TV, Films and Food: Lady and the Tramp takes on the ‘veggie ball’

A lesson from the dogs: They know how to cook

TV, Films and Food: Lady and the Tramp takes on the ‘veggie ball’

TV, Films and Food is a series dedicated to recreating the most iconic dishes of TV and film. Join The Eagle in cooking up these classic recipes.

Dogs and their obsession with food is a classic combination, but The Eagle’s recipe for the iconic spaghetti dish from “Lady and the Tramp” takes on a twist of its own with vegetarian meatballs. 

While “Lady and the Tramp” isn’t centered around food, unlike other films such as “Ratatouille,” the most cherished and romantic moment in the film is a carb load. The whimsical scene where Lady and Tramp share a heartfelt meal of meatballs and spaghetti is only a few minutes long but is one of the most memorable in the film. 

Spaghetti and meatballs are a standard of many Italian restaurants, however, many restaurants have begun to offer vegetarian and vegan alternatives as well. In an attempt to do more for the environment, I tried to incorporate more veggie-based goodness in my daily menu. Achieving the appropriate amount of veggies has been a struggle for me in college, yet this recipe makes it easier to get the right portions.

Homemade vegetarian “meatballs” are a challenge. The new creation was dubbed “veggie balls” and the main ingredients consist of cauliflower, quinoa and panko or gluten-free breadcrumbs.

Cooking the cauliflower florets is the hardest step, as making sure the vegetables are not overcooked is essential to the recipe’s success. I would recommend pre-steamed cauliflower or cauliflower rice instead. In the process of steaming, testing every few minutes is essential to make sure the cauliflower doesn’t become overcooked.

Once this step is complete, a food processor helps create a smoother texture of the meatballs, though the food processor isn’t necessary to complete the recipe. Since I did not have a food processor on the scene, I had to chop and mash the ingredients instead.

Next, I combined other ingredients such as the eggs, spices — in addition to cumin, a pinch of thyme is also great — and panko breadcrumbs.

Before placing the veggie balls in the oven, I made sure to top each ball with a dash of olive oil. Since many of the ingredients are considered dry foods, like quinoa and panko breadcrumbs, the olive oil holds together the dry texture of the veggie ball.

This recipe makes for 10 plus servings, which results in about 50 veggie balls altogether. 

As for pasta, most grocery stores have a large variety of noodles. For this selection, I used gluten-free Good & Gather Spaghetti. In addition, pre-made tomato and basil sauce was an easier selection. This step helped eliminate making a marinara, or red sauce from scratch, which was the same sauce used in the film.

In final preparations, I topped this dish with parmesan cheese, resulting in a delightful combination of spices and appetizing crunch crumbles of quinoa and panko. 

The crunchy veggie balls are sure to leave you full for several hours due to their delicious density and zesty spices. This dish combines harmonious tastes of tomato, basil, parmesan and quinoa resulting in glorious flavors reminiscent of the romantic “Lady and the Tramp” scene. Once bit into a veggie ball will whisk you away to Italy, or your favorite Italian restaurant down the street.

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