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Sweet n’ Sour “Meatball” Skewers over Coconut Jasmine Rice

March 24, 2010

Photo by Gerik Parmele

I’m a vegetarian” is a phrase that can strike fear into people’s hearts.  For a person who eats meat, the mind immediately flashes to dry, brown lumps of food, forgetting the beautiful colors and textures that grains, fresh fruits and vegetables bring to the plate.  For a vegetarian, the fear is “Oh no, it’s pasta again!”

I have lived in that world most of my life.  I grew up vegetarian but with an occasional mind-bending meal of southern fried chicken or Swiss steak prepared when our family entertained guests.  I think it had something to do with that old Southern hospitality culture that was so important to my parents.

30 years of my work life was in the food industry and most of it vegetarian.  Catering clients found it a novelty to announce to friends at the end of a cocktail party that they were eating vegetarian.  The calls and bookings from those parties confirmed that they enjoyed the treats and wanted to enjoy it more.

Apricot Sweet n’ Sour “Meatball” Skewers with Coconut Jasmine Rice is stunning in texture and color and is one of my favorite and most requested entrees.  This recipe comes from a wonderful vegetarian cookbook called “Very Innovative Parties” produced by the Loma Linda School of Dentistry.  (Available for purchase by e-mailing  only)  This book is filled with wonderful vegetarian recipes that look beautiful as well as taste good.  I’ve made a few changes to the original recipe, mostly in techniques used for presentation which is explained in the recipe.

Whether you are entertaining a vegetarian or introducing vegetarian cuisine to your friends, this recipe is a winner.

Note:  This entry was published by the Columbia Daily Tribune, March 24, 2010

Photo by Pat

Makes 30 balls or 10 skewers of 3 “meatballs”


5 eggs

1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

1/2 c. cottage cheese

1/2 c. finely chopped onion

1 c. finely chopped nuts  (I like walnuts best, process them in the food processor to make them really fine, like corn


1 tsp. dry basil

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. sage

2 c. finely crushed herb stuffing (I use New York Style Seasoned Croutons)

  • Mix all ingredients for Nut Balls.  Portion the mixture into 30 balls.  I use #40 scoop. Roll into nice balls
  • Deep fry in heated (350 degree) oil until just lightly brown which provides a crust so they stay on the skewers.  Nut balls will not be cooked all the way through but will finish cooking as it bakes in the sauce.

Alternate Method:  The balls also may be placed in a greased baking dish without frying.  Pour the Apricot Sweet and Sour Sauce over and bake, covered, with foil, at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes for an easy meal.

Apricot Sweet n’ Sour Sauce

1/4 c. oil

1/2 c. vinegar

1 c. apricot jam

1 c. catsup

1/4 c. chopped onion

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. dry oregano

Dash hot pepper sauce

2 T. corn syrup (my addition to make the shine shiny)

Combine sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Turn off heat.  Use an immersion blender to smooth out the sauce before pouring over “meatballs”.

To Assemble and Serve Skewers

Photo by Pat

  • Cool the fried “meatballs”
  • Thread 3 “meatballs” with 1 inch pieces of red and green peppers, onions and pineapple onto bamboo skewers.  Coat the skewers with glaze and place on greased baking sheet.
  • Bake in a 350 degree oven until “meatballs” are hot and centers done.
  • Brush more heated sauce over the skewers and serve them over the Coconut Jasmine Rice.  Garnish with toasted coconut.  Serve extra sauce on the side.

Coconut Jasmine Rice

1 T. olive oil

1/4 c. diced onion

1/4 c. diced celery

2 c. jasmine rice

6 c. water

5 oz. canned unsweetened coconut milk

1 T. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper (optional)

1/2 c. frozen petite peas

1/4 c. coconut, toasted for garnish

  • Heat the oil in a medium pan.  Add the onions and celery and saute a few minutes, or until soft.
  • Add the remaining ingredients, except the peas and coconut garnish, and bring to a simmer.  Cover and cook for 30 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
  • Add the peas and lightly toss.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Chelle permalink*
    May 7, 2010 5:20 pm

    I think I’m going to make these this weekend, Mom. I’ve had a hankerin’ for some good “meat” balls.

    Won’t be as good as yours, but a little touch of home will be nice.

    Love you.

  2. May 7, 2010 8:36 pm

    We are having them too. This time I made a different sauce. It has Lipton Onion Soup Mix and Catalina Salad Dressing in it. Tanya made the sauce a while ago and I froze the leftovers. That was a classy way of saying “I don’t have a recipe!” but I’ll get it if it turns out good. Have fun with your meatballs!

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