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Hi, I'm Judy Mayer

Eating doesn’t have to be so hard, but for many confusion exists about what’s healthy and what’s not. Bombarded with so much information — much of it in the form of silver bullets and easy answers — people often don’t know where to turn...
Judy Mayer

Have a Ball!

What's For Dinner
Timely advice, tasty tips and a little tough love from Outpost's resident nutritionist, Judy Mayer. By Judy Mayer on November 19, 2012


Every Thanksgiving I prepare a vegetarian entrée to go along with the traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner. My variety of stuffed squash recipes or past years of tofurkeys were the usual solution to my meatless entrées. This year while searching for something deliciously different I came upon a recipe for Veggie Balls. Yes, vegetarian meatballs. They’re pretty mainstream these days in frozen food departments and several brands are really quite good. But, being the food purest I am I’d always prefer to make my own. I gave this recipe a try – lots of ingredients and many steps – but worth every bite and I think a new meatless favorite for the  Thanksgiving feast. 


The Veggie Balls recipe comes from The Meatball Shop in Manhattan. The recipe was featured in a 2011 New York Times well blog along with other recipes from the Meatball Shop.  http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/14/the-meatball-shop-goes-vegetarian/ This is not a vegan recipe.


The Veggie Balls were served with Spinach-Basil Pesto.


Since I am a lover of horseradish sauce and recently dug up a horseradish root from my daughter’s garden, I thought it would be a nice accompaniment to the Veggie Balls. Indeed it is.


Not only are you getting the great nutrients from all the vegetables and healthy, lean protein from the lentils but also the benefits of the horseradish root. Horseradish clears your sinuses, aids in digestion and packs a punch against Listeria, E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus and other food pathogens you definitely wouldn’t want in your food.


The Meatball Shop's Veggie Balls

Makes about 2 dozen 1 1/2-inch meatballs (more or less depending upon the size you make)

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced (I added 2)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons tomato paste
8 ounces button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced (I chopped them)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup whole grain bread crumbs

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning (my addition)
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

4 cups cooked brown lentils



1. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil to a large frying pan and sauté the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme and salt over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and just beginning to brown. Add the tomato paste and continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for 15 more minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature..


2. When mixture has cooled, add the eggs, Parmesan, bread crumbs, poultry seasoning, parsley, walnuts and lentils to the cooled vegetables and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated. Place in the refrigerator for 25 minutes.


3.  Preheat oven to 375°. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and use your hand to evenly coat the entire surface. Set aside.


4. Roll the mixture into round golf ball-size meatballs (about 1 1/2 inches), making sure to pack the vegetable mixture firmly. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, allowing 1/4 inch of space between the balls and in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid. 


5. Roast for 30 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through. Allow the meatballs to cool for 5 minutes in the baking dish before serving.

After baking my first test batch I decided to add an additional 1/2 cup of bread crumbs and 1/4 cup of flax meal to make a firmer ball for better results.

Per serving (about 3 large): 295 calories, 13g fat, 3g sat fat, 7g mono fat, 12g protein, 779mg sodium, 6g fiber

Note: Using 1 teaspoon of salt will reduce sodium to 512mg


Horseradish Sauce Recipe

Makes 1 cup


6 tablespoons prepared horseradish

1/2 cup plain low fat Greek yogurt

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons chopped chives or the greens of a green onion


1. In a medium sized bowl combine all ingredients. Mix well with a wire whisk. Serve as a sauce for dipping, as an accompaniment for salads or drizzled over Veggie Balls.

Per serving (2 tablespoons): 39 calories, 3g fat, 2g carbohydrates, 2g protein, 80mg sodium, trace fiber


Enjoy and have a happy Thanksgiving!




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