I know, the oxymoron probably annoys you because why not just call them teriyaki cauliflower & quinoa balls? Terikayi meatballs just sound so much more appetising though, doesn’t it? There’s no harm in a little misleading honesty!
It’s been weeks since I’ve eaten meat (besides fish) and it’s starting to feel normal. I don’t miss it – except for the odd pang of regret at the thought of crispy chicken skin. I think summer is going to be worse with the constant smell of braai in the air but like anything, once something becomes an ingrained habit, you don’t really think about it. As for where I’m at with the vegan thing, I’d say I’m about two thirds of the way. We cook almost exclusively vegan at home and I choose it 95% of the time when I’m out. But I haven’t flicked the off switch yet.
What I’m really enjoying at the moment is getting creative in the kitchen. Allowing myself to cook rather haphazardly without staples that I took for granted before, but with no pressure not to use them. I find myself changing recipes instinctively rather than looking for unsatisfying substitutes (hello vegan cheese, I’m definitely glaring at you).
These ‘meatballs’ are basically all about the homemade teriyaki sauce, however I quite enjoyed their crispy texture when dipped in a jar of Dijon mustard (I eat anything with mustard though, so that might just be me!).
Also full disclosure: my first attempt at these was with pan-frying. This is the result. You know when an original recipe has a few options, like pan fry in olive oil, but their photos are so perfect that you KNOW those balls were fried in butter because there is absolutely no frigging way they don’t come out like mush… Food photography is all smoke and mirrors. Just saying.
Anyway, I baked mine on the second attempt with no butter in sight and they worked out really well. Give these a try for Meatless Monday or serve with rice or noodles for homemade Asian Takeaway Friday – or is that just in our house!
Teriyaki Meatless Meatballs
- 1 cup roasted cauliflower (toss in olive oil and seasoning & roast for 15-20 mins at 230 degrees)
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 2 eggs OR flax eggs for vegan option
- 1/2 large red onion, finely diced
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp seal salt
- 3 tsp crushed garlic
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup soya sauce
- 1/4 cup brown or coconut sugar
- 1 tsp cornstarch + 1 tsp water, mixed into a paste
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tsp sesame seeds (can omit but I would’t recommend it – it makes the sauce)
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup water
- Mix all the ingredients together, bring to a boil in a small pot then simmer on medium-low heat until completely incorporated – about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Place lightly cooked cauliflower in a food processor and pulse til it’s riced. Remove from the food processor and measure out to 1 cup – quinoa and cauli should be in equal proportion.
- Place cup of cauli in a bowl and add all the other meatball ingredients. Mix together until the batter is combined and starts sticking together – make sure it’s neither too wet nor too dry (add more breadcrumbs or some water as needed).
- Roll into balls with your hands and place on greased baking tray..
- Bake for approximately 35 minutes until golden and crispy.
- Heat up teriyaki sauce and pour over balls. Serve with rice or greens or on their own for a savoury snack.