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Tofu Nut Balls

This recipe is one of my all-time favourites and brings back many happy memories from when my eldest daughter was little (and truth be told I was kind of little too). I made these often in my 20's with whatever old bread I had on hand, making breadcrumbs by toasting bread and then creating 'crumbs' by giving the toasted bits a wizz in my food processor. You can easily go that route here, or opt to keep it simple and buy breadcrumbs at the grocery store. I find grocery store breadcrumbs to be a little hit and miss though, so be sure to smell them if you can to give them a little rancidity test. In the past, I baked these in the oven in olive oil with delicious results, however, in this recent go 'round I fried them in a pan on the stovetop ... and just as I recalled, they were crazy delicious. In the old days ketchup was the condiment of choice to enjoy them with, but any good tomato sauce would work well here, as would a favorite pesto.

I haven't made any adaptations here as the recipe is perfect exactly the way it is originally written. I have to credit the Moosewood Cookbook here, and Mollie Katzen in particular. This book was the very first cookbook I ever used when I was a health-obsessed teenager teaching myself to cook. I still use this beloved book on the regular, some 25 years later. Classics are classics for a reason, and if you've ever wondered about this book I'm here to tell you that every vegetarian kitchen worth its salt should have it, IMO ;). Enjoy!

Tofu Nut Balls

~ from the Moosewood Cookbook

1/2 cup uncooked short grain brown rice
1 cup water
2 tbsp soy sauce
250g firm tofu, mashed
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp salt
a little oil for the baking sheet or frying pan

    Place the rice and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, and lower the heat to the lowest possible simmer. Cook until very soft (mushy even) for about 35 to 45 minutes.

    You get to choose between sautéing the balls or baking them. If you are baking them, preheat the over to 350ºF and lightly oil a baking sheet. If you are sautéeing, have ready a skillet and a little oil. Place the soy sauce and half the mashed tofu in a blender or food processor, and add about 3/4 of the cooked rice. Blend to a thick paste. Place the remaining tofu in a medium-sized bowl. add the blended mixture, along with the almonds, bread crumbs, salt, and remaining rice. Taste to see if it needs more salt. Using your hands, form the batter into 1-inch balls.

    To cook, you can either sauté them in a little hot oil for about 15 minutes OR bake them on a lightly oiled tray for 30 minutes at 350-375 degrees. Serve hot, with your choice of sauce or condiment. These are great cold too! Crumble leftovers onto a green salad or smoosh them in a sandwich.

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