VVP: Minted Moroccan Meatballs + Aromatic Barley

It’s Virtual Vegan Potluck time, and I couldn’t be more excited! Have you seen some of these crazy-gorgeous blogs and food? Once you’ve taken a peek at this recipe that I created just for the Potluck, take some time to scroll through and see what everyone else has cooked up! You’re going to be very hungry (if only the Internet had smell-o-vision).

The Little Foxes Minted Moroccan Meatballs Aromatic Barley Vegan Vegetarian Recipe Ashlee Piper Virtual Vegan Potluck May 2013 Middle Eastern

When I was a kid, my parents and I would go to a local Moroccan restaurant (in Plano, Texas of all places), and being the enthusiastic carnivore I once was, I would GET DOWN on some kefta, or Middle Eastern meatballs made with lamb, bulgur wheat, and gorgeous spices. Now I know better and wouldn’t even think of doing more than snuggling a lamb, but I still appreciate the concept of a compact, toothsome ‘meatball’ infused with aromatic Middle Eastern spices. These magical morsels taste ridiculously savory, thanks to an easy to make slurry of mushrooms, chickpeas, and spices. Best of all, they’re healthier than your standard meatball. Why? No eggs, no added oil, and lots of whole grains and nutrient-rich veggies.

The Little Foxes Minted Moroccan Meatballs Aromatic Barley Vegan Vegetarian Recipe Ashlee Piper Virtual Vegan Potluck May 2013 Middle Eastern

And nestled atop a bed of fresh barley with pine nuts, lemon, and other aromatics, this dish is the perfect unexpected take-along to your next function. Why? Well, firstly, because the mint, parsley, and other flavors really come through, and that’s kinda neat. And, because every good potluck has hummus and other similarly dreamy dips, and these meatballs are taken to a whole. other. level. when they’re dragged through creamy baba ganouj, or drizzled with tahini-based sauces. In other words, this dish plays well with others.

The Little Foxes Minted Moroccan Meatballs Aromatic Barley Vegan Vegetarian Recipe Ashlee Piper Virtual Vegan Potluck May 2013 Middle Eastern

Minted Moroccan Meatballs with Aromatic Barley

  • Yields: 28 meatballs, 15 servings of barley
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes (depending upon whether you use quick-cook or traditional barley)

Ingredients:

The Little Foxes Minted Moroccan Meatballs Aromatic Barley Vegan Vegetarian Recipe Ashlee Piper Virtual Vegan Potluck May 2013 Middle Eastern

For the Minted Moroccan Meatballs –

  • 12 Baby Bella Mushrooms (aka: Cremini), rinsed
  • 1 cube of vegan bouillon
  • 1/2 can of chickpeas
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 cup bulgur wheat, ground in to a medium meal
  • 2/3 cups vital wheat gluten
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, ground in to a coarse meal (I still like lots of in-tact pine nuts peeking out)
  • 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chiffonade
  • 3 tbsp fresh mint, chiffonade
  • 2 tbsp flax seed meal
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper, coarsely ground

For the Aromatic Barley –

  • 8.8 oz barley (I used the entire package of Trader Joe’s 10 Minute Quick Cook Barley, cooked to package instructions)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, for sauteeing
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and mashed
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley, chiffonade
  • dash of cinnamon, to taste
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

Assembly:

  • Preheat oven to 400F degrees and prepare two baking sheets with parchment or silpat.
  • In a high-speed blender, combine mushrooms, veggie bouillon cube, chickpeas, Sriracha, and water. Blend until smooth. This should yield about 2 cups of liquid. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine the bulgur, vital wheat gluten, pine nut meal, flaxseed meal, parsley, mint, and finely diced onions.
  • Slowly add remaining meatball ingredients (including spices and lemon juice) and gradually add the 2 cups of mushroom liquid until a sticky dough-like consistency is achieved.
  • Work the ‘dough’ by-hand or with a spatula to further activate the vital wheat gluten (you should see strands forming) and to ensure all ingredients are evenly assimilated.
  • Form the dough in to 1/2 inch balls (or larger, if you like) and place evenly on prepared baking sheets. You may drizzle or spray the meatballs with a little olive oil to encourage more browning during cooking, if you like.

