Tofu un-meatballs were a favorite of my weight-loss clients when I owned and operated Nutrition Learning Centers in Cedarhurst, Long Island (New York) in the mid 1980s. The center was a counseling center for weight loss and medical nutrition with cooking classes and a health food store. It was a one-of-a-kind concept located in the Cedarhurst Center and it was definitely a head of its time. The recipe has been modified over the years but still remains a favorite – even for the most discerning meatball lover!
- Tofu or bean curd, is a popular food derived from soy milk. Soy milk is made by soaking and pressing soybeans in water. Tofu is made by curdling soy milk and then pressing it into a solid block and cooling it. The process is similar to making traditional dairy cheese – curdling and solidifying milk.
- Always choose organic tofu to ensure that the soybeans are not genetically modified. Soybeans are the second-largest US crop after corn. More than 90 percent of the soybeans grown in the US are genetically engineered to withstand herbicides. Organic production accounts for less than 1 percent of total soybean acreage. (The remaining 9 percent are conventionally grown, but not genetically modified.)
- Tofu is naturally gluten-free, low calorie and contains no cholesterol because it is plant-based. It is an excellent source of heart-healthy complete protein, iron and calcium. It’s a staple in vegetarian and vegan diets.
- Tofu is a healthy and wholesome food and has been part of the Asian diet for thousands of years.
Layne’s Tofu Un-Meatballs
Makes 20 un-meatballs, serves 4
Choose Organic Ingredients When Available:
- 2 tablespoons cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup onion, finely diced
- 2 cups (4 ounces) mushrooms, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 (14-ounce) package organic extra firm tofu,well-drained and crumbled
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon Italian parsley, finely chopped
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- Non-stick olive oil cooking spray
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).
In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Raise the heat to high and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms have given off their juices and are lightly caramelized, about 4 to 5 minutes.
Transfer the vegetables to the bowl of a food processor. Add the tofu, egg and salt and pulse to combine. Add the breadcrumbs and parsley and pulse to combine again. Scrape the mixture into a bowl and season with plenty of freshly ground black pepper.
Lightly coat a large baking sheet with non stick cooking spray and set aside. Spread the whole-wheat flour on a large plate. Moisten your hands with water and form the tofu mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls. Lightly coat the balls in flour and evenly space them on the baking sheet. Lightly spray tofu un-meatballs with olive oil cooking spray. Bake 40 minutes, turning about halfway through. (If un-meatballs become too brown, tent with foil.)
Mangia with whole-wheat pasta, veggies and your favorite tomato sauce! Buon Appetito!
Nutrition Facts per un-meatball (39 grams): 50 calories, 2.6 grams fat, 9 mg cholesterol, 63 mg sodium, 66 mg potassium, 4.4 grams total carbohydrates, 1 gram dietary fiber, 2.7 grams protein.
Those who eat pasta are happy and healthy! Please read and enjoy my award-winning diet, lifestyle and cookbook – Beyond The Mediterranean Diet: European Secrets Of The Super-Healthy.
Thank you Talia Joffe, nutrition intern for being an awesome recipe-tester!