We used to eat Morningstar Farms veggie products once or twice a week. They are convenient like any other frozen meal and they tasted good to us . . . especially the breakfast “sausage” and “bacon.” Ever since watching Jamie Oliver’s “Food Revolution,” I have questioned buying this stuff. Yes, it is vegetarian, but it is highly processed. The ingredient list is paragraphs long full of as many unpronounceable words as McDonald’s chicken nuggets. And, then there is the packaging – one cardboard box for 4-6 products packaged in multiple plastic bags. And, finally the expense. One box is nearly $5 retail.
With all this in mind, we gave up the green boxes a few months ago. I thought it was going to be hard to get off the veggie crack, but we barely batted our meatless eyelashes. We adjusted by making things like savory stuffing balls and freezing them to have on hand for a quick meal. There is often a bag of gnocchi or Asian dumplings in the freezer as well.
And, we haven’t given up “meat analogues” completely. We just make better choices . . . buying things like Quorn or Field Roast brands that are made from whole foods with few or no additives . . . and eat them occasionally instead of weekly. Some of you may wonder why we bother with fake meat at all . . . we ARE vegetarians after all. Yes, we are vegetarians, but we live in a meat eating society. We weren’t raised vegetarian and sometimes crave the comfort foods of our childhood. Meat analogues are convenient and sometimes add a flavor and texture that is difficult to find in, say, broccoli.
Savory Stuffing Balls
Adapted from the November 1994 issue of Veggie Life
makes 16 or more balls
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 cup panko breadcrumbs (This makes a lighter ball.)
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/3 cup minced yellow onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tablespoon each fresh parsley, sage, and basil (In the winter, I have fresh parsley, but not fresh sage and basil so I substitute 1 teaspoon dried.)
2 eggs beaten
1/2 teaspoon each smoked paprika, salt and pepper
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese, blended to the texture of ricotta (If you can get good ricotta, you can use that as well.)
1/2 cup grated parmesan or romano
- Mix the cornmeal, breadcrumbs, wheat germ, onion, garlic, parsley, sage, and basil. Add the egg, paprika, salt and pepper, blending well. Mix in the cheeses.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Form mixture into balls the size of walnuts, place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes, turning occasionally, until browned.
Most often we heat these up in a pan of jarred sauce and serve on sub rolls with fries or a salad on the side.