The post introducing the recipe for tofu-pecan meatballs is still one of the most popular posts ever on MSV, and for good reason. These little guys are savory, a little earthy, totally fun, and blissfully chewy. This version adds cilantro and parsley to the meatballs themselves to echo the fresh quantity pureed into an irresistible chimichurri sauce.
Strips of sweet roasted red pepper beautifully complement the rich, fragrant, garlicky and zippy green sauce. For best results, grab the freshest garlic you can find.
Chimichurri Tofu-Pecan Meatball Sandwiches
see [Note] on yield , meatballs adapted from here
For the meatballs:
1 cup water
1 cup TVP (textured vegetable protein)
1 lb Twin Oaks brand extra-firm tofu [see note on tofu]
1/2 cup unsalted pecans
3 sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, roughly chopped
2 TBSP reduced-sodium tamari
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1 cup oat bran
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp fine sea or kosher salt
1/4 cup loosely packed flat-leaf parsley, tough stems removed, finely chopped
1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro, tough stems removed, finely chopped
sliced roasted red pepper
Parsley-Cilantro Chimichurri, recipe follows
Boil one cup water in a small sauce pan. Remove from heat, stir in TVP, and let sit 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, roughly crumble the tofu into a food processor. Add pecans, sun-dried tomatoes, tamari, and liquid smoke. Process well, until uniform with no large chunks of pecans.
In a large mixing bowl, combine oat bran, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt, chopped parsley, and chopped cilantro. Stir to combine, add the tofu-pecan mixture, and mix thoroughly (hands are best). Add reconstituted TVP when cool enough to handle and mix until incorporated.
Form meatballs, place them in a lightly oiled slow cooker and cook on low 4-5 hours (you may need 5-6 hours for golf-ball size). Alternately, bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes, until warmed through and golden.
To assemble, place meatballs on a bun (toasted on the cut sides, if desired), spoon on a scant tablespoon of sauce, top with pepper strips, then sandwich.
Note on yield: recipe yields 36-40 ping-pong size meatballs or 26-30 golf-ball size. Sandwiches will require 3-4 meatballs per bun, depending on bun size.
Note on tofu: Twin Oaks extra-firm is exceptionally dense. If you use a different brand, look for super-firm, or press your extra-firm tofu for 20-30 minutes, then weigh it out for the recipe.
1/2 cup loosely packed cilantro, tough stems removed
1/2 cup loosely packed parsley, tough stems removed
1 TBSP fresh oregano leaves
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 TBSP rice vinegar (unseasoned), (or white wine or red wine vinegar)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 small shallot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 small jalapeno, trimmed, seeded, and roughly chopped
1/4 tsp fine sea or kosher salt
Puree all ingredients until smooth. Adjust salt, and vinegar, if needed.