Recently I’ve been trying to test out different products – specifically vegetarian and vegan ones – that I have seen around social media that catch my eye. Thanks to my friends over at EatNeat, I was able to receive some samples of their healthy replacements for meat. Supposedly it is sold in Whole Foods but I never came across it until I viewed it somewhere on Instagram. I looked into it and was surprised to find how versatile it was. It comes in four different flavors – Original, Italian, Mexican and Breakfast.
The Original is good for burgers and chili, Italian can be used for meatballs and lasagna, Mexican is great for tacos and the Breakfast pairs well with sandwiches or quiches. Every package contains ground garbanzo beans and pecans rather than any meat substance. However, each one has a bit different following ingredients like cornmeal, garlic and onion (Mexican flavor) or whole grain oats and maple sugar (Breakfast flavor). In my first attempt of using the Neat products, I decided to opt for the meatballs!
There are four servings in one of the bags which makes 8 meatballs (I ended up making 9). Therefore, roughly 2 meatballs is a serving but you could gladly have more. The spices incorporated remind you exactly of a fresh meatball from an Italian restaurant. I absolutely loved the flavoring. They contain a hefty amount of fat due to the pecans but with such minimal ingredients, you know off hand what you are eating and how nutrient-dense the veggie balls are (with 4g of protein in a serving).
Instead of opting to pair them with pasta, I decided on making a spaghetti squash I had lingering on my kitchen counter for quite some time now. Thankfully it paired wonderfully with the “neatballs”.
- 1 package of EatNeat Italian Mix
- 2 eggs (I used 2 flax eggs = 2 tbsp flaxseed with 6 tbsp water, let sit for 5-10 minutes)
- 4 extra tbsp water
- ⅓ cup nutritional yeast (for dairy option: parmesan cheese)
- ½ cup diced tomatoes
- ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes
- Leafy greens for garnish
- 1 spaghetti squash
- ½ tbsp coconut oil
- Dash of salt and pepper
- If using a flax egg, combine 2 tbsp ground flaxseed with 6 tbsp water and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350º.
- Add ingredients of Italian Mix pouch with ⅓ nutritional yeast (or parmesan), flax egg (or real egg) and 2 extra tbsp of water. Mix well.
- Form into 8-10 small "meat" balls and place on greased cookie sheet.
- Cook for 18-20 minutes and let cool.
- Re-heat oven to 375º.
- Cut open spaghetti squash lengthwise and place cut sides upwards. Drizzle with coconut oil.
- Place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet and cook for 45-50 minutes.
Before I set the meatballs into the oven, they were quite sticky and hard to roll into balls which made me apprehensive as to how they would turn out. Yet like many vegetarian and vegan products, just because they look questionable does not mean that will reflect their taste. EatNeat’s products prove just that. Once they were piled high on top of my squash, they did resemble a meatball quite similarly.
I ended up cooking the meatballs for 19 minutes and the squash separately for 45 minutes. Both came out cooked just right and smelled wonderful. Whatever spices that are used in the Italian Mix (aside from garlic) remind me of walking through Little Italy… that’s how fragrant they are. Along with the nutritional yeast, it almost smelled like I was cooking garlic bread.
Once the spaghetti squash came out of the oven, I dragged a fork across both inside halves in order to form “noodles” and topped it with tomatoes (diced and sun-dried), leafy greens and my veggie meatballs! Absolutely amazing. Looks just like your typical spaghetti and meatballs. I look forward to trying the other 3 packets I received from Neat Foods, especially the Mexican. I plan on making tacos with cheese very soon so expect a post on that coming up sometime this week!