Laziness and Beanballs

I’m a pajama kind of person. As a stay-at-home-mom, I have lots of opportunities for being in pajamas. Unless there are errands to run or appointments to be made, the tyke and myself are chillaxin’ in our jammies. In fact, that’s what we’re doing Right Now. Because pajamas are so very comfortable, we’re a little loath to get out of them. When I was thumbing through my Kindle edition of Veganomicon, I came across the Beanballs recipe. Luckily, it’s on this blog over here so I don’t have to type it out for you (not that I stuck to it anyways) and THEN type what I did. I can just give you my version, and Isa and Terry don’t have to know (shhhhh!).

So what do beanballs have to do with pajamas and being lazy? That’s a not-very-interesting story that I’ll tell you anyways because it’s my blog and I do what I want. So there. Neener neener etc.

It all starts with a bagel shop. No, I’m not talking Dunkin’. I’m talking a real bagel shop — NY style, chewy outer, fluffy yet dense inners. Bagelshop-of-Insane-Deliciousness. They have an honest-to-Cthulhu knowledge of vegan and vegetarian food. They know what tempeh is (and rate in PETA’s national top-10 for vegan ‘B’LTs)! They have eggless-salad! They have Daiya cheese for goodness sake! I stalk their Facebook page waiting for updates on the latest vegan specials. One day, I saw a post for a sandwich, changed myself and the kiddo out of our pajamas, and sped off to the Bagelshop-of-Awesomeness.

What I brought home was pure bliss and gone all too soon.

The photo doesn’t do it justice (sorry!). A vegan “meat”ball sub on a multigrain baguette, Cabernet Sauvignon marinara with Daiya mozzarella. Honestly, I could have died with no foodie regrets that day.

Lo and behold, a week or so goes by and the photo continues to taunt me on Instagram. Just my luck, the Bagelshop-of-Fickle-Specials was featuring some sort of soup or something other than the Subwich-of-Divine-Deliciousness. I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.

I had no canned beans in my cabinets, so turned to The Goods in my pantry. Yes, it deserves capitalization. I wanted a good mix, so portioned out some of my two favorites — small red beans and black beans — and started soaking them. I forget what happened in the interim, probably some water changes and some animal sounds (I have a toddler, remember), but soon I was on my way to boiling some beans.

Once they were done, I slapped the beanballs together faster than you can say “Bob’s Your Uncle” (what does that even mean???). What came out of the oven was amazing and deserved a Special Sawce (yes, a ‘u’, I know — but you have to enunciate the ‘awww’ here).

Guess who didn’t have a delicious pre-made sawce? Yeah. That’d be me. But I had lots of veggies and a couple cans of tomatoes, so I challenge MacGyver to come up with something better.

Once the Sawce was complete and the beanballs were safely nestled in its enfolding tomato goodness, I was faced with a dilemma. No bread! Who runs out of bread? (Hint: Two thumbs, pointed at me)

What to do?

Turn that frown upside down and put on some serious pants, of course (yes, even if you prefer shorts *wink*). No, I don’t mean real pants. These are only pants in the metaphorical sense. Pajama-girl, remember? You may be asking me, “But, VV, how far away must your nearest bread-selling location be?” According to Foursquare, 0.2mi. Or, in drive/walk/run/unicycle-speak, 2.5 blocks. If I wanted to get fancy, I’d have to go to an actual grocery store an entire… 0.6mi away.

Of course, I wanted to get fancy. And of course, my desire to stay inside out of the rain while keeping on my PJs overrode any desire to leave the house. You know what I did. I don’t have to tell you. But I will.

I made sub rolls.

Yes, you read that right. Again. I not only avoided getting out of pajamas for beans, but also for sauce and bread.

Now you know the kind of person you’re dealing with here.

So what’s the point of this ramble and not-at-all-interesting story that’s a pretty good humble-brag (another hint: I’m super humble)?

Recipes, of course! For all your patience-and-attention/diligent-scrolling-to-get-to-the-good-stuff, you will be awarded three. That’s seriously, like, insane. I could stretch these babies out for a week. You’re lucky I’m so nice (being humble again)!