The Little Foxes Minted Moroccan Meatballs Aromatic Barley Vegan Vegetarian Recipe Ashlee Piper Virtual Vegan Potluck May 2013 Middle Eastern

  • Crank the oven up to 425F and bake for 30 minutes.
  • While those are baking, cook your barley according to package instructions.
  • In a separate skillet, sautee your olive oil, garlic, and onions on high until caramelized (about 5 – 7 minutes depending upon your stove’s heat).
  • Once caramelized, add pine nuts and stir consistently to allow for browning and toasting (not burning).

The Little Foxes Minted Moroccan Meatballs Aromatic Barley Vegan Vegetarian Recipe Ashlee Piper Virtual Vegan Potluck May 2013 Middle Eastern

  • Once toasted, remove skillet from heat and set aside.
  • Drain and rinse cooked barley with cold water. Ensure all of the liquid is drained from the barley and put in a large bowl.

The Little Foxes Minted Moroccan Meatballs Aromatic Barley Vegan Vegetarian Recipe Ashlee Piper Virtual Vegan Potluck May 2013 Middle Eastern

  • Add your skillet mixture, lemon juice, fresh parsley, cinnamon, and anything else you’d like to your barley. This could be made EXTRA amazing if you could get your hands on some Zatar, Sumac, or you added dried currants or soaked golden raisins. What what!

The Little Foxes Minted Moroccan Meatballs Aromatic Barley Vegan Vegetarian Recipe Ashlee Piper Virtual Vegan Potluck May 2013 Middle Eastern

  • Once cooked, remove your meatballs from the oven. They should be firm, browned, and crispy on the outside. For a softer meatball, you can rinse these quickly (like one second) under the tap to lend extra softness (this won’t affect the taste at all).

The Little Foxes Minted Moroccan Meatballs Aromatic Barley Vegan Vegetarian Recipe Ashlee Piper Virtual Vegan Potluck May 2013 Middle Eastern

  • For a potluck, I recommend nestling the aromatic barley in a large casserole dish and placing the meatballs on top. Sprinkle with more fresh parsley and mint, and serve.

The Little Foxes Minted Moroccan Meatballs Aromatic Barley Vegan Vegetarian Recipe Ashlee Piper Virtual Vegan Potluck May 2013 Middle Eastern

The Little Foxes Minted Moroccan Meatballs Aromatic Barley Vegan Vegetarian Recipe Ashlee Piper Virtual Vegan Potluck May 2013 Middle Eastern

Like this recipe? Follow me on Facebook and Twitter to get the latest deliciousness.

Want to see other recipes + blogs from the Virtual Vegan Potluck? Click the links below and prepare to be wowed!

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  • http://blog.veganosaurus.com Susmitha – Veganosaurus

    Woah! Nom nom nom. That is all.

    • http://thelilfoxes.com The Little Foxes

      Thanks, girlfriend!

  • http://www.veganmiam.com veganmiam

    I love your step-by-step photos! The Moroccan meatballs look beyond amazing. I have never made barley before, but would love to incorporate this into my dishes someday, thank you for the inspiration. xx

    Happy Virtual Vegan Potluck 3.0 Day!!!!

    ♡ rika, vegan miam
    http://www.veganmiam.com
    ★ we travel + eat vegan blog ★

    • http://thelilfoxes.com The Little Foxes

      Thank you, Rika! Means a lot coming from you. Definitely try barley. It has a wonderful chewiness to it.

  • http://veganricha.com Richa

    those meatballs are perfect! and such an amazing addition to make a meal fancy… i bet they taste awesome!

    • http://thelilfoxes.com The Little Foxes

      Thanks, Richa. Wish we could all have a real Potluck and chow down! :)

  • http://eatpraybake.wordpress.com eatpraybake

    wow looks amazing!

    • http://thelilfoxes.com The Little Foxes

      Thank you, lovely!

  • http://invegetableswetrust.wordpress.com alexanderwillowharvey

    I knew I would love this post! Beautiful dish as well!

