I've tried quite a few 'faux' meatball recipes because I love my meatballs and sauce. This recipe is made with seitan, otherwise known as 'wheat meat'.
Seitan is made from vital wheat gluten, and is high in protein and low in fat. The seitan recipe I use is from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's "Vegan with a Vengeance". I've tried other recipes and hers is one of my favorites. Its flavor and versatility are top notch. Store bought seitan is expensive so preparing your own is far more economical. Following Isa's recipe ensures a good batch of seitan that can be frozen for later use or used right away. Homemade seitan keeps for 4 days in the frig. Frozen seitan defrosts well, and tastes just as good as freshly used.
What I do is prepare meatballs the way I've always done (with my mother and grandmother's spirits hovering over my shoulder), but add some ingredients and use a methodology that I''ve learned from 'the' renowned vegan chefs. Have fun trying this recipe and adding your own unique ingredients.
4 cups of ground seitan (grind seitan wedges in food processor. Looks like chop meat when processed.)
1/2 medium sized onion, grated
1 T minced fresh garlic
2 T chopped fresh Italian leaf parsley
1/4 cup soy parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tsps dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tsps ground fennel seed
2 tsps tomato paste
1 tsp marmite (a yeast extract, usually shelved in the ethnic section of grocery stores by 'British' foods)
1/2 cup seitan broth
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup or more plain bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste
After grinding the seitan, put in large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the rest of the ingredients, except for the wheat gluten. Mix ingredients well. Chill bowl in frig for about 20 minutes. After chilling add the wheat gluten. (Adding gluten to chilled mix helps balls to hold their shape.) Mix again and make the meatballs.
(The first time I made my own faux meatballs, I browned them right away after rolling the balls. They held together in sauce - sort of! It's important to chill the ingredients first, then add the wheat gluten to cold ingredients. That works.Thanks Bryanna Clark Grogan, vegan chef par excellence!)
After forming balls, steam the balls in a steamer for 20 minutes. That also holds them together. After they are steamed you can brown them for about 10 minutes.
Walla, you have great tasting meatballs. You can either freeze them after browning or serve them in a wonderful marinara sauce. They also taste great served with mushroom gravy.
And, remember, while preparing the meatballs listen to some moving Italian music.