Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It's 'Chick' to have Balls

I used to think that meatballs were such a childish dish. That's weird, because growing up, we never had them. It wasn't until my later years that I started to get into balls. That sounded a little off. In my early 20's I became a fan of spaghetti and meatballs or a meatball sub. Once, we went to well known Italian restaurant in De Pere, Pasquale's and I ate a whole frickin' meatball sub. Yes, that is embarrassing on multiple levels...

As a vegan, I love making 'balls'. I don't care for any pre-packaged fake meat of any kind. There are way too many chemicals, extra packaging and aren't that nutritious. If I have a craving for a bean burger or whatever, I'll make it from scratch. The only thing that I'm not sold on is wheat gluten. Most home made recipes call for a little or a lot of it. I can't tell if the strings of wheat gluten make me feel light headed when I'm mixing it or if I get light headed from eating it. Sometimes I feel like I'm totally buzzed after having just a bit of seitan. It's hard for me to tell if I like it or not...

Anyway, I bought some chick peas to make falafel this weekend. I didn't get around to it and after thinking about it, falafel is a lot similar to an Italian meat ball. Just with chickpeas, right? Right! And I made it work!

We had a bunch of leftover vegetables that I wanted to use up in a pasta dish and rolled out some 'chickie' balls. These gluten free and soy free balls will only make you smile. They're easy to make, easy to clean up and pack a bunch of flavor. The sunflower seeds add a nice ground meat-like texture that's really filling, and not too heavy.

Chickie Balls
1 cup chic peas
1/4 cup ground sunflower seeds
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons chic pea flower
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano and basil
1 1/2 dried parsley
salt n' pep

In a food processor process the sunflowers until a few chunks remain. Remove from the processor and set aside in a bowl. Next, process the chic peas with about 1/4 cup of water until smooth. It's okay if there are some bigger pieces, it helps to add a nice texture. Scoop the chic peas out of the processor and mix with the sunflower seeds and balsamic vinegar. Stir in the spices and chic pea flower. Add enough flower so when you form the balls they stay together and are not too crumbly. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 until crisp.

These would be pretty tasty in a sandwich, too. Enjoy!

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