Morning Buzz

Cooking with Karina: Make What Yo Mama Gave Ya - Classic Meatballs with a Twist

Karina Arnold
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Meatless meatballs

Karina Arnold used her grandmother's beloved meatloaf recipe as inspiration for these meatless vegan meatballs. 

Karina Arnold is a junior at the University of Oklahoma who’s passionate about healthy cooking. She provides creative, healthy recipes and tips on clean eating.

Mother’s Day should be called “All Saints’ Day” because my mother is a saint. She plays the roles of mom, wife, host, counselor, chef, teacher, housekeeper and does them all with a smile on her face. She does the most.

Every summer, my mom would pack our bags and schlep us kids to Wisconsin to see her mom. In those three weeks, we would celebrate all the holidays and birthdays my grandma would miss. I had my birthday party, my brothers received their birthday candy, we would exchange Christmas gifts and shoot off fireworks for the 4th. My favorite was our makeup Thanksgiving dinner featuring my grandma’s meatloaf and mashed “papas” (potatoes).  

Every time my grandma would serve her special meatloaf, the warm pan would be empty before it had a chance to cool. My brothers and I would waddle away happy and full. After my grandmother passed away, my mom started using the special meatloaf recipe, but my mom’s rendition did not receive the same approval from the family…I’ll spare you the details.  

That was 10 years ago. Now, it’s time for a third-generation revival. Today’s generation of chefs know how to make dishes taste good and be good for you. Vegetarianism and veganism is no longer restricted to rice and beans, which was the vegan diet during my grandma and mom’s generations. I used my grandma’s recipe as inspiration, but I added my own spice.

My vegan meat-less meatballs will feed and satisfy grandma, mom and daughter. This lighter take on an American comfort-food classic is the savory antidote to my family’s meatloaf nightmare. Although this recipe calls for two hands, the help of mom or daughter is the perfect extra “touch” this recipe needs.

Although “my mom is my hero” is a trite response, it is the truth. I hope my recipe and myself live up to her legacy. What are your favorite dishes to cook with your mom or grandma? Have any family recipes you would like to share? Comment below! 

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