Childhood Favorite: Vegan “Turkish” Meatballs with Yoghurt Sauce

This is a recipe that I’ve always loved. When I was young, my mom used to make these meatballs and she served them with white rice and cucumber salad. It was one of my favorite dishes.
This was also a dish that I didn’t think I would be able to eat as a vegan. And it has taken me a while to figure out how to make it. But I’ve done it! And it’s amazing.

Ingredients:
The ingredients are for one person. So you can simply multiply it if you’re cooking for more.
– 75 g tempeh
– tamari
– olive oil

– 0.5 – 1 tsp garlic powder or fresh garlic
– 0.5 tsp onion powder
– 0.5 tsp mustard
– 0.5 tsp ketchup
– tsp dried cilantro
– tsp dried mint
– salt
– pepper

– 3 tbsp breadcrumbs (or more)

– olive oil
– 2 tbsp soy yoghurt
– dried cilantro
– dried mint

– 1/4 cup vegetable stock

– 50 g white rice

– lamb’s lettuce

Directions:
Get some water boiling in a small pot.

The first thing you have to do is also the most annoying job. You have to crumble up the tempeh until they’re super small crumbs. It’s annoying, but so worth it!

The water must be boiling by now. Throw in the tempeh with a dash of tamari and a little bit of olive oil. Let it boil for about 10 minutes.
Drain and wash down with cold water so you can handle the tempeh.

In a bowl, mix together the tempeh, garlic, onion, mustard, ketchup, cilantro, mint, salt and pepper. You really want it to be mixed well.
Now add the breadcrumbs. You may need to add a bit more than indicated (or less). Here’s how to tell: grab a bit of the mixture and press together in your hand. If it keeps together relatively well you’re done. So be careful when adding the breadcrumbs. If you add too much, too quickly, the mixture may end up being too dry.

Now roll some meatballs! I made them the size of ping-pong balls. You’ll be able to make around 4 meatballs, depending on the size.

In a separate pot, boil the rice according to instructions.
I do want to say here that you HAVE to use white rice. Normally, I’m all for brown rice but white rice makes this dish so much better. It’s just the perfect combination.

Heat some olive oil in a non-stick pan.
Bake the meatballs, turning them occasionally so they brown evenly. Add the vegetable stock when they’re almost done.
Once the meatballs are done move them all to one side of the pan. Let the oil and fluid move to the other side. Throw in the soy yoghurt, cilantro and mint, and stir with a whisk until well incorporated.

Serve the meatballs over the rice, with some lambs lettuce on the side. I changed the cucumber salad to lamb’s lettuce. It works really well with the dish and it’s a relatively underrated lettuce that isn’t used a lot.
Carefully drizzle all the sauce over your meatballs and rice and enjoy!

Let me know if you try this recipe. Do you like it? I’d love to hear your opinion.

love, isabelle

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6 thoughts on “Childhood Favorite: Vegan “Turkish” Meatballs with Yoghurt Sauce

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