Vegan Jalapeño Meatballs

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These spicy little beauties are a great way to elevate the classic go-to vegan dinner of pasta and tomato sauce.  Crisp on the outside and yielding on the inside, they’re packed with flavour and totally addictive.  (Try not to eat them all out of the pan before they hit the table!)

I’ve been wanting to try making (no)meatballs for a while now.  Since I stopped adding it to Mexican dishes, the Yves Meatless Ground Round in my freezer has been looking lonely.  So, after reading up a bit on vegan and nonvegan meatball recipes, I got a bit of a sense of the basics and decided to give it a try.  The jalapeño on my windowsill begged to be included, and I can never say no to hot peppers.

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Yields 4 servings

  •  1 tablespoon ground flax + 3 tablespoons hot water
  • ½ large Vidalia onion, finely chopped
  • Cooking oil (I use canola)
  • 1 good-sized jalapeño pepper (see below for prep)
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 package veggie ground round (I like Yves)
  • 1 tablespoon each dried basil and oregano
  • ¼-1/3 cup breadcrumbs (if you don’t have any on hand, toast a bread heel then whir it in the food processor)
  • ¾ tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the flax and water to make a flax egg; give it a stir and let it sit for a few minutes to gel.

Heat some oil over medium heat in a skillet and add the onion.  Let it get cooking while you finely chop the jalapeno.  If you’re a bit hesistant about spicy food, remove the seeds and membranes and discard, keeping only the green flesh.  For a spicier dish, keep the seeds and membranes and chop the whole thing.  Be careful to avoid touching any cut surfaces with your fingers.  Add the jalapeno and the garlic to the pan.  Stir every minute or two until the onion is translucent and very soft, then remove from heat.

Crumble the ground round into a medium-sized bowl.  Add the onion mixture (making sure it’s cool enough to handle) and all other ingredients, starting with a ¼ cup breadcrumbs and adding a bit more if needed.  Mix well with your hands, really smushing it all together.

When forming the balls, keep in mind that small is better.  In order to ensure to that they cook through, keep them to about inch in diameter.  I used a ½ tablespoon hemispherical spoon to form them and it worked well.  Make sure the balls are well formed and packed.

Heat the pan back up to med-low heat and add a generous amount of cooking oil.  Add the meatballs.  The key to cooking them evenly is frequently shaking the pan to roll them around (if they aren’t rolling adequately, gently turn them with a rubber spatula).  They need to cook slowly to firm up the centre; at least 15 minutes.  When they are nicely browned on all sides, they should be done.

Serve with pasta and tomato sauce, or skip the pasta and just dip them in marinara or hot sauce.

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4 thoughts on “Vegan Jalapeño Meatballs

    • Thank you! Real ground round is meat; veggie ground round is a soy-based product that looks like cooked ground beef. You can find it in pretty much any grocery, in the section with the tofu and veggie dogs.

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