan Meatball recipe the week of Thanksgiving you may ask??? This isn't traditional Thanksgiving fare." WELL…the way I see it is…it's an alternative for those who don't enjoy Turkey and Dressing and would prefer something a little different. PLUS, if you're gonna have a house full of guests for the long weekend you're gonna need other options. Why not get in the kitchen with your family and try something new OR better yet...create something new together. With that sentiment, let's get started on this weeks Quinoa, Oat, Cauliflower, Walnut, & Black Bean Vegan Meatballs with Marinara & Butternut Squash Noodles topped with Almond Coconut Parmesan & Basil Food Story Adventure:)
Here's what you'll need to get started...
1 Butternut Squash
1/2 head Cauliflower
1 cup Walnuts
1 cup Quick Cook Oats
1/2 cup Rainbow Quinoa(rinsed)
2 cartons unsalted Black Beans(equivalent to 26.8 oz total)
1 cup low sodium Vegetable Broth
2 tsp Liquid Smoke
2 tsp Tamari Sauce
2 tsp Coconut Oil
2 tbsp Flaxmeal
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
4 tsp Arrowroot Flour
7 tsp Oregano
4 tsp Basil
2 tsp Thyme
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 + 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Coconut Flour
Almond Coconut Parmesan
1/4 cup Almond Meal
1/4 cup Fine Shredded Coconut Unsweetened
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1/4 tsp Salt
Since there's definitely quite a bit of prep, let's first get started with the Rainbow Quinoa. Be sure to follow per instruction for pre-rinsing. The goal is to remove any Saponins that may reside on the seed. Keep rinsing till water is clear.
Place rinsed Rainbow Quinoa and low sodium Vegetable Broth in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for around 15-20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside. Next, take the Cauliflower and cut into pieces removing the base. Place in a food processor along with the Walnuts, Liquid Smoke, Tamari, and 1 tsp Oregano. Blitz till combined. You'll probably have to scrape down the sides a few times but keep going. The goal is to produce a mash like consistency. Remove mixture and set aside. Next, grab your Black Beans. I used two cartons equivalent to 26.8 oz total. First, drain water off the top and place Black Beans in the food Processor. Blitz till combined. Place mixture in a bowl and to that add 2 tsp Thyme, 2 tsp Basil, 4 tsp Oregano, 1 tsp Garlic Powder, 1 tsp Onion Powder, and 1 tsp Salt. (Note: if you use Black Beans or Vegetable Broth with Salt added adjust the amount used so overall dish isn't overloaded). Mix everything together. Set aside.
Grab a large mixing bowl. We're going to start by preparing part of the batch. To the Bowl add 1/2 cup cooked Rainbow Quinoa, 1/2 cup Cauliflower/Walnut mix, 1/2 cup Black Bean mix, 1/2 cup Quick Cook Oats, 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp Nutritional Yeast, 1 tbsp Flaxmeal, 2 tsp Arrowroot Flour, 1 tsp Coconut Oil, 1 tsp Oregano, 1 tsp Basil, and 1/4 tsp Onion Powder. Get your hands in there and mix it all together. Then roll into a ball. Grab a non-stick baking pan and pre-heat oven to 400. Using a melon ball scoop or equivalent measure out a heaping portion and roll into a ball. Here's where you're going to need the 1/4 cup Coconut Flour. I like to lightly dust the outside of the ball with Coconut Flour as I roll(see motion below).
Keep going till all mixture is depleted. Place Vegan Meatballs in the oven and bake for around 40-45 minutes. I usually turn each of them over every 15 minutes and brush with a little Coconut Oil Spray.
For this recipe, I used a pre-made Marinara sauce. There's one I like called Nello's Sauce that's Awesome!! Definitely try this one or use your own favorite Marinara recipe. Here's a basic version from a past Food Story post if you need one to get started. If making from scratch, you might want to start that process early on to give all the flavors a chance to come together. If you're going the pre-made route then place sauce in a sauce pan and simmer on low heat. The Marinara jar I used is 25 oz and supports the part of the batch we just created. You will need an additional jar for the other batch. Now let's move on to our Butternut Squash. Peel the outer layer and separate the long neck portion from the base. The long portion is what we're gonna use to create Butternut Squash Noodles(see motion below). I usually core the bottom portion and cube it up to roast for a separate little snack.
Once noodles are prepared, place on a baking sheet or in a roasting pan and toss lightly with Olive Oil. Place in oven at the last 10 minute baking mark for the Vegan Meatballs. This way it's all done together. Remove everything from oven. The Vegan Meatballs will have a hard crust outer shell but not to worry because once you add them to the Marinara, they re-hydrate perfectly…giving the texture of a meatball. Add the Vegan Meatballs to the Marinara carefully coating each one. And now...let's mix up the final component. Add all the ingredients for the Almond Coconut Parmesan into a kitchen food prep and blitz away. It's that simple. Don't forget to check out the video tutorial of the entire process below. This recipe produces approximately 2 batches yielding up to 40 Vegan Meatballs depending on the size rolled. There will potentially be some leftover portions after the second batch so take this as your chance to get creative. See what YOU can come up with. Have Fun:)