I cook for a lot of reasons, it’s cheaper, it tastes better, and most of the time, it’s more healthy. (Balance, it’s ok to slip sometime!) But, one of my favorite parts about it is that I get to be my most creative self. When I play my horn, I’m great at playing what’s on the page, but not really at improvising. However, when I’m in the kitchen, I can just make stuff up without using recipes. Sure, sometimes I use recipes for things that need specific chemical reactions, but a lot of times I just wing it. It’s so much fun to have an idea and make it happen in front of me.
Now that I’ve settled in, I have a little more time to cook. Granted, I’ve been working all nights so I’m still a little more behind than I wanted, but it happens. The other day I started thinking about meatballs, and thought about making a vegetarian version. The veggie balls actually turned out to be vegan, thanks to the use of lentils and brown rice. I made a sauce for the top that wasn’t vegan, but the yogurt I used could be switched out for a vegan version very easily.
This recipe is pretty easy, just a little time consuming. Everything in it is actually very good for you, full of fiber and protein.The best part about them is that if you don’t like the spices I used, you can change them very easily; the grains I used don’t really have a ton of flavor so they soak up whatever you put with them.
Here’s what to get from the store:
Baby Bella Mushrooms
Sweet Vidalia Onion
Red Chili Sauce
Veggie Balls with a Caramelized Onion Greek Yogurt Sauce
1 cup uncooked lentils
1 cup uncooked brown rice
5 baby Bella mushrooms, sliced
1 sweet vidalia onion, diced except for 1/4
6 cloves garlic, 4 diced, 2 whole
2 tsp red chili sauce
2 tbsp Lemon Juice
Cummin, Tumeric, Salt, Pepper, Paprika
1 cup Greek Yogurt
- In a sauce pan, put the rice, lentils, the whole garlic, 1/4 onion that was uncut and water just to cover. Bring to a boil and let simmer until cooked through. Remove the garlic and onion then add the lentils and rice to a food processor.
- While the grains are cooking, saute the mushrooms, half of the garlic and a 1/4 of the onion until cooked through. Add to the grain mixture in the food processor and blend until it forms a dough.
- Add the chili sauce, 1 tbsp of the lemon juice and the seasonings. Blend some more, taste to adjust seasoning. Form into balls and brown them in some oil in a saute pan that can go into the oven. (I didn’t do this the first time, but I did when I warmed them up and it worked a lot better). Put into a 350 degree oven until cooked through.
- While the balls are in the oven, take the rest of the onion and cook in olive oil on low heat with salt, pepper, and a little sugar until carmalized. Put the whole thing into the food processor with the yogurt, the rest of the lemon juice, salt, pepper and paprika. Taste to adjust seasoning.
- To serve, place the balls on top of some spinach or other mixed greens, and cover in the sauce.
The past few weeks I’ve been able to do my yoga the amount of time a week that I want. I’m glad I have, my yoga practice has not only made me stronger and more flexable, it’s helped me slow down and find balance. While it’s not a spiritual thing for me (I’m not spiritual anyway) it is something I look forward to every day and I feel amazing after.
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