Tempeh Meatballs

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First off, I’d like to announce that balanced bella is now on Facebook! It’s not that I didn’t thiiink of creating a Facebook page awhile back, I just didn’t think it was necessary since I was linking my recipe posts to my personal Facebook page. What I’m realizing now, is that it’d be an easier place for us to share our thoughts on recipes that have been tried and questions regarding other recipes. I still love the Facebook messages and texts, so feel free to continue that, but I think (and hope) you’ll receive a greater response if your question/comment is read by many of us with similar thoughts, ideas, and interests. For example, perhaps you’ve tried a recipe but added your own special twist to it – I’d be very interested in reading that! My hopes are that you’ll “like” my balanced bella Facebook page and that it’ll be warmly accepted and enhance communication further. Now onto the meatballs!

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I use tempeh quite often in my rice/quinoa bowls by lightly sautéing it in peanut oil; however, blending tempeh and creating meatballs was something I’ve never done and a complete game changer. Like tofu, tempeh is made from soybeans, but is often mixed with other grains like rice and barley. Unlike tofu, tempeh is a non-processed, fermented food which makes digestion a whole lot easier on the body. Tofu is still more popular and mainstream, but tempeh is making its way up the ranks. Tempeh packs twice as much protein per ounce than tofu and has a nuttier, more flavorful taste, in my opinion.

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Maybe it’s because I’m used to eating tempeh, or because I haven’t eaten conventional meatballs in years, but I made these the other night and I couldn’t stop patting myself on the back! I just think they were super delicious – the taste, the texture… I actually liked them better without the sauce, which I thought was an accomplishment in itself, because I thought if they were just okay then at least the sauce would mask some of the tempeh flavor. But no, they were dope! With this recipe, I think I’ve found a new appetizer to make for a future party. I’m thinking much smaller balls with a tangy dipping sauce like an aioli or a sweet and sour. One block of tempeh produced 6 medium sized meatballs, so if you’re making these for more than two people, I’d multiply the recipe.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 block of tempeh (8 oz)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 1 Tbsp)
  • 1 chia egg*
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • about 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • brown rice flour (or flour of your choice) for dusting

* chia egg = 1 Tbsp chia seeds + 1/4 cup of water. Mix and let sit for 10 minutes.

Steps:

  1. Boil a few cups of water. Once boiling, add tempeh and let simmer for 10 minutes (I broke mine up into a few pieces.) This process makes the tempeh softer and easier to work with.
  2. Add the tempeh and garlic to a food processor/blender and mix. I used a blender, so I chopped the garlic before adding it to make sure there were no large chunks remaining after blended.
  3. Place in a large mixing bowl and add the chia egg, parsley, basil, oregano, and salt. You could just add these ingredients into the food processor/blender, but I found the tempeh mixture to be quite dense that I didn’t think the spices would blend properly.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  5. In a large pan, heat the olive oil on a medium/high heat.
  6. Pour the flour into a small bowl and roll each ball around, coating completely.
  7. Add the meatballs to the hot oil and turn them every few minutes, getting them lightly browned all around. Continue this for about 10 minutes.
  8. Remove the meatballs and place on paper towels for two minutes to remove excess oil. (I like using a cardboard box underneath, too.)
  9. Place on a baking sheet and bake for an additional 20 minutes to get a beautifully crispy outside, and a soft, chewy inside!

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Author: Balanced Bella

Hi, I'm Jaime and I am the recipe tester, photographer, and writer at balanced bella! All my recipes are vegan, gluten free, and 100% delicious!

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