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November 2, 2009

Jessy's Spicy Mexi-Meatlessball Soup

I dream about meat. True story. I'm coming up on my 4-year vegetarian anniversary, and I still have dreams about eating meat. As it turns out, meat-eating dreams are not uncommon among vegetarians (or rather, I've come across 3 others, so I figure it must not be, right?). For me, no two meat dreams have been identical, but there are three things that are almost always the same: 1). It is always some kind of red meat, 2). I steal the meat from an unsuspecting civilian when their back is turned, and 3). Despite the occasional hot dog or hamburger, more times than not, the meat that comes to me in my dreams is in the form of meatballs.  I always wake up feeling guilty and confused, how could I be such a thieving meat-eater? And what's the deal with meatballs? Meatballs weren't even my thing when I did eat meat. 

Despite not ever really liking the real deal, I was tickled by the idea of making vegetarian meatballs. And let me tell you, Jessy's Spicy Mexi-Meatlessball Soup is a dream come true! In fact, she has a whole series of meatlessball posts last month featuring main ingredients such as lentils, butternut squash, and white beans. My imagination is running wild with meatlessball ideas. Hey, and you never know, if I eat enough meatlessballs maybe my meatball dreams will go away!

Jessy's Spicy Mexi-Meatlessball Soup
(adapted from happyveganface)

1 package tempeh
1 large yellow onion, finely diced, divided
28 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
1 zucchini, finely diced, divided
1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, well chopped
1-1/2 fresh jalapenos, minced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp dried oregano, divided
2 tbsp dried parsley, divided
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp water (for the meatlessball mix)
1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp cumin, divided
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1-1/2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp sea salt, divided
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 not-chicken bouillon cube
7 cups of water
olive oil cooking spray

Steam tempeh for 15-20 minutes and then grate it, or give it a few hearty pulses in the food processor until well crumbled.
Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in the large pot. Saute 1/2 the finely diced zucchini, 1/2 the finely diced onions, and the jalapenos on medium heat until soft. Add 1 tbsp oregano, 1 tbsp parsley, 1 tsp cumin, 2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp sea salt, and the paprika. Cook for another minute, remove from heat, then add in the tempeh, 2 tbsp water, cornstarch, ketchup, cilantro, tahini, and lime juice. Adjust seasonings to taste then form into small balls (16-18) and set aside.
Wipe out the pot and spray it with a little olive oil cooking spray. Heat to medium and saute the other half of the onion and zucchini along with the bell pepper until the onions begin to brown. Add the tomatoes and the remaining spices, chili flakes, and the other 1/2 tsp of sea salt - saute for a few more minutes (about 3-5).
Add water, bouillon cube, and tomato paste and bring it to a boil. Cover, lower heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.
While the soup is simmering get back to the meatlessballs. Spray cooking spray in the large skillet and heat on medium heat. Add in the meatlessballs and saute until they begin to brown, turning them every few minutes. Once browned turn off the heat and cover with the lid while the soup finishes simmering. Add in meatlessballs and simmer for 5 more minutes, then remove from heat and serve.

*Note that my photo doesn't showcase all the awesomeness going on in the broth like the onions, peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini because the bowl was too deep, but trust me they are there, and they are yummy!!


  1. That is too funny! I love that you always steal the meat in your dreams...since both eating meat and stealing are both things you wouldn't do in real life, maybe the dreams are hinting at some desire to do something taboo...not necessary stealing or eating meat, just something you shouldn't be doing...

    Anyway, I'm always trying to analyze people's dreams...the soup looks delicious. I love Jessy's recipes, but I musta missed this one.

  2. hiya, Sarah! i just wanted to say that we're most happyfaced that you tried one of our recipes & enjoyed it so much! thank you for the kind words & the rock'n shout-out - you're too awesome! i too have some meat themed dreams sometimes. that's too funny! ah ha ha!

    i love that you used smoked paprika - such a tasty touch, indeed! we'll totally be using some for our next batch of spicy mexi-meatlessball soup! mmmmmmmmmmmmm!

  3. That Meatlessball Soup looks and sounds so delicious! You did such a great job, the photo came out absolutely beautiful! What a funny dream you have:)

    p.s. Please stop by my blog when you have a minute to receive a blog award:)

  4. Great idea! Often I like soup w/a bit of substance, so I'll pair it with bread. But I think this will do the trick! Yum!

  5. ooooh! spicy! A great dish for cold rainy days in Seattle... like today ;)

  6. so creative! i have never seen something like this and it is SUCH a good idea!!

  7. i've been looking for a new soup to make soon, and the spicy mexi meatlessball sounds AWESOME. meatballs in soup + mexican-ness...can't really beat that.


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