Monday, March 25, 2013

Meatless Monday - Hearty "Meat"Ball Soup With Beans

Introducing Meatless Monday
and the first recipe in a series: Hearty “Meat”ball Soup

This seems like a lot of ingredients but it reheats well as a healthy leftover lunch, and is very colorful and tasty. Makes 17 soy based "meat"balls in a hearty soup base... and you will not be able to taste the difference between ground beef, or poultry and this soy based product. I have used this recipe for a year now using lean ground beef and ground poultry, which incidentally are also delicious. Serve with a baguette or your favorite al dente pasta.

The Ingredients
You will need :
3 sticks of celery, 2 or 3 carrots, 8 mushrooms, 1/4 cup finely, chopped small sweet onion, 1 teaspoon minced garlic and parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, two cans of cannellini  beans, 1/2 cup romano or parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup of italian breadcrumbs, 3 cups spinach leaves, one egg and 14 oz package of a meat substitute like “Gimme Lean”  - which has 7grams of protein and 0 cholesterol. You also need 3 vegetarian bullion cubes, 2 tablespoons of sundried tomato pesto, and about 40 oz of water. I use Grapeseed oil to fry the meatballs and veggies but Canola will work too.

Beat egg and mix the “Gimme Lean” package with the egg, breadcrumbs, tomato pesto, romano or parmesan cheese, garlic, and some salt and pepper and 3 tablespoons of water. Maybe only 1/4 teaspoon salt if you are watching your sodium count. Then add 1/4 cup finely chopped onion, and dice 4 mushrooms (button, portabella etc.) until they begin to liquefy under the knife. Leave in the fridge for an hour for the flavors to incorporate. While you're waiting, scrub, peel and chop the carrots and celery into bite size pieces and set aside.

After an hour roll your “meat” ball mixture into 1 inch rounds, and slowly heat a large frying pan or stockpot up with enough oil to lightly cover the bottom. Gently fry the meatballs 4 mins each side with a lid on until lightly browned.  Remove from pan and side aside. Add more grapeseed oil and saute chopped celery and carrots until softened 8 to 12 minutes. Now add the spinach until it wilts, 4 -6 minutes. Set the pan on low and add 40 oz vegetarian stock, the drained cans of cannellini and the "meat"balls. I add another teaspoon of ground black pepper at this point, but your choice. Put a lid on the pan and let it simmer....I use setting 2. Slice 4 mushrooms and let them float on the top.

This is what the spinach looks like when its wilting

Finished meal, appertizer or delicious!

Please let me know if you try this recipe and what your rating is or your suggested improvements are. Thanks!

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