This last week we had snow day. Normally the thought of being stuck in my house in the dead of winter would cause anxiety to swell up like a balloon inside my chest, but on this day I was content to curl up on the couch and sip ginger tea while working from my living room.
I’ve been fighting winter tooth and nail for as long as I can remember. Some days it feels like shorter days and colder weather rob me of my healthiest life. Limited sunlight takes a toll on my mood while snow and ice make it impossible to run outside. I spend the season wishing the days away and keeping an eye out for the first signs of spring.
But this year has been different. Maybe it’s the walks I force myself to take on my lunch everyday, the therapy I’ve been doing for the past year, or the supplements I’ve added to my diet. Whatever the reason, my view of winter has shifted from a season of ice and dread to a time of relaxation and acceptance. Yes, the season makes it harder to stay happy and active, but this will pass.
I know I’m not alone. If you’re reading this and thinking, ‘same,’ I get it. These days are tough. But so are you. You’ve made it through winters before and this one is no different. Take care of you, get outside, eat well and remember that spring is right around the corner.
Warm and cozy foods have been an ally for me this winter. Digging into these vegan ‘meatballs’ at dinner is the equivalent of your mom handing you a cup of hot cocoa after playing outside in the snow all day. Portabello mushrooms lend the ‘meatiness’ to these meatballs while eggplant adds a nice, chewy texture. Do they taste like a regular meatball? Not exactly. Did my meat-loving husband still enjoy them over a large plate of pasta? You betcha.
This recipe is flexible. Because produce varies so much, the eggplants and mushrooms might add more or less water your mixture. The amount of breadcrumbs you need to add to thicken up the mixture will vary, but you’ll want the mixture to feel somewhat sticky while still being able to form a ball.
A bubbly skillet of vegan meatballs might just be what you need today to feel a little warm and cozy. If you give this recipe a try, give a shout out, I’d love to see it!
- 2 Tbsp olive oil Divided
- 1 Medium Eggplant Chopped
- 8 Oz Portabello Mushrooms Chopped
- 1 Medium Garlic Clove Finely Chopped
- 1 Tbsp Oregano
- 1/2 Tsp Salt
- 1/2-1 Cup Breadcrumbs
- 1 Jar Favorite Tomato Sauce We like Raos Marinara
- Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped eggplant to pan and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms are soft. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Season with oregano and salt.
- Taste the mixture to make sure there is enough salt, then transfer to a blender or food processor. Pulse until the eggplant and the mushroom are finely chopped but still a little chunky. Spoon the mixture into a large bowl and stir in half a cup of breadcrumbs. Check the mixture by scooping a heaping spoonful (about 3 tablespoons) and forming into a ball. If the mixture is tacky and doesn't form a round ball, add more breadcrumbs. The mixture will be sticky, but should still hold the shape of a ball. Form the rest of your meatballs and place on a plate.
- Return the pan to the stove top and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Carefully add your meatballs to the pan and cook until the meatballs are browned turning them frequently to ensure browning on all sides. Add your tomato sauce to the pan and bring to a gentle simmer. Serve meatballs over your favorite pasta, with zoodles, or in a toasted bun. Enjoy!