Naual Hansen

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SMOKED TOFU BALLS IN TOMATO & AJVAR SAUCE

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This dish is a healthy vegan version of the old-style meatballs cooked in tomato sauce. Usually, tomato sauce is prepared without onion and with a good amount of sugar in it. I decided to use maple syrup instead of sugar (as a healthier option), and to use green parts of chopped leek to get a nice texture and colour.

First I crumbled tofu and set it aside. Next step to do was to finely chop pre-soaked lentils in a high-speed food blender. Then I mixed all ingredients (those prepared for making smoked tofu meatballs) together, by using a fork. I was focused on mashing a vegetable bouillon cube (with a fork), then mixing it with chopped lentils and crumbled tofu, to distribute it evenly.

I made sure that there were no bouillon cube pieces (and crumbles of it) that were undissolved. All that I was doing while pasta was cooking and while sauce was simmering. Next thing to do was to fry and bake tofu meatballs. That took around 25 min. 

Once the meatballs were baked, I stabbed them with a thin metal skewer (on 6-7 places, each one of them), then I put them into the pot with sauce. They were simmering for 20 min. and absorbing sauce liquid. I kept adding some water to reduce the sauce. At the end, I poured it over cooked pasta, then drizzled it on top with vegan cooking cream.

Recipe

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Ingredients

  • 240 gr of sprial pasta.
Cook pasta by following instructions from original package.
 
For the tomato sauce:
  • 70 gr of chopped fresh leek;
  • 280 gr of thick double concentrated tomato paste;
  • 3 tbsp. of ajvar;
  • 1/2 tbsp. of sunflower oil + 2 tbsp. of water;
  • 3.5-4 dcl of water (and a bit more if necessary, for reducing the sauce);
  • 1/2 of vegetable bouillon cube;
  • 2 tbsp. of vegan cooking cream;
  • 1/4 tsp. of ground pepper;
  • 2-3 tsp. of maple syrup (or 1-2 tsp. of caster sugar);
  • 1 tsp. of onion powder;
  • 1 tsp. of dried basilicum;
  • 1/4 tsp. of salt.

Ingredients for the smoked tofu meatballs:

  • 180 gr of smoked tofu, finely crumbled;
  • 100 gr of raw, green lentils;
  • 1 tbsp. of grinded chia seed;
  • 1 tbsp. of grinded flax seed;
  • 1 tbsp. of onion powder;
  • 1 vegetable bouillon cube;
  • 1/3 tsp of ground pepper;
  • 1/3 tsp. of ground coriander.
For frying meatballs:
  • 1 tbsp. of oil.

For drizzling:

  • 4 -8 tbsp. of vegan cooking cream.

Preparation time

10 min.

Cooking time

40-50 min.

Servings

2-3

INSTRUCTIONS

 
Directions for sauce:
 
1. Saute leek on water and oil for 3 min. Add the rest of ingredients and cook sauce for 5-7 min. Add some extra water if it starts to become too thick. Set aside.
 
Directions for tofu meatballs:
1. Soak overnight raw lentils. Drain them and finely chop/mash in a high-speed blender.
2. Blend and mash chopped lentils, crumbled tofu and vegetable cube with the rest of seasoning using a fork. Make sure that vegetable broth cube is well mashed.
3. Shape meatballs with palms (30-33 gr. each). There should be 12-13 big pieces.
4. Warm up 1 tbsp. of sunflower oil and fry meatballs for 5 min at high temperature, flip them over 2-3 times. Next, bake meatballs in the airfryer (or in the oven) at 200 Celsius degrees for 20 min. Take them out, then stab them with barbecue thin metal skewer on 6-7 places to make small holes.
5. Put meatballs into the sauce and cook for 20 min at medium temperature. Flip them over several times while they cook so they can absorb sauce on each place. Make sure to add extra water to get desirable thickness. Sauce should not be too thick, nor too thin.
6. Serve over cooked pasta. Drizzle on top with a bit vegan cooking cream.