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  • Jane Sloan


Veggie ‘Meatballs’ with Pesto Zucchini Noodles

Taurus marks the midpoint of spring. It is fixed, earth energy and celebrates the goddess’s devotion to love, fertility and the blossoming of the land. We feast singing around the fire, dancing around the Maypole, and frolicking into the woods with our lover to consummate our teeming passions. Taurus brings us closer to our physical reality and heightens our senses. It asks that we slow down and feel what we touch, to savour what we taste and be stirred by the memory of what we smell.

This year I had the privilege to learn more intimately the nature of this sign when my Taurean niece (with Sun, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn in Taurus) moved in for a few months. She grew up on Vancouver Island among mighty trees and lakes and wild life abundant...a Taurus’ dreamland. She is a dancer, and once the tedious task of high school was done she set her sights on one dance company that fit her style. With her tenacious focus and dedicated perseverance to her craft, she was accepted into The Millenium Dance Complex. I don’t think I have met anyone who loves to cook (besides myself) as much as my niece. Where I eat on the fly, and have an outrageously unscheduled schedule, she lives by routine. The meals she prepares are deliberately planned and every meal has the touch of the gourmand. This Taurus gal is sweet as pie. Her melancholic temperament comes through with soft, patience and extreme practicality. Her Taurean body is made of strong, solid muscle and when you watch her dance... she literally transforms...she is the music. Venus shines through her artistic gift of dance as well as possessing a powerful sensuality that I am sure she is totally unaware of.

The Taurus person has a deep need for emotional and financial stability. Imbalances can arise when these needs are not being met. A very yin sign, the Taurus will move emotions inward and its fixed nature will hold it there with obstinance. Ruling the throat, and thyroid gland, the body’s metabolism can become sluggish when there is a feeling of unsafely, or creative passions are not being expressed. Nat Sulph (Sodium Sulphate) is the cell salt for Taurus. Its action balances fluids in the body by eliminating excess of inter-cellular fluids as found in edema and hemorrhoids. It frees up stagnation and acts as a detoxifier, while improving digestive and liver functions. Foods containing Nat Sulph are: beets, spinach, horseradish, swiss chard, cauliflower, cabbage, radish, cucumber, onions and pumpkin.

I chose a ‘green’ meal for Taurus, inspired to honour our gorgeous planet. This vegetarian dish is packed with hearty legumes, nutritious vegetables and sensual herbs... and it looks stunning! Most of the work for this dish is in making the meatless ‘meatballs’. The recipe I used for these veggie balls came from Manhattan’s Meatball Shop. It says it makes about 2 dozen golf ball size veggie balls.... obviously I am not a golfer, as I ended up with about 60 balls! That being said, I think the size I made was perfect and it produced many leftovers which would be great in a variety of sauces, salads, sandwiches..... So if you are planning a big dinner party, or picnic, or if you like to take care of several meals in one go... this is an excellent recipe.

Veggie ‘Meatballs’ with Pesto Zucchini Noodles

The Meatball Shop’s Veggie Balls - Courtesy of Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow Adaptions by Jane Sloan in parenthesis 2 cups lentils (I used Pye lentils) 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil ( I used 2 Tablespoons coconut oil) 1 large onion, chopped 2 carrots, chopped 2 celery stalks, chopped (I omitted the celery - for no reason except I didn’t have it on hand) 1 garlic clove, minced (3 garlic cloves for me) 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme 2 teaspoons salt 3 tablespoons tomato paste 8 ounces button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced 3 large eggs (for vegan dish substitute flax eggs) 1/2 cup grated rennet-free Parmesan cheese (I substituted ½ cup nutritional yeast) 1/2 cup bread crumbs (gluten free for me) 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts (I used pine nuts) 1. Combine the lentils and 2 quarts water in a medium stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the lentils are soft but not falling apart, about 25 minutes. Drain the lentils and allow to cool. 2. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil to a large frying pan and sauté the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme and salt over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and just beginning to brown. Add the tomato paste and continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for 15 more minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. When cool, add the lentils to the vegetable mixture. (at this point I roughly pureed about ¾ of the mixture in the food processor with the parsley – not so much that it is mush, but enough to breakdown most of the carrots and lentils) 3. Add the eggs, Parmesan, bread crumbs, parsley and walnuts to the cooled vegetables and lentils and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated. Place in the refrigerator for 25 minutes. 4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and use your hand to evenly coat the entire surface. Set aside. 5. Roll the mixture into round golf ball-size meatballs (about 1 1/2 inches), making sure to pack the vegetable mixture firmly. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, allowing 1/4 inch of space between the balls and in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid. (The mixture will be quite moist. I used a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. I had to bake them in about 3 batches as I had so many) 6. Roast for 30 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through. Allow the meatballs to cool for 5 minutes in the baking dish before serving. Pesto Zucchini Noodles Pesto: 2 cups packed basil leaves 2 cups packed spinach leaves 2 cloves garlic ¼ cup pine nuts Juice of half a lemon ¼ cup olive oil Pack all of the ingredients except the olive oil into a food processor and pulse until well combined. With the food processor running, drizzle in the olive oil until creamy looking. Scrape down the sides of the processor and pulse again.

Zucchini noodles (my local grocer has prepared zucchini noodles – it was 400 grams) Left over spinach 1 Tbsp olive oil

After all of the veggie balls are done, line another cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spread out the zucchini noodles on the cookie sheet and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Cook at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. Take out of the oven and toss. I added to the pan the rest of the spinach bunch that I had for the pesto. Put back in the oven on top rack and on the bottom rack reheat the veggie balls for another 5-7 minutes. Take zucchini and veggie balls out of the oven. Transfer zucchini mixture to a medium size bowl. Toss in pesto 1 Tablespoon at a time until the zucchini and spinach are generously coated. Plate the pesto zucchini mixture and veggie balls. Garnish with radish sprouts.

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