I'm not usually a Valentine's Day aficianado, but I'm back at home now, so I have people around me who will appreciate my efforts. For this Valentine's meal, I chose to make a pinto bean-based Meatball dish, with the meatballs shaped (as best I could!) as hearts :) A heart-shaped chocolate cake with raspberries lining the perimeter finished the evening off, and filled us right up to our noggins. With food-knowledge. Or something.
This recipe comes from the Vegan Lunchbox blog, and has quickly become a household favorite (along with the tahini and falafel from Vegan with a Vengeance).
I warn you that the steps involved in making the meatballs may seem atrocious at first, but it's not as bad as all that. You have to start off by sauteeing some herbs, onion, and mushrooms, and then mix in your mashed-up pinto beans, shaping these into balls (or hearts), and pan-frying them. The next step made me indignant at first (more dishes to wash?!) but is so worth it, and doesn't really result in that much more cleaning after the meal.
While pan-frying the vegan balls, heat a jar's worth of tomato sauce in a tall ceramic casserole dish (in the oven). Once both processes are finished, pull out the dish of sauce, plop the balls in, and set them back in the oven for 20 minutes. It doesn't need longer than that. The balls won't stay together perfectly, but they're not really meant to -- they're meant for eating!!
Serve the meal in the casserole dish, on the table, with the oven mit. Dive in! Fed my hungry family of 3 for about 3 days. Mmmmm...