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A Delicious Meatless Convection Meal

Updated: Jan 6, 2023

Meatless Mushroom Meatballs with Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Carrots

When I first began teaching classes in Convection cooking, I found it interesting how many clients told me how amazed they were to find themselves eating vegetables that they normally didn’t care to eat. For many people, their dislike of a vegetable was based on a preparation such as boiling which basically robbed the vegetable of flavor, and they were stunned by the difference in flavor and texture of vegetables roasted in Convection and Convection steam.

Planning a Convection Meal

These two recipes are perfect for a Convection meal because they can both be cooked in the Convection Bake or Convection Roast mode at 375 (190℃) degrees. And if the vegetables are sliced on the thinner side the cooking time for both will be approximately 15 minutes. If you were baking traditional “meat” meatballs that would require an additional 5 - 8 minutes of cooking time just slice the vegetables a little thicker so they don’t cook too quickly.

In most electric ovens, when the Convection Bake or Convection Roast Mode is engaged the top and bottom heating elements are active and the fan is circulating the heated air, this is great because both the mushroom meatballs and vegetables will crisp without drying out. Trays placed lower in the oven will receive more intense heat while trays placed a little higher in the oven will receive gentle browning.

Remember in a gas oven the heat is generated by the heating element in the base of the oven and trays placed too close to the bottom of the oven may brown faster than desired so be sure to arrange the oven racks before heating the oven.

Best Oven Trays for Sheet Pan Meals

The type of pan you use does actually make a difference when baking and roasting. Aluminum sheet pans are the most popular choice for oven roasting and baking; however, there are many choices when it comes to pans. Investing in some heavier-weight pans will make all the difference when roasting vegetables and meats in the oven, but definitely try to avoid lightweight pans that will warp as they absorb the heat so that the food won’t cook unevenly.

I find a selection of ½ and ¼ sized-rimmed baking sheets as well as the jelly roll size gives me a lot of flexibility when cooking oven meals. Sometimes I use a ½ sized pan for the vegetables and two ¼ sized pans on another rack, one for a small cut of meat and one for some fish. Of course, if you have a 30” oven or large range oven you can also accommodate a ¾ sized pan when cooking larger quantities of food.

While aluminum does absorb heat well, it doesn’t do well in the dishwasher, it washes clean but the appearance is forever after changed. Foil placed shiny side down, parchment paper or silicone liners are all good options for easy clean-up. When I bake directly on the pan I usually wipe or scrape off any oily residue with a silicone spatula or paper towel. If there are some hard-to-remove stains, I pour some boiling water into the pan with a few drops of dish soap and let it sit for 10 minutes or so to release the staining.

Tips for Preparing Mushroom Meatballs with Roasted Vegetables

While this Convection meal cooks very quickly, preparing the mushroom meatballs and the vegetables will take approximately 30 minutes. If you are able to do most of the prep and cook the quinoa in advance it will of course come together faster.

When preparing the mushrooms either wipe them clean with a damp paper towel or with a mushroom brush. Avoid immersing them in water so they don’t become waterlogged and be sure to let them cook long enough in the first step of the recipe, so they will release all their moisture.

If you are hesitant to buy a bunch of parsley and only use such a small amount then you could either omit the parsley or use dried parsley, the other dried herbs, garlic, and Parmesan cheese add a lot of flavor to these meatballs.

When the vegetables have finished roasting, I combine them with the cooked quinoa and sprinkle in a little golden Balsamic vinegar. This is a mild but full-bodied vinegar that balances out the flavors nicely. A sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground pepper adds the final flourish.

November is just around the corner, so it’s time to begin planning your Thanksgiving feast and how to get the best use out of your Convection ovens. In my next post, I will review How to Roast a Spatchcock Turkey in Convection. Not only is it extremely easy to prepare turkey in this style, the results will amaze you.

Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast

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