The more I get into "flexitarian" style whole-foods eating the more enthused I get about adding as many plant-based, anti-aging foods to my diet as possible. I'm still not able to commit to being a vegetarian-much less a vegan -but with a little creativity and some "outside of the box" thinking I've found it's pretty easy (and tasty!) to sneak plant-based foods into just about anything.

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Here, I've slipped beta-carotene rich sautéed carrots and crumbled tempeh into my turkey meatballs. If you aren't familiar with tempeh, it's a fabulous traditional vegan food eaten in Indonesia. It's made from cooked and slightly fermented soybeans and has a meaty-mushroomy like flavor and texture, which combines wonderfully with ground grass-fed beef or ground pastured turkey. It's a power-packed nutrient-dense food and also a complete source of protein. Tempeh even has beneficial probiotics and tummy-filling, waist whittling fiber. And, like all plant-foods, tempeh comes packed with a wide array of disease-fighting phytochemicals. Look for tempeh in the refrigerated section of your supermarket or natural foods store.

Hope you enjoy the recipe!

Ingredients Serves: 4-6

Sauce

1 jar (12-ounces) roasted red peppers, drained 
1 can (14.5 ounces) Muir Glen "Organic Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes" 
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
1/4 teaspoon sea salt 
1 tablespoon Annie's Naturals "Organic Worcestershire Sauce" 
3/4 teaspoon coriander 
Juice from 1/2 lime 
2 teaspoons raw honey


 
1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Set sauce aside.

Meatballs

2 carrots, coarsely chopped 
6 cloves garlic 
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste 
1 pound organic pastured ground turkey (if you can't high quality meat at your supermarket order online from US Wellness Meats) 
1 package (8 ounces) tempeh, crumbled 
1 organic free-range egg, lightly beaten 
1/4 cup Ian's Naturals "Whole Wheat Panko Crumbs" 
3 tablespoons Annie's Naturals "Organic Worcestershire Sauce" 
1 teaspoon coriander

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a large baking pan. 
2. Place carrots and garlic in a food processor and process until very finely chopped. 
3. Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat; add the carrots and garlic and sauté 2-3 minutes, or until tender. Season lightly with salt. 
4. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the ground turkey and tempeh. Add the egg and mix well. Stir in the cooked carrots and garlic. Add the panko crumbs, Worcestershire sauce, coriander and measured salt. 
5. Form meat mixture into 20 meatballs. Place meatballs on a baking sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes. 
6. Remove meatballs from the oven. Carefully transfer to a crock-pot. Pour the prepared sauce on top. 
7. Cover and cook on low heat for 2 1/2 hours. Serve warm.