Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Recipes for Remarkable Vegan Meatballs

Vegan, Plant-based Meatball Recipes
Remarkable Vegan Meatballs, Marinara Sauce, and Fusilli from Nancy Andres

I've had the urge to create a plant-based whole food recipe for vegan meatballs, scrumptious enough for all to love. To most of us, as we age, it does dawn on us that we could be eating healthier. Cutting down on processed, cholesterol laden foods is a smart health decision.

Post updated 5/15/2023

See what I discovered during my hands on food testing and cooking experiments, cookbook investigation, and research on the web.






See the Results in a Vegan Meatball Roundup Post to Live For! 

Here's My Recipe...I call it 

Remarkable Vegan Meatballs

This recipe is economical, and made from items most of us already have in the pantry or refrigerator. 

It's adaptable. Serve vegan meatballs for brunch, lunch, or dinner.  Top mashed cauliflower, spaghetti, shells, linguini, or other pasta with vegan meatballs. Savor the flavor in a hoagie, pita, or in a wrap. 

Serve veggie meatballs on a bed of sautéed broccoli or spinach, or top quinoa, barley, or mashed potatoes with vegan meatballs and mushroom gravy. All these combinations are yummy. 

So let's give a cheer for 

Remarkable Vegan Meatballs


½ cup pre-cooked brown rice (any variety will do)

1 can (about 12 oz.) lentils drained

1 yellow onion chopped

4 cloves garlic minced

8 oz. fresh white or baby bella mushrooms cleaned and chopped

1 flax egg: In a small bowl combine 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon ground flaxseeds. Mix with ¼ cup water. Let flax egg mixture sit until thick and viscous about 5-10 minutes before following directions in step 4 below

2 slices of whole grain bread for bread crumbs-any type as long as it equals about 1 cup ground bread crumbs 

Salt and pepper to taste

pinch of fresh basil, oregano, thyme, parsley, rosemary chopped fine or 2 teaspoons dried Italian Herb Blend

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1 jar of your favorite Marinara Sauce (25 oz.) or homemade

What to do:

1. Put the oven rack in the middle slot of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. While oven heats...

1. Clean and prep onion, garlic, mushrooms. Place a drop of oil in a sauté pan and brown the onion for a few moments (for oil free version use water or veggie broth instead of oil). 

Then add garlic and do the same. Add chopped mushrooms and cook until all are soft and thoroughly cooked (about ten minutes).

2. While that cooks, get a large mixing bowl and mix (mash) the brown rice and drained lentils together. Add whole grain bread crumbs and combine. 

3. Use a slotted spoon to transfer onion, garlic, and mushrooms from sauté pan to mixing bowl. Reserve mushroom cooking liquid to add to soup, chili, or other dish.

4. Add flax egg and seasoning to mixing bowl.  Combine all thoroughly. This flax egg mixture is the best I've ever tried. The veggie balls bind well and do not crumble. If you feel mixture is too dry and crumbles, add a drop or two of water.

5. Shape mixture into bite size veggie balls. Place them on a large ungreased baking sheet and put in the oven. Cook vegan meatballs for approximately 30 minutes. You'll know they are ready, when they look and feel firm (squeeze one) and are slightly browned. 

Veg Meatballs on Tray in Oven

6. Meanwhile, empty the jar of marinara into a medium size sauce pan and simmer covered on stove top until pasta and meatballs cook. 

7. In a pasta pot boil the pasta of your choice (cook according to package directions). When done drain.

8. Top each serving of pasta with a ladle or two of sauce and two or three veggie balls apiece. Garnish with fresh clipped parsley or use the vegan cheese recipe below. Any extra veggie balls can be placed in the extra sauce and refrigerated. This recipe will make a dozen vegan meatballs and serves 4.

To shake things up, top garlicky vegan mashed cauliflower with meatballs or serve spaghetti squash as a base instead of pasta. 

How to Use Spaghetti Squash instead of Pasta
Plant-based spaghetti squash marinara with tossed salad

Try this fabulous recipe from Kelly, a Transformational Health Coach and holistic practitioner who blogs at Tasting Page. See
Vegan Lentil Mushroom Meatballs on a bed of lettuce now.

Vegan Lentil Mushroom Meatballs - a tasty meat-less meal filled with veggies - Tasting Page

For another slant see this recipe. It features Bulgur wheat and cauliflower for Vegan Italian Meatballs from Chuck Underwood. He's the blogger at Brand New Vegan, and he aims to make switching to plant-based eating as easy as possible. This is a link to his recipe for Vegan Parmesan.

vegan italian meatballs
Vegan Italian Meatballs from Chuck Underwood

Not sure what Bulgur wheat is? See more at health advantages of eating Bulgur Wheat from Dr. Axe.

Want to make a more hearty tomato sauce? 

Add veggies to the sauce. If you include carrots, peas or legumes, and edamame to tomato sauce they increase the amount of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and plant-based protein you are eating. 

For the final recipe in my vegan meatball roundup...

Nora Taylor shares her version of Spaghetti and Easy Vegan Meatballs. She's the blogger at Nora Cooks, and she uses chickpeas to give vegan meatballs a satisfying, comforting flavor. 

vegan meatball on a fork
Photo Nora Taylor at Nora Cooks

Isn't it surprising that vegan meatballs can be made in so many taste tempting ways? 

