Friday, May 04, 2007

Vegetarian Potluck. Sweet and Sour "Meat" Balls. Yum!

Tonight the older Sprouts and I went to a potluck/BBQ farewell dinner, for our Youth Pastor.

He and his wife are wonderful and supportive friends to our family, and they will be greatly missed - especially by my kids who participated in so many awesome youth-group activities of which he was a part of, or had organised and planned...

Why is this in my Vegetarian Family blog? Several reasons. First - the potluck was vegetarian because Pastor W. and his wife are both vegetarian (and major "extreme-sports" enthusiasts, both of which my kids think are totally cool!). Yay!

Everyone who came brought vegetarian food! SOOO cool! Lots of salads and fruit - I know there were some people there who really had to stretch their imaginations to come up with something animal-free, but that's OK. I won't fault them for lack of creativity. There were also a lot of amazing vegetarian dishes and stuff too! (and I even had plenty that was actually, or accidentally, vegan to choose from too!) which was so great!
Before dinner, Pastor W. gave a short thank-you and farewell speech which sortof turned into a sermon, (he's a pastor, after all!) but that was OK with all of us - he's incredible to listen to, and what he had to say really impressed me tonight.

(OK, if you're not a church-y type person, I understand and you can skip to the end here, because I may ramble a bit...)

  • We've heard it said that our bodies are a temple. This is actually something Paul said (1 Cor 3:16-17). A temple is a sanctuary or dwelling place for God, and if we want God in us, we need to take care of our bodies - watch what goes into our minds AND our bodies... He (the Pastor) went on to talk about keeping our lives clean and on the right track. He was of course talking to the kids about what they watched and listened to and not doing drugs, smoking and all that, but he also managed to get in a plug for vegetarianism, saying how much better he feels as a vegetarian.
Of course he said it better and much more interesting-ly. But all this in a short farewell talk! Yay.

The part about our bodies being a temple I liked especially though, even if I've heard it before. As a vegan, what I put into my body is such an important part of who I am and what I believe. I care a great deal about animals and how they are treated, but I am also interested in veganism for my health and because I care what goes into my body. Yes, there will be people who argue whether or not you're vegan if it's just about health - that's not what I'm getting at here - I just thought it was great to hear someone so many kids look up to and admire, casually integrate being vegetarian into his talk without being "preachy" or turning it into a religious thing...
So anyway, enough.
Here's what I brought:
Sweet and Sour Seitan Meatballs

2 cups cooked seitan - great way to use up whatever recipe you have!
3 slices bread made into breadcrumbs in food processor (about 2/3 cup)
1/4 cup green pepper, minced (in food processor is fine)
1/4 cup finely ground pecans
1/3 cup mushrooms, minced
1 medium onion, minced
1 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons ground flax mixed with 3 Tbsp. soymilk

Sweet and Sour Sauce:
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup white vinegar
3/4 cup apricot jam
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup minced onion
1 dash hot pepper sauce

Make meatballs:
Grind bread and seitan in food processor and put in mixing bowl. Place the minced green pepper, mushroom, onion, basil, nuts and oregano in the mixing bowl. Mix soymilk and flax into a goo and mix with other ingredients. It should hold together like firm playdough at this point - if needed adjust soymilk, or breadcrumbs or add a wee bit of gluten flour if you have it....

Next, take approximately 2 tablespoons of the seitan mixture and form it into balls. Place the balls on a platter. Fry the balls, several at a time, until brown and crispy on the outside. ***EDIT** (Or at this point, put in the oven and bake for 20 min. or so until firm.) Remove the balls and drain on paper towels. If you choose to bake them, keep an EYE on them - they can get VERY dry and hard quite quickly.
Do not put too many balls in the oil at one time, as it lowers the temperature of the oil and causes the balls to become soggy and fall apart. Continue until all the balls are done.
Place in a baking dish.
Make sauce:
Whisk together the vegetable oil, vinegar, apricot jam, ketchup, 1/4 cup onion, and hot pepper sauce. Pour over meatballs.

Bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, until meatballs are firm, and sauce is thick and bubbly.
(Mine got overdone in the picture above, but were still YUMMY!)

These were snorted down by everyone there, and I had so many requests for the recipe...


Urban Vegan said...

The recipe looks great, and I give your veggie pastor two thumbs up.

It's true what you said about it being a stretch for most folks to make vegetarian food. I was at an animal rights conference last weekend, and I was struck by how hard it was also for some vegetarians to make the transiition to vegan food. They felt being vegetarian was difficult, and yet I think being vegan is easy and wonderful. I know I live in a large city and like to cook--but I just love this choice and can't fathom that some people think giving up meat is hard. I man, therre's SO MUCH GOOD FOOD out there! ;)

Anonymous said...

How cool to be able to go to a potluck and actually be able to eat some of the food (that you didn't bring yourself).

By the way, I'm loving the scones you posted about earlier. I love love love scones -- have ever since I had the opportunity to go to England. I do, however, miss the clotted cream since going veg so I don't make them as often. Your scones look so decadent. I can wait to try your recipe. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Sorry - that should have read, can't wait to try them.

scottishvegan said...

That’s so cool that all the food at the pot luck was veggie! The meatballs look delicious!

Dori said...

Awesome potluck! I wouldn't consider myself a "churchy" type, but I seem to be there a whole lot. Unfortunately I am the only vegan (or even vegetarian for than matter) I know there. I love the look of your meetballs, I have made something called neat-balls from a Bryanna recipe and loved them. Your kids youth pastor sounds wonderful, I am sure they will miss him.

Melody Polakow said...

How cool about your pastor.

So, if I were to bake these balls, would I bake them in the sauce raw or what? Should I add more veggies to up the moisture content? They looks delicious.

Veg-a-Nut said...

What an awesome potluck. Your sweet and sour meatballs look Heavenly. I need to make some seitan and create your lovelies!

Anonymous said...

Great pastor!!

the meatballs looks great!

Julia said...

That looks so good! I'm going to have to try some.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I can't *wait* to make these meatballs! (Actually, I'll wait, because I've already planned my menus for the month, but still, YUM.)