You might don’t know that, but spaghetti with meatballs are rare in Italy. They were “created” by Italian immigrants in the US in the early 20th century. In Brazil they are popular too, maybe not that much as they are in the US, but still. But being married with an Italian made me think that eating spaghetti with meatballs is weird so I stayed more than 6 years avoiding trying the vegan version of this dish. But last time we went to Italy, my sister-in-law cooked spaghetti with meatballs so I felt free to try (you know, it was kind of an authentic Italian “bless”!).
A few weeks ago, in the middle of the craziness I was going through to write my thesis, I found time to cook vegan meatballs. I wanted to make them using texturized vegetable protein (TVP) and couldn’t find any recipe in my cookbooks (found some great ones with lentils). So I decided to do at my own, remembering what I’ve used before as ingredients to make TVP burgers.
We didn’t have spaghetti at home that day so we ate the meatballs with other pasta, but it was good the same!
2 cup small TVP
1 vegetable stock cube
1 shopped onion
1 cup white flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
salt and pepper (as you like it)
Dissolve the stock cube in hot water and put the TVP to hydrogenate (it’s is important to do this with hot water). I’ve learned that dissolving the stock cube in the water and using it to hydrogenate the TVP gives it more flavour. Let it hydrogenate for at least 20 minutes. Dry it and put the TVP in a bawl. Mix the onion and glove with TVP. Add the oil and salt and pepper. Start adding the flour in small amounts and mix everything using your hands. Keep adding flour and mixing until you have a good texture to make the balls with your hands. Instead of covering the meatballs with bread crumbs before frying them I used nutritional yeast and it worked pretty well. Fry in a hot non-stick pan and fry it for 3 or 4 minutes (you shouldn’t need more oil to do that). Take the meatballs to the oven for an additional 10 minutes to ensure they’re thoroughly cooked. Add the meatballs to your favourite tomato sauce recipe (I just used a ready to go one this time) and serve with pasta (spaghetti would be the right one!)