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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Quinoa Veggie Balls

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There are different varieties of eggplant. I have the standard eggplant that everyone’s familiar with, and also 2 smaller tiger eggplants. For this recipe today, I going to use just the one larger eggplant.

 

Yields: 2 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3-5 minutes (time may vary slightly)

Ingredients:
2 zucchini and 1 yellow squash peeled
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/4 cup of water
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Yields: 22-24 quinoa balls
Equipment: food processor, mesh strainer, saucepan with lid, 2 baking sheets
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 2 hours
Cook Time:  roughly, 1 hour
Roasted Eggplant 30 minutes Quinoa 20 minutes ( cook at the same time)
Quinoa veggies balls 20-25 minutes

Ingredients:
3 cups of cooked quinoa
1/2 diced red, yellow and orange bell peppers, 1/2 a large onion, and 3 cloves of garlic that have been minced in a food processor, then drained.
1-1/4 cups of roasted and processed egg plant
1-1/2 cups of fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup of fresh Italian flat leaf parsley leaves
1 jar of sweet organic potato and apricot puree
1 tablespoon of ketchup
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of ground chili powder
1 tablespoon of ground cumin
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
2 large beaten eggs
1-1/4 cups of Italian style bread crumbs, plus 1/2 cup for reserved for coating the quinoa balls.
Olive oil for drizzling over the quinoa balls

Directions:
First, let’s talk about preparing the zucchini and yellow squash. Cut lengthwise slices from the zucchini and squash using a julienne peeler.I like leaving the skins on but that’s optional. Stop when seeds are reached. Turn the the zucchini over and repeat on the other side. Do the same with the yellow squash. Note:  Because it the veggie pasta doesn’t take very long to cook, wait until the quinoa veggies balls come out of the oven before starting the pasta.

To cook the zucchini pasta, heat the olive oil in large saute pan over medium heat, saute and stir the vegetable pasta strands in the oil for 1 minute. Add water and cook until the vegetable pasta is softened, (time may vary slightly) 3-5 minutes. Season with Kosher salt and pepper.

To roast the eggplant, preheat oven to 400 degrees F., cut it lengthwise, place them onto a baking sheet lightly greased with non-stick cooking spray. Drizzle the tops with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and Kosher salt and pepper to taste. Roast them in the oven until softened and golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before removing the flesh.

While the eggplant is roasting in the oven, prepare the quinoa.  In a fine mesh strainer, add the 1 cup of quinoa. Rinse thoroughly with cool water for about 2 minutes. Rub and swish the quinoa with your hands while rinsing. Drain. Note: 1 cup of dried quinoa equals 3 cups of cooked quinoa.

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in the saucepan over med-high heat, and add in the drained quinoa. Cook, stirring, for about 1 minute to let the water evaporate and toast the quinoa. Stir in 2 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt. Bring to a roaring boil. Lower the heat setting. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Remove  the pot from the heat and let stand for another 5 minutes, covered. Don’t peek! At this point all the water should be absorbed. Note: If not, return the pan to the heat, covered for another 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Finally transfer the quinoa to a large bowl. Grate, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese to the quinoa.

In a food processor add  large diced red, yellow, and orange bells peppers, diced onion, along with garlic that’s been chopped into large pieces. Pulse until finely minced. Transfer to a fine mesh strainer to release any extra water coming from the veggies. Let veggies stay in strainer until all or most liquid has drained off, about 10 minutes. Then add the strained veggies to the bowl with the quinoa.

To the food processor add the fresh herbs and pulse a few times until the herbs are finely minced. Then add the minced herbs to the bowl with the other ingredients.

Next,  remove the flesh of the eggplant from its skin. Add the flesh to the food processor and pulse until blended. To the bowl with the eggplant!

Now the hard part is done, just a few more ingredients then in the frig with this mixture. First, for the spices, add in cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, dried oregano, Kosher salt, and black pepper. Add in 1 jar of organic sweet potato and apricot baby puree, Italian style bread crumbs, ketchup, and beaten eggs. Mix  all these ingredients together really well, cover with plastic wrap and place into the frig.

Let the quinoa mixture set up in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.

Next, is to get two baking sheets lined with parchment paper ready. Pull the quinoa mixture out of the frig, using a 2 ounce scoop (the size of walnuts), scoop out the mixture into your hands roll them into a balls. A couple at a time, drop them into a shallow bowl with Italian style bread crumbs. Roll them around in the bread crumbs, until coated, shake off the excess, and place them onto the baking sheet.

