meatless monday: red bean meatballs
I have no idea what to call a meatball with no meat in it. Veggie balls? That doesn’t seem right. Bean balls? Doesn’t sound appetizing. We’ll stick to meatballs. Everyone gets it.
With a minor tweak to La Cucina Italiana’s original recipe, this became our meatless monday dish. While I really enjoyed the “meatballs”, I can easily say that I could’ve done without the spicy sauce. In the future, I might go with a simple spicy tomato sauce.
The original recipe calls for pancetta which we left out given the whole “meatless” thing, but I could see how something smoky would add to the dish.
Serve with a side of baked rosemary polenta, it complemented the dish nicely.
red bean meatballs in a spicy sauce
adapted from La Cucina Italiana
- 4 oz tofu, cut into 1/4-inch dice lightly seasoned with cayenne pepper (recipe calls for 7 oz pancetta)
- 1 15-oz can red beans, well rinsed and drained
- 1 large egg white
- 1/2 cup semolina flour
- 1 large whole egg
- 3-4 tbsp canola oil
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1/2 red bell pepper, cored and finely chopped (I used sun-dried tomatoes for a lack of pepper, not recommended)
- 1/2 celery rib, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 fresh chile peppers, preferably arbol, but I used peperoncini
- 1 tsp tomato paste
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
1. In a small saucepan combine vegetable broth, bell pepper, celery, 3 tablespoons olive oil, chile peppers, tomato paste, garlic and 1/8 teaspoon salt.
2 Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
3. Remove and discard garlic; remove sauce from heat.
1. Brown tofu (or pancetta) in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, about 8 minutes. (Drain fat is using pancetta).
2. In a food processor, pulse the beans until chopped; do not puree them into a paste. One or two pulses should do it.
3. You don’t want to puree the beans, you want them very coarsely chopped.
4. Transfer to a large bowl. Add pancetta, remaining tablespoon olive oil, egg white and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
5. Using wet hands, blend until just combined well (do not overmix).
6. Form 1-tablespoon portions into 30 (1-inch) balls.
7. Put flour in a shallow bowl. Lightly beat whole egg in another shallow bowl.
8. Dip 1 ball into egg, letting excess drip off, then dredge in flour to lightly coat. Transfer to prepared baking sheet.
9. Repeat with remaining balls.
10. Return your sauce to a low heat.
11. In a large saucepan, heat canola oil over medium-high heat. Fry balls, in 2 batches, turning, until a dark golden crust has formed on the outside, about 3 minutes per batch.
12. Serve with sauce, which should now be warm again.