Happy New Year everyone! Every year I say it but it never makes it less true, “How is it 2019 already?!”
I hope everyone had a fun (and safe) New Years Eve, toasting to the year that was and they year to come. For us 2018 will always be special—we got married, my dad won the Stanley Cup, we traveled, we ate, we drank, we shared countless memories with our loved ones, my family moved to Long Island, we celebrated, and we gave thanks!
No matter how good a year is, there’s something calming and rejuvenating about a New Year. Something refreshing about turning the page to a new calendar. It’s full of possibilities and we are excited to see what 2019 will bring for us.
Besides the joy of a new calendar (seriously I LOVE my calendar, LeBraun can attest!), January is a time to take a chance. The gyms will be packed—at least for this month, people will be focusing on improving themselves or their lives, setting goals (some realistic, some not so realistic), and trying to “stick with it,” as it were.
Well it’s January 4th now and we have yet to get that gym membership. Sidenote: How come everything seems to take so much time now? I’ve got to research the gyms, get the best deal, etc. Though I did do 20 minutes of yoga and 10 minutes of arms last night. WOOOO!
Anyway another thing we look forward to is Veganuary!For those who don’t know Veganuary is an annual movement inspiring people to give a vegan lifestyle a go for at least month (if not longer). There are countless misconceptions about vegans and veganism, many of which can be debunked simply by adapting the lifestyle…even if only for a month.
Will you go hungry?
Will you lose a ton of weight?
Depends what you lifestyle was like before, but not necessarily.
Will you feel leaner and lighter?
Eating the right foods feels amazing!
Generally I am not vegan. I am gluten- and dairy-intolerant and therefore find it easiest to order from vegan menu items (pending they're also gluten-free). I love how something you would never think could, turns into something delicious and completely unique. Like did you know that cashews can make everything from cheese to Alfredo sauce to ranch dressing? Well they can and it is AMAZING!
If there’s a chance to eat vegan I will take it and have toyed—sometimes for several weeks at a time—as the New Year Resolution-ists would say “stick with it.” I would love to, but fish keeps drawing me back. My longterm plan is to become vegan.
There are so many amazing substitutes and mock items available now, it’s insane! I love browsing my local stores for the most unique treats and testing them, and especially during Veganuary it feels like everyone is on your side cheering you on, experiencing the benefits of overhauling your lifestyle, and there to support you when you struggle.
To find out more or take the pledge visit veganuary.com! By signing up you’ll receive vegan tips, info, recipes, product recommendations, and support!
LeBraun and I have taken the pledge and can’t wait to share some of our favorite recipes, tips, tricks, restaurants, etc with you over the next 30 days.
So first up—If you don’t already know I love food holidays and today happens to be National Spaghetti Day. Mamma mia!!! When we were in Italy I really hoped I would hear someone say that, but sadly I think it’s just for Mario Kart. I digress.
We all love spaghetti! It’s simple, delicious, and quick. It’s comforting and wholesome. When it’s spaghetti night, nothing goes better with that big ole bowl of spaghetti than garlic toast and meatballs. Well meat-less meatballs…meat-less balls…since we’re observing Veganuary. :)
These are adapted from my favorite veggie burger recipe: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Black Bean Quinoa Burgers (sans egg).
These Gluten-Free, Vegan Meat-less Balls are hearty, savory, and appetizing. Each bite is protein-packed and flavorful. Enjoy them on their own, with your favorite pasta and sauce, or even on a meatball sub. (LeBraun and I made meat-less ball subs with these a few weeks back and they hit the spot!)
Double the recipe so you can test them a few different ways or make and freeze them to save for later.
Gluten-Free, Vegan Meat-less Balls
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed, drained, and dried)
- 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 tbsp garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes, additional to taste
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp salt, additional to taste
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast OR 1/2 cup gf/vegan parmesan cheese of choice (like Follow Your Heart Parmesan Style Shredded Cheese Alternative)
- 1/4 cup gluten-free, vegan breadcrumbs (like Ian’s)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
- Prepare the quinoa according to package directions. Set aside and allow to cool completely.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spread black beans on single layer on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until beans crack and feel dry. Set aside baking sheet for use later.
- Increase the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add black beans, 2 tbsp oil, garlic, onion, basil, red pepper, oregano, and salt to food processor and process to break down.
- Add quinoa, nutritional yeast/cheese alternative, breadcrumbs, tomato paste, and Worcestershire, pulsing to combine to a “dough”.
- Adjust seasonings to taste preference, and pulse to combine if additions as added.
- Put new parchment paper on baking sheet.
- Scoop roughly 1 1/2 tbsp of mixture, roll into balls, and place on prepared baking sheet.
- Place in fridge for 15 minutes
- When the timer’s up, heat 2 tbsp of oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the meat-less balls and sauté for a few minutes, turning frequently to ensure a slight crust around each ball.
- Return the meat-less balls to the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown.
- Serve and enjoy!