Vegan Italian Seitan Meatballs

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Vegan Italian Seitan Meatballs

Juicy, tender, flavourful, perfect for enjoying as an appetizer with a dipping sauce and even better for topping on pasta. Easy to make and can be prepared ahead of time or frozen for later.
My Notes:
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Meal Type: Appetizer, dinner, Sides
Keyword: Italian, meatballs, seitan
Special: Freezer-Friendly, Oil-Free, Seasonal (Cold Weather), Soy-Free, Vegan Meat
Tool: Food Processor, Stove
Ingredient: Seitan, Tomatoes
Servings: 4 (makes about 20 meatballs)
Calories: 343kcal
Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup(s) sun-dried tomatoes (the kind in oil)
  • 1/2 cup(s) walnuts
  • 1 1/4 cup(s) vital wheat gluten (there is no substitution for this)
  • 1 cup(s) cooked lentils (I used canned)
  • 6 tablespoon(s) water
  • 2 tablespoon(s) soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon(s) nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon(s) dried basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon(s) garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) black pepper
Instructions
To prepare the vegan meatballs:
  • Add the sun-dried tomatoes and walnuts to a food processor and pulse until you reach a paste-like texture. Add all the remaining ingredients to the food processor and pulse, stopping to scrape the sides as needed until combined into a crumbly dough.
  • Pinch off some of the dough and roll into a vegan meatball about the size of a golf ball and set aside on a plate or dish. Repeat until all the dough is used up and you have made about 20 meatballs.
  • Add several inches of water to a large pot with a steamer basket and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the meatballs to the steamer basket, cover and steam for 25 minutes, gently turning the meatballs halfway through. The meatballs will expand a bit when they steam. Once the steaming is done, you can either prepare them right away (see below), or allow them to cool completely and store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for later.
To serve:
  • Steaming the seitan is what gives it the perfect texture. Once they are steamed you can basically treat them as if they were raw meatballs and pan-fry them before serving.
    To do this add 1 tablespoon of oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the meatballs and fry a couple of minutes per side, turning as needed until they are golden all over and heated through. Serve with dipping sauce, add to a tomato sauce, or enjoy them any way you please.
Notes
Vital wheat gluten is essential to this recipe, and there is no substitute. Therefore this recipe cannot be made gluten-free. For a vegan gluten-free meatball recipe try my bean ball recipe in Fuss-Free Vegan which has a gluten-free option.
Steaming tips: you need to steam the vegan meatballs before using them. I recommend getting a steamer pot if you plan to make seitan often, or you can use a DIY method if you do not have a steamer.
Cleaning tips: vital wheat gluten is very sticky and can destroy dish brushes and cloths. So what I like to do is save old clothes, sheets, or towels that are too shabby to donate, and cut them into rags. I use these rags to clean up after preparing a seitan recipe and discard the rag once finished.
To make vegan meatballs oil-free: sub the sun-dried tomatoes in oil, for the air-packed sun-dried tomatoes. Note that the walnut/ sun-dried tomato mixture will be more like a fine crumble in texture instead of a paste. Then simply fry them without oil in a non-stick pan, adding a little water or broth if needed. Note: I tried baking the vegan meatballs but this just made them dry and hard so I do not recommend this.
To substitute walnuts: I love walnuts for their flavour in this recipe but you could substitute them for any nut or seed such as pecans, cashews, pumpkin seeds, or sunflower seeds.
Soy-Free: for soy-free, substitute a soy sauce for a soy-free option such as coconut aminos.
Nutrition
Serving: 1(1/4 of the recipe, about 5 meatballs) | Calories: 343kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 540mg | Potassium: 728mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 80IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 6mg
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