At this point I own more vegan cookbooks than I could ever hope to use in my life – even if I made a new recipe every day, from now until I’m a hundred, weekends included. (The same goes for book-books, so there you go. If I have one addiction, it’s paper. And pizza. And ice cream. And dogs. So four. Four addictions.)
Zoey Sampson’s Vegan Athlete Cookbook is a freebie-for-review that I scored via Library Thing’s Member Giveaway program. (Free stuffs. Make that five addictions!) As per my SOP, the very first recipe I tried was pasta-related: namely, the Bean Ball Spaghetti (really rigatoni) with homemade sauce and store-bought garlic breadsticks.
These not-meatballs are a mix of beans (the recipe calls for pinto; naturally, pinto was the one single type o’ bean that I didn’t have in my cupboards, so I used a mix of light red and great northern), carrots, parsley, garlic, breadcrumbs, and spices. Mix the batter in a food processor, shape into little balls, and bake in the oven for twenty minutes. Pretty simple. If I could suggest one modification to the recipe, though, it’d be to process the wet ingredients first, then slowly add in the dry. My middle-of-the-line food processor struggled to mix everything at once; the batter’s just too durn thick. Or even mix in the dry ingredients by hand, come to think of it.
Also. After baking, Sampson directs you to transfer the balls to the sauce and simmer for ten minutes. I could tell just from gentle handling that the balls weren’t sturdy enough to hold together in sauce. (Not to mention, there were too many balls to fit in the pan! Somewhere in the order of 32 to 36. I kept count, and then promptly forgot. Sorry!) I threw half a dozen in with the sauce just to test my theory and, sure enough, they crumbled even under gentle handling. My advice? Make double the marinara sauce and serve the balls on the side, smothered in the stuff.
The verdict: it’s an okay recipe – the balls are tasty enough and easy to throw together – but not my favorite vegan meatball recipe of all time. I suspect that Shane will repurpose the leftovers into a burrito of some type. Stay tuned for breaking news.