or comfort food survives a veggie conversion
I miss meat. I dream of steaks and ribs and yes - even meatloaf - these days. For the past year or so I have been converted, against my will, to vegetarian. Turns out that pregnancy can do weird things to your body, and they don't all resolve postpartum. But our sweet baby girl is well worth the sacrifice, even if I have visions of meatballs instead of gumdrops dancing through my head at night. But that is getting a bit off track. The point is, and I do have one, that most of my comfort food loves involve meat of some sort. I have recently started coming to terms with the fact that I am now "meat free" for the most part and that puts forth the urgent matter of where will I get my comfort food??? You can only eat so much macaroni and cheese... And since my body was not thrilled with soy substitutes I have moved on to the arena of the legume. It is a scary world to some I know, it was not all sunshine and lollipops in my mind as I approached it, and even though I have only tested the waters here with lentils - so far they seem like a fair alternative. And the results of this particular recipe taste test were a definite success, even my husband gave it a good review (and his skepticism of meat alternatives knows no bounds). Even if you are not veggie inclined I suggest you give these little cuties a try. Who knows, you might just find something new to crave.
I started with this recipe for "vegetable balls" and modified it to fit my needs: http://www.grouprecipes.com/91887/vegetable-balls-in-barbecue-sauce.html
Here is what I ended up with...
1/2 cup dried brown lentils
1 cup white rice, uncooked
2 tbsp dried minced onion
1/2 tsp house seasoning blend
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
1 cup egg substitute or 4 eggs
2 tbsp + 6 tsp BBQ sauce
3 tbsp Vegetable oil
Hardware: medium sized sauce pot, 2 muffin tins (6 muffins each, I use silicone ones)
Preheat oven to 350 F
1. In the medium pot combine the dried lentils with 1 3/4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 8 min.
2. Add in the rice, dried minced onion, and seasoning blend stirring well to combine. Bring back to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover, cook for 10 min at a simmer.
3. Uncover and allow to rest for 10 min. Then add in the egg substitute (or eggs, yolks broken up with a fork first), breadcrumbs, salt, and 2 tbsp of the BBQ sauce. Stir until well combined and consistent throughout, this makes for a happier mix.
4. Use the vegetable oil to lightly grease the muffin pans. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, because that was easiest for me, scoop out equal amounts of the mixture into each of the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 10 min.
5. After 10 min, top each "muffin" with 1/2 tsp BBQ sauce spreading evenly (think frosting style, you want all of the top covered, you will notice that I did not do this in the picture above and I have regretted it ever since). Return to oven and cook for another 5 min. Remove and allow to cool for 5 min before removing, this helps them set a bit more. This goes excellent with some form of potatoes and a nice roasted veggie side dish.