    • http://thelilfoxes.com The Little Foxes

      Thanks, babycakes. Can’t you see these meatballs and your baba having a nice little party together? 😀

      • http://invegetableswetrust.wordpress.com alexanderwillowharvey

        baba does like to party…..

  • http://deerlybelovedbakery.blogspot.com deerly beloved bakery

    Oh wow I cannot wait to make this! Thank you for sharing your recipe! Happy Potluck! X

    • http://thelilfoxes.com The Little Foxes

      Thank you, Deerly Beloved! Please let me know how they turn out for you!

  • Lil Sis Veganaut المغربي الفول

    My big brother Jason is going to be so excited for his next visit to see me because I am so making these!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • http://thelilfoxes.com The Little Foxes

      Yay! Let me know how they turn out for you. Have a wonderful visit together.

  • Ula

    I can’t wait to try these!

    • http://thelilfoxes.com The Little Foxes

      Thanks! Let me know how they turn out for ya!

  • http://luminousvegans.wordpress.com luminousvegans

    Fabulous! I have never attempted faux meatballs myself but I might have to give these a shot. The combination of mint with parsley and sriracha and all the other good stuff sounds delicious. I can see myself just eating the meatballs by itself as a snack :-)

    • http://thelilfoxes.com The Little Foxes

      They were gone in just a day, so they’re rather dangerous in that easy-to-grab-and-pop-in-your-mouth kind of way. :) Give em a shot and let me know how they work for ya. I’ll DEF be making your scrummy VVP dish!

  • http://bunnykitchen.com/ Poppy

    I really needed some barley inspiration! Looks lovely!

    • http://thelilfoxes.com The Little Foxes

      Aw, so happy to help! Thanks!

      • http://bunnykitchen.com/ Poppy

        :)

  • http://diannewenz.wordpress.com veggiegirldianne

    Looks totally delish!

    • http://thelilfoxes.com The Little Foxes

      Thanks, lovely!

  • http://glueandglitter.com/main Becky Striepe

    Those meatballs look fantastical! I love Moroccan flavors.

    • http://thelilfoxes.com The Little Foxes

      Thanks, Becky! :)

  • http://anunrefinedvegan.wordpress.com An Unrefined Vegan

    Smack down! These things are kinda scaring me because they look so authentic! Great job, Ashlee. And thanks for joining the Potluck. Got 6 months to prepare for VVP 4.0…

    • http://thelilfoxes.com The Little Foxes

      Thanks, Anne – for the comment, and for all of your incredible guidance putting all of this together. These do taste and feel surprisingly meaty, which for me is a good thing, but for those who never liked meat to begin with, might be slightly alarming. :)

  • http://anodetomungbeans.wordpress.com sammysfood

    Yum!! Just fantastic!

    • http://thelilfoxes.com The Little Foxes

      Thank you. :)

  • http://sugarcoatedvegan.wordpress.com sugarcoatedvegan

    This looks super yummy! I can’t wait to try it! :)

    – alexis
    http://www.sugarcoatedvegan.com

  • http://eatliveburp.wordpress.com Eat,live,burp

    What a brilliant recipe! Thank you.

    • http://thelilfoxes.com The Little Foxes

      Thank YOU! :)

  • http://themisfitbaker.com Starr

    Those meatballs look fantastic! And I bet they smell just divine! Thanks for sharing :-)

  • http://lemongrassandginger.wordpress.com jess

    this sounds like a great recipe! thanks for sharing

  • http://twitter.com/thefoodduo The Food Duo Ⓥ (@thefoodduo)

    An absolute must-try! TY for the recipe!

    • http://thelilfoxes.com The Little Foxes

      Thank you!

  • http://veghotpot.wordpress.com veghotpot

    Lovely comforting recipe! It looks right up my street mmm

    • http://thelilfoxes.com The Little Foxes

      Definitely comforting. Like, pass by the kitchen, grab a few, and pop ’em in your mouth comforting. :) (And dangerous). Thanks!

  • http://thevegetarianpact.wordpress.com Lisa

    I cant wait to make these! Thank you for sharing!

