Are you ready to make Korean Meatballs that are Vegan and Gluten-Free?
Since Beyond Beef Plant-Based Ground has become my family’s current favorite plant-based meat, so I’m constantly looking for new ways to use this terrific product. This time I’m trying my hand at perfecting Korean Meatballs! Beyond Beef’s meat-like mouth feel, gristle, and taste really does have the power to fool carnivores!
Although meatballs have always seemed like a staple of Italian cuisine (try my own recipe here), I’ve discovered that almost every culture has its own unique version. Although I still need to work on perfecting a vegan version of Albondigas (a small Spanish meatball popular at tapas bars), the second time was the charm for my Korean Meatballs.
I wanted the Korean Meatballs to be both vegan and gluten-free, so instead of using a combination of crushed organic Triscuits and panko (which I used the first time), I used Blue Diamond Almond Nut-Thins. (I love these addictive almond and rice crackers that are also low in sodium!) Buzzed in the food processor for about 10-15 seconds, they yielded a fine crisp crumb that held the meatball together nicely, without needing to use an egg as a binder.
I also recommend that you get some Gochujang, which is Korean Chili Sauce. The Chung Jung One Gochujang is both vegan and gluten-free with a decided kick that was not over-powering.
Last, but not least if you are looking for a gluten-free soy sauce, I suggest you try SAN-J Organic Tamari in its low-sodium version.
Now, on to the Meatball Making.
Basically, you start with a pound package of Beyond Beef in a large bowl and mix in the next seven ingredients.
For mixing, I’ve found that hands actually work much better than a wooden spoon, a food processor, or a hand mixer. To stay sanitary, my hubby has decided that washing and drying his hands before donning disposable gloves works well – and then he washes his gloved hands again before digging into the meatball mixture. He’s gotten pretty adept at mixing and then making fairly round meatballs!
He makes his meatballs a bit bigger than a golfball, which means that a pound of Beyond Beef will yield about a dozen meatballs.
We baked them on non-stick aluminum foil in a 425 degree oven for about 15 minutes, turning once about half-way through the cooking time.
Surprisingly, Beyond Beef renders a fair amount grease, just like real beef does. I drained mine on a triple layer of paper towels.
(And yes, I get that this is a fairly nasty looking photo! I wanted to include it so that you know you haven’t done anything wrong when it happens to you!)
And, now, the sauce!
I made an easy sauce with organic apricot preserves, more tamari and gochujang, ginger, garlic, and rice vinegar. It provides tangy sweetness which balances the slight heat from the gochujang and garlic in the meatballs.
While the meatballs were baking, I threw together a spinach salad with a dressing made of tamari, dark sesame oil, garlic, a tiny bit of sugar, juice of half a lime, and sesame seeds.
And since my hubby decided to buy some purple daikon at the Farmers Market, I experimented with a shredded carrot and daikon salad – which was a surprisingly tasty accompaniment.
Not bad for a rainy Monday night!
- 1 lb. Beyond Beef Plant-Based Ground
- ½ cup chopped scallions
- 4 garlic cloves, pressed
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons organic gluten-free soy sauce (SAN-J Tamari gluten-free low sodium soy sauce is my favorite brand)
- 1 tablespoon Gochujang (Korean Chili Sauce) (Note, this is flexible, so use less if you're timid (start with a teaspoon) and more if you like things hot!)
- Lots of freshly ground black pepper
- 24 Blue Diamond Almond Nut-Thin crackers, buzzed in blender or food processor (which yields a little less than ½ cup of crumbs)
- ⅔ cup organic apricot preserves (Thrive Market’s Organic Apricot Fruit Spread sweetened only with fruit juice is a good one to try)
- 1 Tablespoon organic rice vinegar (Marukan is my favorite brand)
- 2 tablespoons Gochuyang (Korean Chili Sauce)
- 1 tablespoon organic gluten-free soy sauce (try SAN-J Organic Tamari which is both gluten-free and low sodium)
- ¼ teaspoon dried ginger
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder or 1 garlic clove, pressed
- Pre-heat the oven to 425. Place a sheet of non-stick aluminum foil on a rimmed half sheet pan.
- Place the Beyond Beef grounds in a large bowl, and add the next seven ingredients. Put on clean disposable gloves - and then re-wash your gloved hands. Dig into the meatball mixture and mix well using your hands. This is the only way I know to mix it well and not get the meatball mixture under my fingernails!
- Scoop the mixture andmake a dozen meatballs. Place the meatballs on the non-stick side of the aluminum foil. Bake for 8 minutes. Bring the sheet pan out of the oven and flip the meatballs over (to ensure that they are evenly browned and to minimize that one flattened side). Bake for about another 7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix all of the sauce ingredients in a shallow saucepan, and cook for a few minutes over low heat. When the meatballs are cooked, they will have excreted some oil - just like a real meat meatball. Place a triple folded paper towel on a plate and transfer the meatballs to drain. Take three or four meatballs at a time, bathe them on all sides in the sauce. Serve over brown rice or white jasmine rice with a little extra sauce drizzled on top. Yum!
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