Mock Spaghetti and Meatballs
Last week, I was craving spaghetti and meatballs, of all things! Since I don’t eat either meat or wheat, I knew this was going to require a hefty dose of creativity on my part. Fortunately, the results were delicious, yielding several ideas I will share with you today. The idea for the meatballs comes from a friend who is a vegan, but she used bread crumbs. I simply swapped gluten free rolled oats as my binder to make them gluten free. For spaghetti, I used the black bean noodles in a pouch my supermarket carries, and is good with pesto or red sauce. Do you know about this product?
When that was all gone, I turned to spaghetti squash, which I love with red sauce, but also very good with pesto and anything you want to put on top: mushrooms, broccoli, spinach, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, ground flax seeds, and so on.
At a recent family dinner to celebrate our son David’s 21st birthday, our sons loved the spaghetti squash with red sauce. They didn’t realize it was a vegetable. I suggested they try it the next time with the pesto I keep making from the basil in our garden. David must have remembered that I said basil pesto was excellent on spaghetti squash, because yesterday he was looking for it in the refrigerator, and really liked it on the spaghetti squash. So happy this wonderful new food is now popular in my house.
The meatballs were too bland the first time around, so I adjusted the seasoning to improve them. Then again, mushrooms, lentils, and oatmeal have no taste without adding herbs, but this was quickly corrected with a bit of this and a shpritz of that. Once corrected, my mock spaghetti and mock meatballs were tasty, filling, and best of all, satisfied my desire for this hearty summertime treat. Now I can really say Betayavon! Eat Hearty!
- 8 oz. Mushrooms
- 1/2 cup Gluten Free Rolled Oats
- 1/2 cup Brown Lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup Water
- 2 Bay leaves
- 4 Cloves Garlic
- 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup Red Wine
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1 Tablespoon Wheat Free Tamari or Liquid Aminos
- 2-3 Teaspoons of whatever fresh or dried Italian Herbs you like: suggested are basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Small cast Iron pot with lid
- Food Processor
- Large Cast Iron Pan
- Large Spoon for stirring
- Cutting Board and knife
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Roasting Pan
Into a small pan, place lentils, water, and bay leaves, and bring to a boil. Lower the light and simmer for 9-10 minutes, and remove from heat when the lentils are still a little bit firm, in other words- “mostly cooked”. You actually want to stop them from becoming fully cooked. Drain the lentils so they’ll cool slightly. That’s important, as you don’t want them to get mushy. I’ve done that before and regretted it! Throw away the bay leaves.
Into the food processor, add the mushrooms, garlic cloves, chopped herbs, and the cooled cooked lentils. Pulse until coarsely chopped. In your skilled, heat the oil; then add the mushroom and lentil mixture, the red wine and vegetable broth, tamari, and salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer and stir constantly, until all the moisture evaporates. At this point, you should taste the mixture, and readjust the seasonings to suit your taste. Remove from the heat. Allow the mixture to cool.
Preheat oven to 350. Once the mixture is cool enough to handle, shape into meatballs, either 6 large or 12 small. My friend who shared this recipe with me places her meatballs in a greased mini muffin tin that’s been sprayed with no-stick spray, but I just formed the meatballs and put them on a sprayed roasting pan. If the mixture is for some reason too loose or soft to work with, you can either add some coconut or brown rice flour (or any gluten free flour your like or oat bran), or just add a bit of cornmeal to make the mixture firm enough to hold together and form your meatballs. Bake about 45 minutes, until golden brown.