    • http://thelilfoxes.com The Little Foxes

      Thanks, Lisa!

  • http://madeofstars1.com Ally

    This is my kind of meal! I’m a big fan of Moroccan food too.
    I am very keen to try this.
    Thanks for a beautiful recipe. Gorgeous bowl too. :)

    • http://thelilfoxes.com The Little Foxes

      Thanks, Ally! Let me know how it turns out for you! Ah, and the bowl was a thrift store find. One person’s trash is another person’s potluck dish, right?

  • http://vedgedout.com Somer

    Oh yeah, it’s a total thing of beauty. The boldly spiced meatballs, the lovely pearled aromatic barley and the flatbreads and dip on the side are making me DROOL! VVP Baby!

    • http://thelilfoxes.com The Little Foxes

      Thanks, girlfriend! I wish this Potluck was fo’ realz. But thenagain, I’d probably gain 75lbs if it was. 😀

  • http://cookbookaficionado.wordpress.com Maggie Muggins

    I’ve never experienced such flavors all combined within a meatball, adding parsley, mint and all that other good stuff sounds delicious! Plus barley, I loves the barley :)

    • http://thelilfoxes.com The Little Foxes

      Thanks, Maggie! The flavors are a little different, but they come through in a subtle way. Let me know how this recipe works out for ya if you decide to make it. :)

  • http://sweetveg.org/blog-2/ sweetveg

    Wow! These look amazing! I am with you about dipping these in hummus. I bet they are so tasty!

    • http://thelilfoxes.com The Little Foxes

      Thanks, Sweetveg! YES. Hummus and these babies were meant to be together!

  • http://sophiesfoodiefiles.wordpress.com Sophie33

    Those vegan meatballs look freaking delicious! i must make these really soon!
    MMMMMMMMMMM! A real winner’s recipe!

    • http://thelilfoxes.com The Little Foxes

      Aw, thank you! Let me know how they turn out for you, Sophie!

  • http://spinachrevolution.wordpress.com spinachrevolution

    Barley, pine nuts and lemon – perfect. The schmeatballs look sooo good too. This is definitely going to be added as one of my new favourite dishes. Thank you for the recipe.

    • http://thelilfoxes.com The Little Foxes

      Thank you for the kind words and for calling them “schmeatballs.” Basically I’m kicking myself for not calling them that originally. :)

  • http://spontaneoustomato.wordpress.com Allison (Spontaneous Tomato)

    Oo, yum! It’s like a tabbouleh “meat”ball! I need to show this recipe to my fiancee… maybe we can make it to accompany our next Middle Eastern feast! :)

    • http://thelilfoxes.com The Little Foxes

      Hopefully it’ll be fiancee-approved! Enjoy and thank you for the lovely comment! So nice to find your blog, too.

  • http://tinykitchenstories.wordpress.com tinykitchenstories

    I always knew someone could make vegan meatballs! These look SO yummy!

    • http://thelilfoxes.com The Little Foxes

      Oh heck yes! Meatballs, hot dogs, faux chick’n. We be fakin’ up in herre. :) Thanks for the comment TKS (my new acronym for you, original, huh?). I too have a tiny kitchen and I feel almost an automatic kinship with others who do too… 😀

      • http://tinykitchenstories.wordpress.com tinykitchenstories

        Tiny kitchens rock! You need to be so creative! We are definitely kin. :)

  • http://www.gormandizewithus.blogspot.com Keely @ Gormandize

    This looks just great! I have to say I love meatballs so I’m always on the look out for flavoursome vegan meatballs. I think I’ll give yours a try!

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  • http://Www.eatliveburp.net Pavithra (eat,live,burp)

    Congratulations! This is definitely a winning recipe.

  • conniefletch

    I’m so happy that another vegan admits to having enjoyed meat!! Me too…just don’t care to eat it any longer….not healthy..not moral…but I did once enjoy it, and these schmeatballs look wonderful. Now if someone could only develop smellavision!!!

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  • http://housevegan.blogspot.com/ Hannah

    This looks amazing! Congratulations on winning your category!

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