fantasy friday: vegan meatballs from chewandswallow

"The only thing that was really different about Chewandswallow was its weather. It came three
times a day, at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Everything that everyone ate came from the sky.
Whatever the weather served, that was what they ate.
But it never rained rain. It never snowed snow. And it never blew just wind. It rained things like soup
and juice. It snowed mashed potatoes and green peas. And sometimes the wind blew in storms of

from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
by Judi Barrett, illustrated by Ron Barrett

This was one of my absolute favorite books as a child. Beautiful illustrations, an imaginative storyline, and image upon image of delicious foods? Of course I couldn't get enough.

Here was a beautiful and delicious world I could get totally lost in. I loved the illustration of the Jell-o sunset, and when everyone in the story got sick from a storm of cream cheese and jelly sandwiches...I thought about how amazing it would be to eat nothing but cream cheese and jelly sandwiches all day.

If you've never read this book, I recommend you go out and buy it immediately. Then go buy a copy for whatever children are in your life.

There is a movie as well, but I've never seen it. I can't help but fear that it just doesn't compare to the book. Can anyone recommend it?

This week's recipe is a tribute to this beloved childhood book, with my healthy spin on it. You can serve these "meatballs" with your sauce and spaghetti of choice (gluten-free? whole wheat?). I'm not a huge fan of imitation meat, but to me, these are more reminiscent of falafel. They're not exactly a meat imitation...more of a substitute. J, on the other hand, kept begging me for the secret of how I got them to taste like meat. Who knows.

Vegan Meatballs

1 cup cooked lentils
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1/4 cup oats
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup, + 2 tbsp oat flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and generously grease a baking sheet (or two).

Combine the lentils, rice, oats, walnuts, onion, garlic, soy sauce, oil, and lemon juice in a food processor, and blend until the texture of meat. Do not overblend. If your processor is small, you can combine a few ingredients at a time and then add to a mixing bowl.

Transfer to a large bowl, and stir in the chili powder, paprika, salt, and oat flour. Use your hands to form the dough into balls 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. The dough will be very sticky. It helps to rub some oil into your hands. Just stick with it (pun intended) and be ready to get your hands dirty.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the bottoms of the meatballs are just beginning to brown. Serve over spaghetti and tomato sauce, topped with vegan Parmesan cheese (recipe below).

Vegan Parmesan

1 tbsp walnuts
1 tsp nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a coffee grinder and pulse until the texture of Parmesan cheese.


  1. mmm my all time favorite meal! I saw the movie, it was cute but certainly does NOT do the book justice, I am also a lover of the book.

  2. I love the jello sunset! And I think one of my face pages is the hamburgers falling form the sky.

    Also-- love the end, when they make their new town out of stale bread and peanut butter. Just amazing I always thought!!


    Happy weekend, Clair!

  3. Nom - your pictures look delicious! I loved that book as a child as well

  4. Literally the most beautiful meatballs I have ever seen. Totally love that you make them in a coffee grinder haha!

    1. Just the "cheese"...I can't imagine making all those meatballs in a coffee grinder. =)

  5. the meatballs look super yummsss!

  6. I love how meatballs can be totally vegan! Great job and beautiful photos :)

  7. Hi Clair! Long-time listener, first-time caller :)

    As somewhat of an expert on animated movies (helped some by the presence of my 5 year-old nephew, but let's be honest, more by the presence of my 8 year-old personality), I can assuredly give the movie version of "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" a rating of Awesome. You know as well as I do that the book is always better than the movie (although I've never read Peter Benchley's version that preempted 'Jaws').

    And, as somewhat of an expert on meat foods, I can assuredly say that your vegan take on this traditional dish looks absolutely delicious. I will expect a delivery sometime around 7 tonight. Thank you.

    1. I'm trusting your recommendation on this one...it's officially on my to-watch list.

      I think I am 9 minutes away from your deadline. If I'm not there on time, just come ring my doorbell. If I don't answer, keep trying.

  8. I've never heard of this book BUT look how cute your salt and peppper set is!

    1. A gift from my sister from years ago! Such a great one.

  9. Vegan meatballs?! YUM. I will definitely be trying this.


  10. Oh Yum! I would love this dish ;D
    What a sweet book also ;)

    Happy Easter my dear!!!

  11. WHY ARE YOU MY FAVORITE! recipes from children's books?! AND VEGAN! i could cry.

  12. LOVE that book. When I read the title, I instantly had visions of my second grade classroom. Living it up in elementary school..alright!

  13. I really want to taste your cooking!

  14. Clair, I loved that book as a kid. I read it to my students now. It's the best. And I have yet to try vegan 'meatballs!!' I've never seen a recipe that I've wanted to try. I was so happy to click over here and find yours! I can't wait to try them. They are going on the list and I'll report back ;) Thanks so much. They look fabulous and so much like the real thing! You continue to impress me! Have a fabulous Easter my dear!


Thanks for making me smile. =)