These garam masala spiced vegan, gluten free, non-GMO keftedes (plural of kefte) made with Beyond Meat Feisty Crumbles were a big hit at Camp Blogaway with everyone who tasted them. Spiced meatballs are popular all over the world, from Morocco in the west through the Middle East (kefta or kufta), to Greece (keftedes), Turkey (köfte), Armenia (kyufta), Iran (kufteh, or koofteh) and all the way to India (kofta) in the east. But vegan meatballs – isn’t that an oxymoron? Think of these as if a ground meat kefte had a baby with a vegan falafel resulting in the best of both parents: a savory, satisfying and delicious “meatball” that is way more than just a meatball: sustainable because it’s made from non-GMO pea protein, planet-friendly because far less water is required than raising beef, with beaucoup flavor that packs nicely into a soft pita. It’s a win, win, win.
The most common reaction from taste testers was how palatable the texture was – vegans and meat eaters alike encounter a lot of faux meat products that are mushy, rubbery, grainy and otherwise not very appealing. There is no shortage of fake meat products in the market place and some vegans steer clear while others develop a taste for them. I’m neither a vegan nor a fan of faux meat but I have been a supporter of reducing meat consumption for health and environmental reasons and have been serving several meals a week that are meatless, sometimes vegan, for quite a few years – you’ll find an abundance of these She’s Cookin’ recipes by clicking on the recipe tab and selecting from drop down menu on my home page.
Everyone also loved the exotic flavor of the kefte which has everything to do with the wonderfully exotic and warming Middle Eastern spice garam masala and my fabulous recipe which includes garbanzo beans (I love them!) and egg as a binder – use an egg substitute for vegan keftedes. And, good news, I’m sharing it with you along with a plea to eat meatless at least once a week – which is what Meatless Monday is all about. Because going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. And going meatless once a week can also help reduce our carbon footprint and save precious resources like fossil fuels and fresh water.
Sabrina of The Tomato Tart hit the nail on the head with her comment that since the Feisty Crumbles taste so good and have the texture of ground beef, they are a perfect “transition” for families who want to begin eating less meat, but need to satisfy taste buds with familiar foods like tacos, spaghetti and meat sauce, meatballs, chili, etc. It’s not necessarily about faking them out, let them be a part of conserving our planet’s resources. Beyond Meat and I would love for you to try the Feisty crumbles in your favorite ground beef recipe and let us know what you think.
- For the Keftedes:
- 1 package Beyond Meat Fiesty crumbles
- 1 cup ground canned No-Salt Added chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/2 medium onion finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons garam masala*
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped mint
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 eggs beaten*
- Freshly ground black pepper
- For the Tzatziki:
- 2 cups of Greek yogurt
- 1 English cucumber peeled and grated
- 4 cloves of garlic minced
- Juice and zest of one lemon
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Pita bread
- Chopped tomatoes cucumbers, and radishes for garnishing.
Add the chickpeas to a blender or processor and chop. Combine the beef crumbles, chick peas and remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Blend thoroughly. Heat two tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet. Using a small scoop, add 1" meatballs to the hot oil, flatten with your hand. Cook until browned, about 3 minutes, gently turn and brown the other side.
Combine all the Tzatziki ingredients in a non-reactive bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve. For a main dish, cut pitas in half and fill with 2-3 kefte and toppings. For snack size, cut pitas into quarters and stuff with one kefte and toppings.
*To save time, buy prepared Tzatziki. I eliminated salt for lower sodium keftedes - especially since the crumbles contain sodium.
*You can find garam masala in the supermarket spice section.
*For vegan diets, use an egg substitute such as Ener-g or Orgran or ground flax seeds or chia seeds mixed with water (1 T : 3 T ratio) allowed to sit for about 3o minutes until the mixture is a gel-like consistency.
Beyond Meat is available at most Whole Foods Markets. Find out more about their 100% plant protein chicken strips, beefy crumbles and Beast Burger on their website. Thanks to Beyond Meat sponsoring me, this was my third year attending Camp Blogaway, an intimate food blogger camp where you can mix, mingle with other like-minded folks and have face-to-face opportunities with brand sponsors while relaxing in the woods of the San Bernardino Mountains in southern California. It’s definitely like returning to the summer camps you attended as a kid, and more: a friendly and welcoming group of bloggers, an incredible two days of informative sessions, and making new friends and connections in tranquil, beautiful surroundings. Find out more on the Camp Blogaway website.