Drizzle the tops of the quinoa balls with olive oil to help them brown evenly. Bake them off at 350 degrees F. for 20-25 minutes or until they are golden brown. While the quinoa balls are baking, cook off the zucchini pasta as explained above. If you have homemade Marinara sauce on hand that’s perfect, if not use your favorite jarred brand.

Cooked quinoa balls can be stored in refrigerator for 3-5 days in air tight zip lock bag.

To plate, place the zucchini pasta on the bottom of the plate, and set your quinoa balls around the veggie pasta. Ladle some sauce over the top. While everything is piping hot, grate some cheese over the top.

 

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Gluten-Free Zucchini And Cremini Mushroom Gratin

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Gluten-Free Zucchini And Cremini Mushroom Gratin are the easiest and the most elegant looking appetizers to serve to your guests. Everyone gets their own individual dish. That always seems to make friends and family feel extra special.

Whenever I make a tomato sauce, I always seem to have plenty left over. There’s just two of us so I’m always trying to think up different ways to use any leftover sauce. That’s how this dish came to be. This recipe can be made easy enough if you don’t have leftover sauce, use your favorite jarred marinara sauce.

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In a bowl is my leftover tomato sauce. If you don’t have any leftover homemade tomato sauce, substitute your favorite jarred sauce.

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Prep Time: 25 minutes, (the slicing and sautèeing of the vegetables)
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Equipment: 3 gratin dishes, 1 rimmed sheet pan, 12-inch sauté pan
Yields: 3 servings

Ingredients:
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil for sautèeing mushrooms
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 zucchini, sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced
3/4 cup homemade marinara sauce (substitute your favorite jarred marinara sauce)
2 tablespoons of thyme leaves (or 1 tablespoon dried thyme)
1 tablespoon Kosher salt (for seasoning zucchini and squash)
1 teaspoon black pepper (for seasoning zucchini and squash
1/4 cup Ricotta cheese
1/4 cup half and half
1 large egg
3/4 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese  plus 3 tablespoons for the top of each gratin
1/4 cup of freshly chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley (reserve 2 tablespoons for garnish)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
In a large sautépan over medium-high heat, carefully melt the unsalted butter with the olive oil. Add the sliced mushrooms and fresh thyme leaves.

Sautè the mushrooms, about 5 to 7 minutes, or until they’re brown and tender. Only then season with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.

Note: Wait to salt the mushrooms until they browned completely. This process allows them to brown and not steam from the water they release.

Slice 2 zucchinis and 1 yellow squash about 1/2 an inch thick. Place them into a bowl and sprinkle with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Using the same sautèpan, on medium heat, add the olive oil. Give the oil a chance to get hot but not where it’s smoking.

Arrange the sliced zucchini and squash in one layer in the pan, do not to overcrowd the veggies. This needs to be done in two separate batches. They will shallow fry for about 2 minutes per side. Do this just long enough for the veggies to soften and get some nice color on them before they go into the gratin dishes.

Again, have another large plate lined with a paper towel ready for the sautéed veggies once they’re finished cooking to drain off any extra grease.

While that’s working, go ahead and process the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese in a food processor.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl add the ricotta, egg, half and half, chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley,  3/4 cup of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and a pinch each of Kosher salt and black pepper, mix to combine.  If you are using leftover marinara or are using jarred, have it ready.

In each of 3 gratin dishes, place a layer of the zucchini and squash. Next, and a thin layer of the marinara sauce. To that, add the sautèed mushrooms. Sprinkle a little of the reserved grated cheese on top of the mushrooms. Next spoon on a third of the ricotta cheese mixture.

Finally, top each gratin with a tablespoon of the grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Place the dishes on a rimmed sheet pan. Bake for 30 minutes. When the Zucchini And Cremini Mushroom Gratins come out of the oven, garnish with the parsley.

Serve hot.

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Roasted Eggplant Vegetarian Meatballs In Marinara Sauce

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I’ve been working on some new recipes for, my daughter, Melissa to try. It’s my Roasted Eggplant Vegetarian Meatballs In Marinara Sauce. Melissa’s led a meat-free lifestyle for quite a few years. Now, as far as any gluten allergies, Melissa doesn’t have any but Tonya, a good friend of mine, believes she may. My Roasted Eggplant Vegetarian Meatballs In Marinara Sauce is gluten-free. I think it’s really helpful to have someone that’s happy to try a new recipe I’m testing and get their input.

I knew this recipe needed to have great flavor, this way, the lack of having any type of meat wouldn’t be missed at all. I’m not saying that this dish is for everyone, but if you choose a meat-free and gluten-free lifestyle, I can tell you this dish does not disappoint. Also for the meat lover who just wants to cut down on the amount of meat in your diet, this is a great alternative.

