Vegan tempeh meatballs inspired by the flavors of tandoori. These make a great appetizer and also taste fantastic stuffed in wraps and sandwiches, or added to grain bowls and salads. Includes recipes for a cold yogurt dipping sauce plus an optional tandoori-yogurt sauce to be served warm, coating the meatballs.Vegan with gluten-free and oil-free options (see Notes).Yield: makes 14 meatballs; serves 2 to 3 people as a main course or 4 to 5 as an appetizer.Spice blend adapted from Rachael Ray Show's tandoori spice mix.
In a small bowl whisk together the 8 ingredients that make up the spice blend. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C), and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Use a food processor to pulse the bread into large crumbs. Pour into a bowl and set aside.
Preheat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil, and cook the onion and tempeh 5 to 7 minutes or until the tempeh is golden. Reduce heat to medium-low. Slide tempeh and onion to one side of pan, and add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to other side of pan. Add the garlic and 2 ½ teaspoons of the spice blend directly to the oil. Stir, then combine with the tempeh and onion. Stirring frequently, cook for 1 minute and remove from heat.
Transfer tempeh mixture to a food processor. Pulse 5 or 6 times or until mostly chopped and uniform. Add the breadcrumbs, salt, and yogurt, and process until well combined.
Use a spoon or small cookie scoop to portion out meatballs (about 1 ½ tablespoon per ball). Roll between palms, and place on lined baking sheet. Bake 25 to 28 minutes, flipping at the halfway point.
To make the yogurt dipping sauce, either use the food processor (rinse first), or combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk by hand (make sure cilantro and mint are finely chopped). Transfer to a serving bowl.
If making the tandoori-yogurt sauce, preheat a saute pan over medium-low heat. In a bowl whisk together the yogurt, remaining 1 ¼ teaspoons spice blend, turmeric, water, hot sauce, and a pinch of salt. Add to the pan, and immediately add the meatballs. Toss to coat. When the sauce is hot, remove from heat and serve.
I tested this recipe with homemade breadcrumbs, once made from a slice of whole-grain sandwich bread and once from a whole-wheat bun. I used ½ cup. If using store-bought crumbs, you'll want to use the lesser amount mentioned in the recipe, ¼ cup, as they're not as large and fluffy as homemade.
To make this recipe gluten-free, substitute your favorite GF bread. Also, make sure the tempeh you purchase is gluten-free and not a variety made with grains.
The small amount of oil used in the sauté enhances the flavor of the spices, but if you strictly avoid added oils in your diet, feel free to omit. Use a splash of water or broth as needed for the sauté.
Store leftover meatballs in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Can also be frozen for 1 to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, and reheat on the stovetop.