Spaghetti and “Meat” Balls

March 19th, 2015 12:09 pm by Kelly Garbato

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You guys, can you believe this is my first and only post titled “Spaghetti and Meat Balls”? NEITHER CAN I.

Anyway. This is probably the last recipe I’ll try before reviewing Sharon Gannon’s Simple Recipes for Joy. I think the count’s up to eleven now, which is good enough for this girl.

So. Spaghetti and “Meat” Balls. Now you know I’m a rather rigorous judge when it comes to pasta dishes, since red sauce basically pumps through my veins. And I’ve had some frustrating run-ins with sketchy faux meatball recipes, so there’s that.

While these meatballs didn’t exactly come together as expected – the directions were a little confusing; the batter, super-mushy – I was able to salvage them with a few tweaks.

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First things first. What, pray tell, is “raw oatmeal”? I assume Garron means uncooked oats, but why not just say that? “Rolled oats.” “Quick oats.” Easy peasy and clear as day. Seriously, I’ve never heard that term before!

Also, she calls for 1/2 cup each cooked brown rice and cooked green lentils, rather than giving us the conversion for the dry goods – you know, the stuff that’s in our cabinets!

Plus the terminology always throws me off a bit – is that 1/2 cup dry lentils, cooked or 1/2 cup lentils, post-cooking? I assumed the former, but prepared for the latter, just in case – ’tis better to have extras than not enough.

Fwiw, 1/4 cup dry lentils = 1/2 cup cooked lentils; same for rice. But I used 1/2 cup dry goods, so I ended up with a cup each of cooked lentils and rice.

Still with me?

I started by adding 1/2 cup cooked rice and lentils to the batter, but after I processed it, it was super-mushy anyway. So I said what the hell and added the rest. Then I mixed in extra quick oats, flour, and nutritional yeast until the batter was dry enough to handle. It was actually pretty tasty, though I suspect that the flavor was diluted a bit by the extra volume of lentils and rice.

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Luckily, the meatballs baked up quite nicely, without any of the crumbling that I usually see. Overall, I’d call that a success.

The recipe also includes a homemade pasta sauce, which is serviceable but nothing special: tomatoes, garlic, spices. (The mushrooms? They were my one and only added flair.) But hey, you try to compete with the master, you’re gonna get served.

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Not that I’m complaining; even the worst pasta sauce is still pasta sauce.

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