Picnic Soy Meatballs

After reading Kittee’s vegan meatball recipe, I was hungering for something similar. We hadn’t made anything resembling meatballs since the Lion’s heads way back in October. Also, because we were going to go on a picnic on May Day, we thought it would be nice to have them there. May Day, among other things, is a picnic day in Finland, if the weather is even remotely agreeable. But I digress. So, on with the recipe. I decided to combine textured soy protein granules with gluten flour for a firm texture, and we were quite happy with the results. Tastewise, were we to make a second batch now, we’d add a bit more chili, and maybe herbs as well, but I guess that depends on how spicy you like your vegan meatballs.

This batch makes 22 small meatballs, and the recipe was inspired by the one on Cake Maker to the Stars.

Here’s what we used:

  • 2 dl granulated TSP (in Finnish: tumma soijarouhe)
  • 2 dl vegetable stock
  • 1 dl diced leek
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste, depending on the stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried chili
  • ½ teaspoon dried marjoram
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon fried onion
  • ½ dl gluten flour
  • ½ dl water

I started by setting the oven to 175 degrees Celsius.

To start with the dough, I combined the stock and the soy granules in a bowl, and set aside. I chopped the leek into small bits, sautéed it in olive oil for a couple of minutes, added the chili, marjoram, and thyme, and stirred to mix. By now the soy granules had absorbed all the vegetable stock, so I added them into the frying pan, and sautéed the mixture for a few more minutes. Then I added the sesame seed oil and the soy sauce to the pan. I removed the frying pan from heat, and added the crushed garlic and the store-bought fried onion, stirred them in, and let the mixture cool down a bit.

When the soy granule mixture wasn’t too hot to touch anymore, I added the water and the gluten flour, and kneaded the dough for a couple of minutes. At this point, I tried rolling a meatball in my palm, testing the consistency of the dough. It was still quite soft, but firm enough to roll into balls – just what I was aiming at.

I rolled the dough into 22 small meatballs, which I put on a baking sheet covered with baking parchment. I sprayed them with olive oil on all sides, and put them in the oven for 10 minutes. Then I flipped them over one by one, and baked for another 10 minutes. By then they were nicely browned, and a little crunchy on the surface.

Usually on May Day the weather is still quite cold, so the picnic is more of a symbolic start of the summer, but this year the weather was really nice and warm, in Finnish terms at least. We enjoyed the soy meatballs together with potato salad and smokey tofu spread seasoned with sage, of which we’ll blog about later!


  1. Posted May 8, 2008 at 20:45 | Permalink

    what can I say? another winner recipe! I don’t buy TSP so often, but this looks so great I know now what to do with them next!

  2. Posted May 10, 2008 at 10:48 | Permalink

    They look good! I am hungry for them too… I wish I can have them now :9

  3. Posted May 10, 2008 at 12:03 | Permalink

    These look lovely – I’m craving pasta with meatballs and tomato sauce at the moment so I’m going to try these out for sure!

  4. Heikki
    Posted May 10, 2008 at 13:09 | Permalink

    Thanks everybody! I was pretty happy with the way they looked too. Next time I think we’ll make a bigger batch though, they were finished in no time.

  5. Posted May 15, 2008 at 16:11 | Permalink

    Hi. I tried making these with light tsp (Risetti vaalea, paahdettu soijapapurouhe) because that’s what I had and they didn’t stick together at all! I used celery instead of the leeks, onion and garlic and it tasted quite good. I’ll have to get some dark tsp to make the meatballs.

  6. Heikki
    Posted May 15, 2008 at 16:23 | Permalink

    Shirley — I’m sorry to hear that! Well I guess the main thing was that it tasted good anyway. I’ve never used that light tsp or crushed soybeans or whatchamacallit, so I can’t comment on that, but it does sound a bit strange. You were using gluten flour, right?

    I double-checked the recipe ingredients, and they seem alright, so I guess it was the tsp. If you make a second batch with the dark variety of the soy granules, please let us know how it turned out!

  7. Posted May 15, 2008 at 22:33 | Permalink

    Yes I used gluten flour. I don’t know when I’ll be making them but I’ll let you know how they turn out.

  8. Ahmed mohamed
    Posted May 21, 2009 at 13:43 | Permalink

    thank you.

  9. Posted June 26, 2014 at 14:18 | Permalink

    Wow! Fantastic recipe. I substituted some ingredients based on what I had on hand. I fried red onions instead of leeks, used lemon thyme and parsley for the herbs and rice flour for the gluten flour. They really tasted great. Next time I will cook at 200C for a really crispy outside. Thanks so much for this recipe!

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