Roasted Eggplant Vegetarian Meatballs In Marinara Sauce

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Prep Time: 40 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 24 hours
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 day plus 1 1/2 hours
Yields: 30 to 32 2-ounce meatballs
Equipment: 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, 10-cup food processor, large mixing bowl, 6-quart Dutch oven

Ingredients For Roasted Eggplant and Cremini Mushrooms:
1 whole eggplant, top removed and sliced in half
1/4 cup of olive oil, divided evenly between the halves, plus 2 tablespoons
1 tablespoon Kosher salt, divided evenly between the halves
1 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper, divided evenly between the halves

Ingredients For Roasted Eggplant Meatballs:
1 roasted eggplant, puréed
1 pint of roasted cremini mushrooms, puréed
1 8-ounce jar of Piquillo peppers, puréed
1 jar of marinated artichokes with their oil, puréed
1 15-ounce can of Cannellini beans, puréed
1 onion diced purèed
3 whole garlic cloves purèed
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh oregano leaves
3 tablespoon of chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley (reserve 2 tablespoons for garnish)
3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 large egg
3 1/2 cups of gluten-free bread crumbs

Ingredients For Marinara Sauce:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 diced onion
3 cloves of minced garlic
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of dried basil leaves
2 tablespoons of light brown sugar
1/4 cup chicken broth, unsalted
2 28-ounce cans of San Marzano tomatoes
1 8-ounce jar of pureed Piquillo peppers, puréed
1 to 2 tablespoons of freshly torn basil leaves, (plus basil for garnish)

Directions For Roasting Eggplant:
The day before serving this dish you want to make the vegetarian meatballs.
Step 1: Roast the eggplant and cremini mushrooms.

Preheat oven to 425-degrees F.
Start by cutting the top off the eggplant then slicing a whole eggplant in half.  Drizzle each half with olive oil then sprinkle with Kosher salt and black pepper. Place the eggplant halves on a rimmed baking sheet pan, cut side down, roast for 20 to 25 minutes.

At the same time, spread sliced cremini mushrooms onto a sheet pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil toss to coat then spread out into one even layer. Roast for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

This step needs to be done in two batches. Add half of the following ingredients to the food processor at a time. Start with the Cannellini beans, marinated artichokes with their oil, roasted Piquillo peppers, whole garlic cloves, diced onions, Kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. Pulse until combined. Refer to the picture above. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Repeat this process with the remaining half until all the ingredients are puréed.

Once the eggplant has finished cooking, remove the flesh from each half and place into a food processor with the cremini mushrooms. Process until combined. Refer to the picture above. Add the eggplant mixture to the rest of the processed vegetables. Refer to the picture above.

To the same bowl add a beaten egg, gluten-free bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce, fresh oregano, fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, cayenne pepper, ground cumin, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Using your hands, mix to combine.

To ensure all of the vegetarian meatballs are the same size, use a 2-ounce cookie-dough scoop. Scoop and form the vegetable mixture into golf-size balls. Place them on baking sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Transfer the vegetarian balls to the refrigerator to set overnight.

Next-Day:
Preheat a large Dutch oven (or heavy bottom pot with a lid) over medium heat. Add olive oil and the diced onions. Sauté the onions until they become translucent, about 3 to 5 minutes. Next, add tomato paste, minced garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, dried oregano, dried basil, brown sugar, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, stirring all the ingredients as they cook for another 5 minutes.

For the liquids, add chicken broth allow to come up to a bubble then let reduce by half. Next, add the crushed tomatoes and puréed Piquillo peppers, stir to combine. Turn the heat down to low and let the sauce simmer for 40 minutes. Turn the heat off.

Remove the pot from the heat and add torn basil leaves, stir to combine. Cover to keep warm.

Preheat oven to 275-degrees F.
Remove the vegetarian meatballs from the refrigerator. Drizzle a little olive oil over the top of each of the veggie balls. Transfer the pans of the vegetarian meatballs on the middle rack for 15 to 20 minutes, just until they’re warmed through. Keep a close eye on them.

Note: Due to the fact that these are vegetarian balls, they may flatten slightly, on the bottom, during the warming process. Halfway through the cooking process, use two spoons to gently turn them over to keep the integrity of their shape.

To Serve: Ladle the hot Marinara sauce on the bottom of a serving dish. Arrange the Roasted Eggplant Vegetarian Meatballs on top, ladling a little of the Marinara Sauce over each one. Garnish with Italian flat-leaf parsley and fresh basil. Serve hot.

Tip: Roasted Eggplant Vegetarian Meatballs can be stored in airtight resealable bags and frozen.

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