Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Gluten Free Wednesday: Pasta with "Meatballs" and Garlic Bread

Gluten Free Wednesdays at work always seem to be a challenge for me.  I am not gluten free, but I work with a girl that is gluten free, in addition to having several other food allergies.  She is great because she is so open to trying new things.  I'll admit, most of the time I am the one getting super excited about whatever new thing I am testing, though she will always sample it and most often really likes it.  I guess I am just very vocal about my excitement.  Recently in the bakery we have all been talking about eating less gluten, and after making a few attempts at gluten free bread from my favorite gluten free blog Gluten Free Goddess, I am using the base bread recipe and making it into many different forms of bread.  This time around I formed it into a baguette.  I will post that soon.

Today in the bakery it was my turn to make the family meal.  As is usual, I was thinking about what I would be making several days in advance and was sure I was going to making moussaka.  Every time I mention out loud that I am going to be making that, it never happens.  So, next week, I want to make it and will not mention it at all.  I was intending to make that up until yesterday when L started talking about garlic bread.  That sounded equally good to me, so I started thinking about what things usually go with garlic bread - pasta with a red sauce.  That sounded a little boring, so I was thinking about making meatballs to go along with it.  Yum!  I admittedly have not had them in so long, the meat free version of course, so I didn't really know where to start.  After doing a google search, I came across a gluten free vegan blog with a meatball recipe based on rice and lentils.  I looked over the recipe and liked the base, but the rest of the recipe really didn't make sense or seem like it would work, so it was time to improvise. 

I started throwing things in the mix and ended up with a super delicious gluten free vegan mock meatball served over pasta with a red sauce (not homemade this time or I wouldn't be able to get any baking done at work!) with a delicious garlic bread on the side.  It was so good both L and I were ready for a nap afterwards, and didn't want to keep on baking.  I think this meal is definitely something that you can make for dinner to impress your guests - they will seriously not believe it is gluten free!  Or vegan!

Pasta with Meatballs and Garlic Bread

Pasta with Sauce, Meatballs, Steamed Broccoli & GF Garlic Bread!
 You will need:

gluten free pasta of choice, enough to serve 4 people, cooked according to package instructions, kept warm

1 glass jar pasta sauce, or homemade if you're feeling up to it, warmed

1 loaf gluten free bread brushed with earth balance and sprinkled with garlic powder, baked till crispy

Lentil Meatballs:

(This makes a ton, about 50, but they freeze well)

1 cup french lentils, sorted and rinsed
1 cup long grain brown rice, rinsed
4 1/2 cups stock
2/3 cup minced red onions
2/3 cup minced roasted portabella mushrooms
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon onion  powder
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 pinch cayenne pepper
3/4-1 cup gluten free breadcrumbs

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2.  In a large pot, add the lentils, rice and stock.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for about 45 minutes, or until the rice and lentils are cooked all the way through.  There should be a small amount of liquid left over.  Strain the rice and lentils in the sink in a fine mesh strainer and allow to sit for about 10 minutes, while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
3.  In a large bowl, place the minced red onions, mushrooms, garlic and all the spices: onion and garlic powder, sea salt, basil, oregano, black pepper, cayenne pepper and breadcrumbs, starting out with the smaller amount. 
4.  Once the rice and lentils have cooled slightly and most of the liquid has drained out, place the mixture into the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse the mixture in the processor until the rice and lentils begin to break down, but you can still see small pieces.  Do not let this mixture come to anything near a puree.
5.  Place the chopped rice and lentils in the bowl with the remaining ingredients.  Using your hands, thoroughly mix together the meatball ingredients.  The mixture should be very thick, yet not sticky.  Add the remaining breadcrumbs if needed.
6.  Oil a baking tray, line with parchment paper and oil again.  Scoop the meatball mixture by the tablespoon, and using your hands, roll them around until they are evenly round.  Place the meatballs onto the sheet tray with only a small amount of space separating them.
7.  Place into the oven and bake for about 35 minutes, or until the outside is slightly crispy and the inside is nice and firm.

A close-up of the delicious meatballs!
 To serve, place a portion of the cooked pasta on the plate, top with an amount of the warmed marinara sauce, up to 5 of the meatballs, additional warmed marinara sauce and vegan parm if you'd like.  Serve with the garlic bread on the side. 

L and I decided to add steamed broccoli to our plates because we felt bad about eating all the carbs.  Although admittedly, the starches we were eating were all health supportive - brown rice pasta, millet based bread and brown rice and lentil meatballs.  This was seriously so delicious!



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