Asian Meatless MiniBalls and Herbed Italian Meatless MiniBalls

I go through "phases" when it comes to my meals. I can eat a solid diet of roasted tofu and potatoes, lentil curry on rice and sushi for months, then all of a sudden none of those flavours appeal to me. Since I'm the only one at home with the overly restricted diet (certainly the only one who is mostly vegan), I inevitably find myself with leftover perishables that I just can't bring myself to stomach. While some things freeze well (beans, for example), others aren't graced with the same ability.

When I do find myself with more ingredients than my stomach wants to handle, I look for ways to both use up and reflavour the leftovers. With a simple herb or spice swap, new international twist or a new method of cooking, what was once lost to the depths of the freezer or the compost bin takes on a whole new life. After the holidays, I was sick of the convenient, yet relatively bland scallopini from Gardein sitting in my freezer and decided that a travel around the world was in order to keep them from a freezer-burned fate.

Herbed Italian Meatless MiniBalls
Herbed Italian Meatless MiniBalls
How to best accomplish the flavouring wasn't even a question - meatballs! I have yet to find an easier vehicle for herbs and spices that is so versatile, finding homes in pasta, soup, stew, even dumplings! Drawing from both Asia and more traditional Italy, I made two versions of "MiniBalls" that were perfect for jazzing up dinner. I varied the sizes of them too, for assorted uses - tiny ones the perfect size for Italian Wedding or Sesame Ginger Meatball soup, and slightly larger bites that would fit in well with the shumai or Chef Boyardee crowd. Of course, there's no limit to the possibilities for their use - and with as much flavour as they have, they're great for the whole family (even those who eschew meat-free fare)!

I will say that if you're planning on using these for soup, either 2 egg whites (obviously not vegan) or 1 prepared egg replacer really helps keep them together, as does baking them at 350F for 10 minutes and adding during the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Asian Meatless MiniBalls
Makes 75 "soup size" or 35 "Chef Boyardee size"
250g vegan "chicken" fillets (I used Gardein frozen scallopini, thawed)
1 tbsp tapioca starch mixed with 2 tbsp cold water
1 clove garlic
3 tbsp chopped cilantro
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  1. Tear the "chicken" into a food processor and add the remaining ingredients.
  2. Process until finely ground.
  3. Shape into small balls and place on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper.
  4. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes before adding to soup.
  5. Store in freezer.
Amount Per Serving (1 "soup size" ball)
Calories: 5.1
Asian Meatless MiniBalls
Asian Meatless MiniBalls
Total Fat: 0.2 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 15.5 mg
Total Carbs: 0.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.1 g
Protein: 0.7 g

Amount Per Serving (1 "mini spaghetti & meatballs" ball)
Calories: 12.7
Total Fat: 0.4 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 38.7 mg
Total Carbs: 0.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.2 g
Protein: 1.7 g


Herbed Italian Meatless MiniBalls
Makes 75 "soup size" or 35 "Chef Boyardee size"
250g vegan "chicken" fillets (I used Gardein frozen scallopini, thawed)
1 tbsp tapioca starch mixed with 2 tbsp cold water
3 cloves garlic
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp black pepper
pinch fennel seed
pinch rosemary
  1. Tear the "chicken" into a food processor and add the remaining ingredients.
  2. Process until finely ground.
  3. Shape into small balls and place on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper.
  4. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes before adding to soup.
  5. Store in freezer.
Amount Per Serving (1 "soup size" ball)
Calories: 5.7
Total Fat: 0.2 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 15.5 mg
Total Carbs: 0.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.1 g
Protein: 0.7 g

Amount Per Serving (1 "mini spaghetti & meatballs" ball)
Calories: 12.3
Total Fat: 0.5 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 33.2 mg
Total Carbs: 0.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.2 g
Protein: 1.4 g
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