Vegan Spaghetti & Meatballs and Being Kind to Yourself Over the Holidays [RECIPE]

Good Morning Everyone!

Whew! We’re coming off a 4-day holiday weekend today so it’s back to the swing of things as we head into December together. Did you have a Happy Thanksgiving? I hope you ate delicious food and spent wonderful time with your loved ones. Today I felt moved to talk about being kind to ourselves over the holidays. For me, the holidays are a time of excitement…. as well as a bit of stress. I love the holidays so much, probably because we celebrate not one, but two holidays in our home! Yes, around here we deck the halls and light the Hanukkah menorah! 🙂 It’s great. It’s the time of year that we countdown to all 11 months out of the year. It’s the giant exhale in the year when all the world is aglow and people are caroling all the way. What’s not to love, right?

Well, then there’s the stressful part of the holidays. What presents should I buy? Do I have enough money to make it all work? What meals should I plan? Oh no, tickets to that holiday concert are that expensive?! On and on this list goes and my eyeballs begin to roll around in my head. It’s enough to make any sane person nuts. This year my source of stress has been the bathroom scale. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that I didn’t lose weight over Thanksgiving. I didn’t gain any, but I didn’t lose any either. Still… I had a moment of panic when I thought, “oh gosh, should I eat only fruit throughout December? I want to look fantastic for my vacation coming up!”. And then my brain shouted (very clearly I might add): NO!

All year I wait for the holidays. All year I make bucket lists to do with the family… sing carols and make playlists. I dream about books to read to my daughter and pick out special recipes to make us all swoon. I’m going to throw all that away because of a number on the scale? Pssh… I think NOT!

And so I take a breath and remind myself that it’s the holidays. All of our weights will go up and down a bit. We will eat, drink, and be merry. We will exercise… not to lose weight… but to be healthy. We will cherish time and savor every day like it’s our last. We will be kind to our neighbors and fellow strangers…. because what this world needs is compassion and understanding. Because in the end, whether you’re 546 lbs. or 95 lbs. you’re still here. You woke up today to spend another beautiful day in this life. Right now you have the chance to make it a great day, no matter what that looks like! YOU are here! And YOU MATTER! 🙂 A number does not defines you. Never forget that ❤

And now, onto today’s recipe.

When it’s winter time… (and I say winter with a smirk on my lips, because living in a mild climate I really am spoiled when it comes to great winter weather)…. I love to cook comfort food. I really do. I don’t consider myself to be a huge pasta person, but there’s something about spaghetti in the winter that feels like a giant hug, right? That savory marinara that’s loaded with fresh herbs… and meatballs that you can chomp through… Mmmmm…. Sorry, I think I’m drooling a bit here. 😉

But I’m Vegan! Yes, in case you didn’t know I’m Vegan and my body has felt a lot better since I “went to the dark side”. That said, don’t think for a moment that us Vegans don’t crave some meatballs because you’d be sadly mistaken, my friend. (Enter this recipe). How do you take soy protein and make it taste like a meatball? It’s all about the spices. Soy protein when fried stiffens to have the texture and bite of ground beef. But what puts these meatballs over the top and worthy of being a meatball substitute is in the flavoring. Worcestershire sauce, fresh parsley, bread crumbs, minced garlic and onion make up the flavor in this delicious dish. I was skeptical if these would taste good, but PETA did it again and blew me away! For sure I’ll be making this dish over and over as we deck the halls and ring in the New Year. I hope you all give this cheap, easy, and wonderful dish a try. Have a wonderful day everyone and as always, keep on cooking ❤

IMG_3967

Vegan Spaghetti and Meatballs 

Courtesy of: PETA 

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients: 

For the Spaghetti and Marinara: 

1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 14-oz. cans diced tomatoes
1/3 cup water
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. dried basil
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Soy meatballs (see recipe below)
Prepared spaghetti

For the Soy Meatballs:

1 14-oz. pkg. ground-beef-style Gimme Lean
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup minced onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup water, or as needed
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Instructions: 

For the sauce: 

  • In a medium saucepan, sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until the onions are translucent.
  • Add the tomatoes, water, salt, pepper, sugar, and basil. Bring to a simmer, then pour into a food processor or blender. Pulse 4 to 5 times, being sure to leave small chunks of tomato. Pour back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat.
  • Add the tomato paste, lemon juice, and soy meatballs and simmer on low heat for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring continuously. Adjust the seasonings if necessary.
  • Serve over prepared spaghetti or pasta of your choice.

For the Meatballs: 

  • Mix all the ingredients together, except the water and the oil. Add just enough water to make the “meatballs” moist.
  • Shape the “meatballs” so that they are approximately 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter.
  • Add the oil to a pan over medium heat. Add the meatballs and pan fry until lightly browned on all sides, about 10 minutes.
IMG_3966
Mmmm Vegan Meatballs! 
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