Cooking vegan has a requisite for creativity – it’s never been as easy as throwing a steak on the grill with some salt and pepper. Quality ingredients used in an imaginative way are what makes a vegan dish…so you can imagine the amount of research and prep I devote to meatless cooking. The other day I had two dear friends, Tim Wilfong and Rachel Roberts, over for dinner. After deferring to countless Pinterest inspirations, I found the perfect fit: Black Bean Quinoa Meatballs with Avocado “Alfredo”
I had run seen a number of actual meatball recipes that get a healthy boost from nutritious, fiber-packed ingredients, such as resistant starches and whole grains. When considering what to include in a vegan meatball, I thought I’d give them the whole package with nothing BUT these fillers: black beans, sweet potatoes, onions, carrots, quinoa…a health nut’s dream.
The result was a nutritional, affordable, and ridiculously good meal. Forming the meatballs can be a little tricky, but I found that running my hands under water every several minutes helped prevent them from sticking too much. You can get really creative with these, using legumes like lentils or navy beans, or vegetables like eggplants and spinach. Regardless of what you choose, these will surprise your taste buds and are sure to be a hit – click HERE for the recipe.
I knew I wanted to pair these “meatballs” with pasta, but couldn’t picture pairing black beans with marinara. The solution was pure genius: an avocado “alfredo” sauce. I was extremely skeptical at first – it’s basically pureed avocado with some salt, lime, and seasoning. Yet when tossed with hot pasta, it makes a beautifully creamy sauce that is much MUCH healthier “alfredo” than anything you could have imagined. Surprised? I certainly was – click HERE for this unique pasta sauce.
For the musical pairing, I wanted a piece that could highlight the creative edge of this meal. That led me to Gaspar Cassadó and his Suite for Cello Solo. As a cellist who studied with the revered Pablo Casals, Cassadó knew how to write for the instrument. This piece is an ingenious fusion of the conventional Baroque style (taking inspiration from Bach’s own Cello Suites) with his own native Spanish. The three-movement piece is under 15 minutes in length, with a colorful variety of animated dances and lyrical refrains. The inspired weaving of genres and generations into an aesthetic whole make this piece the perfect complement to this creative meal – enjoy!
Parloff, Michael. “Gaspar Cassadó – Suite for Solo Cello.” Parlance Chamber Concerts.