You probably want those recipes now, huh?

Beanballs, inspired by Veganomicon:

  • 14 oz cooked black and small red beans (7oz dry, soaked, then cooked with kombu)
  • ¼ C dry steel cut oats
  • 1 oz uncooked quinoa, soaked 30 min in warm water, then drained
  • 1 oz (1/4 c lightly packed) mix of ground flaxseeds, walnuts, almonds, and Brazil nuts (Linwood’s or your own mix)
  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 T vegan Worcestershire
  • 1 T Bragg’s liquid aminos, tamari, or soy sauce
  • 2 T sriracha or tomato paste
  • ¼ tsp liquid smoke
  • Heaping ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp dried grated lemon peel
  • ½ tsp dried cilantro
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ T crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ tsp ancho chile powder
  • 1 tsp porcini mushroom powder
  • 1 T nutritional yeast
  • ½ C bread crumbs
  • 10 turns black pepper grinder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ C vital wheat gluten

Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.

In a large bowl, mash beans. You want to break the beans up without turning too much of them into a paste or leaving too many of them whole – pulse them a few times in a food processor. Add all ingredients except the vital wheat gluten and mix well.

Add the vital wheat gluten and knead the mixture until a soft “dough” forms.

Dampen your hands and roll dough into small balls. A “meatballer” gadget or 1T cookie scoop works great for this. Place the balls on the sheet and spray with a little oil

Bake 15 minutes, flip the balls, then bake another 10 minutes.

Cabernet Sauvignon Marinara

  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • ½ small zucchini, grated
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ C Cabernet Sauvignon wine or another dry red
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes, no salt added
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, no salt added, drained
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp oregano
  • Salt to taste

In a large saucepan, cook onion over medium heat until tender. If desired, cook until they are beginning to caramelize – about 30 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add grated carrots and zucchini and cook until they are just becoming tender, about 5 minutes.

Stir in wine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. This takes about 10 minutes.

Add both types of tomatoes, thyme, and oregano. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Salt to taste and pour over beanballs in a shallow container. Allow to cool, then cover and refrigerate to blend flavors.

Sub (or dinner) Rolls

  • 1 T active dry yeast
  • 2 T sugar
  • 1 C warm plant milk (110-115F)
  • 1 ½ T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 3 to 3 ½ C bread flour or all-purpose flour*

Dissolve sugar in milk. Add yeast and stir until incorporated. Set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together salt and 2C flour. Once yeast mixture is quite foamy, stir in the olive oil, then add dry ingredients. Stir to form a sticky dough. Add more flour, ½ C at a time, until it doesn’t stick to your fingers any longer.

Knead 7-12 minutes, until smooth and elastic.

Oil a bowl, add dough, turn to coat, then cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and place somewhere warm to rise until doubled (40min-1hr).

Cut dough into rolls or roll into long logs about 5” long and 1.5-2” wide. If making sub rolls, slash lines about 1.5” along the loaf.

Brush with plant milk, cover, and let rise until doubled.

Bake at 400F until golden brown – 8-11 minutes for dinner rolls, 10-14 minutes for sub rolls.

*if you’d like to use whole wheat flour (I’ve never done it, but I’d use whole wheat pastry flour), you may want to add a little more sugar to the dough and use a little extra plant milk to combat any dryness



4 thoughts on “Laziness and Beanballs

  1. I’m giggling for so may reasons…first, you said balls…then the MacGyver reference…serious 👖😂😭😁Luckily, I have all the ingredients for the balls and you know I’m not messing around with tomato paste.In Sriracha we trust!

    • Well, ya know, there *are* people out there who aren’t on the Sriracha bandwagon. I mean, I don’t actually *know* any, but I think maybe I’ve heard of one or two? They’re probably not actually against sriracha. They’re probably just pretending.

  2. Pingback: Leftovers Challenge | The Vegan Virtuoso

  3. Pingback: Leftovers Challenge: Dish 3 | The Vegan Virtuoso

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