Tag Archive for comfort food

Sweet & Sour Meatballs {Vegan}

When I was growing up, my mom made this dish. It’s one of those dishes that has all the comfort food vibes: Sweet & Sour Meatballs.

For a variety of reasons, I haven’t eaten this dish in many, many years. One is, my mom is gone. Another is, I haven’t eaten meat in about 6 or 7 years!

But even though this is a meat dish, it’s one I still sometimes get a craving for. It’s just so warm and comforting and it’s perfect for these cold, dark winter days.

Sweet & Sour Meatballs Vegan

The dish is basically meatballs which you fry up so they have a nice little bit of texture and crispness on the outside. Then you made a sauce–a sweet and sour sauce that includes sugar and vinegar together. Finally, you add in a few extras: I like sweet peppers and also pineapple. There’s something about the sweet-savoury balance that I really love. Finally, you serve the whole thing over a big bowl of rice and go to town!

When I used to eat meat, I’d made these with ground turkey, though I remember my mom making them with beef.

This was one of the recipes I found in my mom’s recipe box, and I thought I’d just swap out some vegan meatballs for the meat and see how it worked. It worked pretty great!

There certainly are lots of vegan meatball options out there on the market, and you could totally make your own, but I’ve been playing with some Modern Meat products I was gifted with recently, so I used those.

The product comes frozen, so I didn’t bother to cook them before they went into the sauce. I made all the components in my dutch oven, then threw in the frozen package of meatballs and fired the whole thing in the oven for half an hour, and it worked great!

If you’re using not frozen meatballs, I would take the extra step of frying them in a little oil before baking.

Vegan Sweet & Sour Meatballs

Sweet & Sour Meatballs {Vegan}

Ingredients:

  • 1 package pre-made vegan meatballs of your choice (I used Modern Meat)
  • 1 tin of pineapple chunks
  • 1 red pepper, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 small-medium onion, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup light-coloured jam (plum, apricot)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. On the stovetop, in a dutch oven, heat a tablespoon or two of oil over medium-high heat, and add the onions. Stir well and allow to cook for about 5 minutes, until softened and beginning to brown on the edges. Add the red pepper and cook for another 2 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large mason jar, add the juice from the pineapple, the ginger, garlic, jam, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, water and cornstarch. Screw on the lid and shake well till combined.
  4. Add the sauce to the pan and increase the heat to bring up to a boil until it thickens. Finally, add in the pineapple chunks and the vegan meatballs. Stir well.
  5. Put the top on the dutch oven and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve over rice.

Spaghetti Pie

Well, okay then. Here we are in 2021.

Weird how hopeful we were for those first few days, especially, though really not much has changed. We’re still in the middle of a global pandemic. But there are glimmers of light on the horizon; a new president will take the White House soon in the US, and hopefully by the end of the year, we will all be vaccinated and safe from the virus.

In the mean time, it’s winter, it’s dark, and we need comfort food. Ideally comfort food that comes from pantry staples, so we don’t have to leave the house.

Spaghetti Pie

I have just the thing. Spaghetti Pie.

This is a kind of mash-up of pizza and lasagne. Like a pizza, it has cheese and tomato sauce topping. But instead of a bread-like crust, the base is made of spaghetti. Yeah, that’s right! Plus it has the word “pie” in it, so you know it’s got to be good!

This would be a great way to use up any leftover spaghetti, by the way, on the off chance that you, like I often do, made too much.

This is a great pantry-staple comfort food weeknight dinner. You probably have spaghetti and a jar of marinara in your cupboard already, and you probably have cheese in your fridge.

In this particular case, I was playing with a new meat substitute that’s recently launched in Vancouver called Modern Meat. They sell a bunch of different products (all frozen, so handy to have on hand), like burgers, sliders, meatballs, crab cakes, and a “ground beef,” which is what I used to make this.

By the way, feel free to prep this in advance, maybe even on the weekend, and then pop it in the oven for a hearty weeknight meal. Pair with a salad and yay! Dinner done.

Oh, by the way, the day I was making this, Smitten Kitchen published this, which would be a very nice variation on this recipe.


via GIPHY

Spaghetti Pie

Ingredients

  • 7 oz spaghetti (cooked, al dente)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp pesto
  • ½ cup grated pecorino or parmesan, divided in half
  • i package vegan ground beef (I used Modern Meat)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 ½ cups marinara sauce, bottled or homemade
  • 1 cup shredded melty cheese, like mozzarella
  • salt & pepper to taste

Method

  1. If your spaghetti is not cooked, cook it first in salted water for a few minutes less than the package directions call for. Drain.
  2. In a large bowl, place the two eggs, half of the grated pecorino or parmesan and the pesto and beat well. Add the spaghetti and mix. Season, but be aware that the cheese is quite salty, so don’t overseason it.
  3. Grease a large pie plate or a springform pan and dump the spaghetti mixture into the bottom. Spread the ricotta in a layer over top of the spaghetti layer. Set aside.
  4. Brown the vegan ground beef in a large frying pan or a dutch oven over medium heat in a few tablespoons of oil.
  5. Add the marinara sauce, stir well to combine, and allow to cook down for about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Spread this on top of the ricotta layer in the pan.
  6. Top with the cheeses.
  7. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden. Remove from oven and slice into wedges to serve.
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