alive logo

Crispy Breaded Sauerkraut Balls with Tempeh, Chia, and Mushrooms

Serves 6


    Traditionally made with bratwurst and fried, these plant-based balls are baked and made with tempeh and mushrooms for a savoury, satisfying chewy interior and a crispy exterior. You can also use your homemade plant-based bratwurst as a stuffing in place of the croutons, but it seems a shame to go to all that work shaping them just to pull them apart.


    DIY honey mustard

    To make honey mustard, simply add up to equal parts honey or another liquid sweetener to yellow, grainy, or Dijon mustard, to taste. You can also add ground cayenne or smoked paprika for extra flavour. 


    Crispy Breaded Sauerkraut Balls with Tempeh, Chia, and Mushrooms


      • 1/4 cup (60 mL) sunflower seeds
      • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
      • 1 medium onion, diced
      • 2 garlic cloves, minced
      • 1/2 lb (225 g) pkg mushrooms, finely chopped
      • 8 1/2 oz (240 g) pkg plain tempeh, finely chopped or pulsed in food processor until crumbly
      • 1 1/2 packed cups (350 mL) sauerkraut, drained
      • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) ground chia seeds
      • 1/2 cup (125 mL) finely chopped parsley
      • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
      • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground black pepper
      • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cumin
      • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) caraway seeds, lightly crushed
      • 1 1/2 cups (350 mL) gluten-free panko or breadcrumbs, divided
      • 1/4 cup (60 mL) gluten-free flour
      • 1/3 cup (90 mL) beer or water


      Per serving:

      • calories217
      • protein12 g
      • total fat11 g
        • sat. fat2 g
      • total carbohydrates14 g
        • sugars3 g
        • fibre5 g
      • sodium501 mg



      In medium heat-proof bowl, soak sunflower seeds in 1 cup (250 mL) boiling water for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving soaking liquid, and transfer seeds to blender with 2 Tbsp (30 mL) reserved liquid. Blend until smooth, adding more liquid if needed to blend.


      Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).


      In large skillet, heat 1 tsp (5 mL) oil over medium heat. When hot, sauté onion and garlic for 7 minutes, stirring frequently, adding water if sticking. Transfer to large bowl and add mushrooms, crumbled tempeh, drained sauerkraut, ground chia seeds, parsley, salt, pepper, cumin, caraway, 1/2 cup (125 mL) panko, and blended sunflower seeds. Form mixture into about 18 balls (between the size of golf balls and tennis balls), squeezing out excess moisture. Place on plates or baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.


      In small bowl, whisk together gluten-free flour and beer or water. The consistency should be like thick soup rather than paste. Place remaining 1 cup (250 mL) panko in second small bowl. Check the sodium content of panko and add a pinch of salt if less than 50 mg per 1/4 cup (60 mL). Dip hands in flour mixture, then roll a ball around in your hands—rather than placing the ball directly into flour mixture. Then roll the ball directly in bowl of panko before returning it to plate. (The ball won’t fall apart if you roll directly in panko, but it will if you roll directly in the sticky flour mixture.) Repeat with remaining balls.


      In large skillet, heat 1 tsp (5 mL) oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add half the balls and cook for 1 minute. Add more oil if necessary. Turn balls several times to brown all over, cooking for 1 minute per rotation. Transfer balls to baking sheet. Wipe out skillet, add remaining oil, and brown remaining balls. When browned, bake balls on baking sheet in preheated oven for 45 minutes. Serve with grainy, Dijon, or honey mustard (see tip), or mushroom sauce.



      SEE MORE »
      Fruits of the Fall

      Fruits of the Fall

      Dive into autumn’s seasonal fruit bounty—it’s versatile and varied and lends itself to unique flavour combinations. These six recipes will help you make the most of three favourite fall fruits in sweet and savoury dishes.