Reprinted with permission from “VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health … for Good” by Mark Bittman.
Makes: 4 servings
Time: About 1 hour
Combining grains with vegetables and meat makes for a better meatball, moister and more complex in texture and flavor. The combination here is bulgur and spinach, but any soaked or cooked grains (brown rice or steel-cut oats are also nice) work well, as do mashed beans (use about 1½ cups).
There are just as many ways to eat these meatballs as there are to cook them: Put a few on a tossed green salad, stuff into a pita with sliced cucumbers and tomatoes, or add them to the tomato sauce on page 239 and simmer for a few minutes, then serve with pasta or on toast.
¼ cup medium-grind bulgur
1 cup boiling water
1 pound ground beef, or lamb
1 cup chopped cooked spinach (thawed frozen is fine), squeezed as dry as possible
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
Black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
1) Combine the bulgur and boiling water in a small bowl; cover and soak until fully tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain in a strainer, then press out as much of the water as possible. Combine the bulgur, beef, spinach, garlic, and salt and sprinkle with pepper. Shape into 16 meatballs, handling them no more than is necessary.
2) Put the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, add some of the meatballs; work in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding. Cook, turning once or twice and adjusting the heat as necessary, until they’re firm and browned all over, 5 to 10 minutes. As they finish, transfer them to paper towels to drain and repeat with the remaining meatballs as necessary. Serve hot or at room temperature.
Nutritional Info (4 meatballs, made with 80% lean ground beef): Calories: 439 • Cholesterol: 81mg • Fat: 34g • Saturated Fat: 10g • Protein: 23g • Carbohydrates: 10g • Sodium: 609mg • Fiber: 3g • Trans Fat: 1g • Sugars: 0g