This seriously might be the BEST thing I have made to date. Seriously. We are now officially addicted to these meatballs to the point where my husband is asking for meatball sandwiches for breakfast. I use fresh handmade tempeh by Barry’s Tempeh which is made in Brooklyn and my own breadcrumbs.
I know a lot of you can’t get fresh tempeh so I cannot vouch for how good this recipe will be with store bought tempeh but if you are going to try it, use Soy Boy tempeh.
I am indebted to Isa Moskowitz and her book, Isa Does It! for the initial tempeh cooking method. But the rest of my recipe diverges from hers. I have a two step process with these meatballs which I believe ensures max flavor. First, after assembly, I bake them and then when we are ready to eat them, I heat them up in my cast iron skillet with a little oil.
Also, as you can see in the picture, we are not a drown-our-meatballs-with-sauce kind of family but feel free to dump as much sauce over your meatballs as you wish to! Or make meatball heroes with sauce or sandwiches with ketchup. Whatever works!
Note: If you don’t feel like sautéing onions and garlic, you can use a teaspoon each onion and garlic powder. Add more, to taste. Also, add a flax egg to moisten the mixture (1 tablespoon of ground flax + 3 tablespoons water.)
Tempeh Meatballs, makes 24 – 30 *
1 lb. soy tempeh
1 cup of water
1 tablespoon tamari
1 small onion
1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon miso
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (oregano + marjoram + thyme + basil + rosemary + sage)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (nooch)
1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley, optional
Break up the tempeh in crumbles. They don’t have to be too fine, just so that the block is broken up. Add to a pot along with the water and tamari. Mix it all together to try to coat the tempeh with the tamari. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook until the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Every few minutes go in with a wooden spoon and break the tempeh up even more.
Let the tempeh sit and cool. In the meantime, dice an onion into a small dice and mince the garlic. Place in a pan and water or oil sauté until soft.
In a small bowl, mix together the miso and tomato paste. Add it to the tempeh along with the onions and garlic, the Italian seasoning, salt, breadcrumbs, nooch and parsley if using. Mix well.
Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form balls by really packing the mixture together, rolling the mixture between your palms.
Place the meatballs on the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely.
At this point, you can store in the refrigerator and/or the freezer. When ready to serve, heat a small amount of high heat oil on a cast iron skillet. If you don’t have one, a nonstick pan will do. Once the oil is hot, add the balls and roll them around coating the whole ball with oil. Cook for a few minutes until heated through.
If you are making a big bowl o’ spaghetti and sauce, get it ready before the balls are ready and then serve as pictured. Or toast the bread or hero and pile the meatballs in. Enjoy!