The other day I found myself discussing the likes of textured soy and other various mimics of meat. I certainly don’t pretend I am a vegetarian but I will say, that there are some amazing vegan restaurants in NYC and I’m willing to try just about anything. Just don’t pretend you’ve created a substitute. The flavor and texture of meat is something I have never seen completely replicated and nor do I think it should be. These textured soy products work great for meat-like applications but if its meat you want, then it’s meat you must eat.
Last night I decided to mess around with the idea of meatless “meatballs”. I had a sandwich made of soy meatballs not too long ago at Sacred Chow on Sullivan St between Bleeker and W 3rd. It wasn’t bad. The texture was a bit mushy although they did a decent job of representing a meatball. The flavor was nice at first but after about half the sandwich it became increasingly clear I was eating soy. Would have I enjoyed the sandwich better if it had been called “soyball sandwich”? Rather than comparing it to the meatball, maybe this sandwich should have been it’s own thing. I wanted to take a stab at my own. Rather than messing around with soy products I decided to go a different route. Incorporating both black beans and cannelini beans I was able to get the color just about right while giving a really nice hearty flavor. Mixing in a little bit of quinoa, whisked eggs, and breadcrumbs I truly surprised myself. These “beanballs” had a much better taste and texture than those “soyballs” and honestly I could easily see making these again. Paired with orange lentils and roasted broccolini, this dish was extremely fulfilling.