I had some company over a few weeks ago and I wanted to make an Italian themed menu, as I had this idea for an orzo soup in my head. I then came up with an Italian salad featuring radishes, Mache (Lamb’s Lettuce), and a white-wine-parsley vinaigrette. I didn’t want to make pasta as the main course, so after flipping through my new copy of Veganomnicon, I came across a recipe for Seitan Piccata. What could be more Italian, and impressive than a piccata?
So I went to the store with my list ready to pick up a few bottles of wine, for cooking I swear, and the seitan for my dish. I have never cooked with seitan, because I am not a fan of gluten, but figured I’d try it this time. I went to the meatless meats section of Whole Foods, and to my surprise they didn’t have plain seitan! After a moment of complete panic, I concocted an idea. The chicken, or seitan, in the piccata simply serves as a vehicle for the tasty sauce. I just needed something kind of plain, that would soak up the sauce. So I decided I would make little risotto “meatballs” and throw in some lentils for protein, and accidentally making this recipe gluten free! (If you use brown rice bread crumbs instead of using the traditional variety).
Thankfully, I was very happy with the result and I was happy with the “meatball” recipe. The “meatballs” could be used in a variety of dishes like spaghetti and meatballs, or in a soup, and their flavor can easily be changed with different herbs and spices to match the dish. The risotto and lentil combination was sticky enough on it’s own, so I didn’t have to use an egg. And, it’s always great to get everyone eating the protein packed lentils, especially if you have some pickier eaters. Just cover these meatballs in any sauce and you are good to go!
But I do suggest trying them with the piccata of course, so here is the recipe:
- For the Lentils:
- ¾ cup Arborio Rice (Risotto Rice)
- ¼ cup green Lentils
- ½ cup Bread Crumbs (I used brown rice bread crumbs)
- 3 tbsp chopped Parsley
- ½ tsp Salt
- For the Piccata:
- 2 tbsp Cooking Oil
- 4 gloves Garlic
- 2 tbsp chopped Thyme
- ½ cup dry White Wine
- 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
- 2 cups Vegetable Stock
- 3 sliced Shallots
- ¼ tsp Salt
- 2 tbsp Capers, with a splash of brine
- 2 tbsp chopped Parsley
- For the Lentils:
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Bring 2½ cups of water to a boil, add in rice and lentils together. Cook for about 25-30 minutes until rice and lentils are cooked through. Set aside in a bowl to cool.
- Once the rice mixture is cool enough to handle, mix in parsley, salt and breadcrumbs.
- Form 1 inch balls with your hands, and place on a pre-oiled pan.
- Place the risotto balls in the oven for about 15-20 minutes until they have nice crust.
- While the "meatballs" are cooking, start on the piccata sauce.
- Heat cooking oil in a frying pan, and add shallots, and garlic, then saute for about 5 minutes.
- Add in the wine, and bring to a boil.
- Add in the vegetable broth, thyme, and salt.
- Allow this mixture to reduce cooking for about 10 minutes.
- Add in the capers, lemon juice, and parsley and cook for another minute or so until everything is well incorporated.
- Serve piccata sauce over the rissoto-lentil "meatballs."