Tip: Buying in-season, locally grown produce is an easy way to select fruits and veggies that are loaded with eye-appeal, freshness, and often on sale. Since locally grown means items aren't transported long distances to get to your table, it costs less and tastes better. It's alive with goodness.

Do you serve meatless meals more often than you once did? The number of people who are switching over is mounting. Why not join the crowd?

After your food shopping run, have fun cooking up some vegan meatballs. They are healthy, colorful, easy to make, and delicious.

Invite your partner, friends, and family to join the cooking party. Perhaps it will turn into a vegan meatball marathon.

Before you go, please comment in the space provided below. 

Which recipes sound and look good to you? 

No links in comments please, as I won't be able to publish them that way. 

Please share a link to this post on social media and credit this blog.

See the latest about wellness by visiting again. Posts are published on the 1st and 15th of each month. 

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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Top Reasons to Visit Tohono Chul Gardens

Are you traveling to Tucson for business or pleasure or are you a local who wants to refresh? A simple way to shed stress from body and mind is to visit Tohono Chul Gardens, Galleries, and Bistro.

This 49 acre urban park is a sensory treat. Rest your weary eyes and spirit on a wide array of colorful flowers, interesting succulents, drought resistant cacti, and other native or adaptive plants that grow well in the southwestern American terrain. 

See why Travel + Leisure named Tohono Chul "One of the World's Great Botanical Gardens" and National Geographic called it "One of the Top 22 Secret Gardens in the U.S. and Canada."

 Top Reasons to Visit Tohono Chul Gardens

1.  Fresh water, vegetation, and food supply attracts wildlife to the area. Reptiles and mammals from Gila monsters and rabbits to snakes, gray fox, and squirrels make their home here.

2. One hundred and forty species of birds are residents, including those who are seasonal visitors.  Sit in the shade and be still. Listen for the call of a mourning dove or spot a graceful blue heron. 

Many birds flit from tree to tree. Take a docent-guided or self-directed tour, whichever you prefer to find out more.

3. The gardens are a haven for butterflies. Some of them are permanent residents and others are seasonal. Monarchs use Tohono Chul as a Waystation. They breed and feed in a protected area, and then migrate to other climes. 

4. Love hummingbirds? This is a great place to see them. I snapped a shot of one and it appears at the top of this post. The photo is attached to an orange background with a green and white border. 

Hummingbirds are magnetized by the bright colors of yellow, pink, purple, and orange, although the color they love best is red. Tohono Chul cultivates salvia, desert honeysuckle, desert willow, and other hummingbird friendly plants including Firecracker penstemon

As you walk Tohono Chul's paths and trails don't forget to inhale deeply. The aroma of flowering vegetation is a healthy way to get intoxicated.

5. Walk at a lively pace through the various gardens. This will  help get your blood pumping, allows your body to absorb vitamin D from sunlight, and connects you to nature's healing vibes.

Most paths and trails are wheelchair accessible and Tohono Chul is open every day but July 4, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years' Day. 

Smoking is not permitted anywhere on the grounds, and air smells fresh and sweet wherever you stroll.

One day when there is free admission is May 5th, 2019 for Cinco de Mayo. Authentic Mexican food demos, music, arts, and culture combine to make this an inexpensive way to participate in a lively celebration. 

6. Tohono Chul is a wonderful place for kids and grandkids to explore. Children, parents, and grandparents delight in the scenery. Kids can wade in a play stream, and all of us enjoy being immersed in nature.

7. Tohono Chul is a backdrop for special events and concerts outdoors. For example, I enjoyed a steel drum concert held in the performance garden on Easter Sunday. 

Tohono Chul Gardens is located at 7366 N. Paseo Del Norte, Tucson, AZ 85704. Call 520-742-6456 or see upcoming events on the Tohono Chul Website. Keep this in mind. On Mother's Day there's free admission for mothers and grandmothers.

8. What would an outing be, without refreshments? Tohono Chul has that base covered with brunch at the Garden Bistro

There's even a back patio where you can dine al fresco. While you're at it, admire the art work displayed on the walls, in galleries, and see sculptures that are displayed in the gardens.

If you prefer to eat your meal after the visit, whip up yummy taco and salsa recipes for Mother's Day Brunch, Cinco de Mayo, or any time you crave a south of the border treat.

Water features in several areas of Tohono Chul gardens helps deflect the heat created by the desert sun. In all seasons it's important to stay hydrated, wear a hat, and apply sunscreen.

The words "tohono chul" translates to "desert corner," and comes from the language of the Tohono O'odham, the indigenous people of southern Arizona.  I invite you to travel to this tranquil desert corner to experience nature's bounty.

Please comment below in the space provided, and don't add your link in it. I won't be able to publish it that way.

Are your curious about the southwestern Sonoran Desert flora and fauna? What animal or plant species would you like to see up close and personal?

Have you visited Tohono Chul Gardens? If so what did you enjoy? 

If not, what would be your first stop there?  

Please like and re-share this post on social media. Thanks for your visit and I suggest you...

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