These savory balls have a buttery taste from a combination of walnuts, pecans, and sautéed vegetables. They are delicious topped on pasta with a good quality pasta sauce, but can also be used as finger foods to dip in a warmed marinara sauce, or formed into patties and eaten as veggie burgers. Recipe by Dreena Burton.
In a skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onion, celery, dried oregano, thyme, sea salt, and pepper. Cook for 9-13 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions and celery soften and are golden brown.
Once onions and celery have softened some, add them to a food processor with the remaining ingredients (except olive oil for frying), and process until the mixture becomes crumbly, and then scrape down the sides of the bowl. Process again to incorporate any larger pieces, and just as mixture becomes sticky and/or forms a ball, stop processor.
Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour (chilling will make it firmer and easier to form). Take small spoonfuls of the mixture (about 1 tbsp) and form into balls with your hands (rinse your hands when needed to keep mixture from sticking to your palms).
In a skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add the balls and fry for 5-6 minutes (reduce heat if burning), shifting the pan to turn sides of balls every minute or two to form a golden crust fairly evenly around the balls.
Remove, and serve warm with pasta and tomato sauce, or with dipping sauce of choice.
Note: If you don’t want to use the vital wheat gluten, you can omit it. The gluten flour adds some stability to the texture of the balls, so if you omit it, the balls may just be a touch crumbly.
Note: These balls are tastiest and most moist when pan-fried, but if you would prefer baking them, you can do so. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and bake at 400 degrees for about 7-10 minutes, until golden brown.
Idea: Don’t know what to do with leftovers? Refrigerate them and use another day as a sandwich filling, simply mashing and stirring in vegan mayonnaise, and chopped veggies if you like.