These saucy little vegan cocktail meatballs are super scrumptious with a tangy sweet & sour cranberry sauce!
If you can’t find small pieces of TVP, you can pulse large pieces in a food processor before hydrating.
In a mixing bowl, add bouillon and water and stir to combine and dissolve. Then pour over the TVP in a larger bowl. Let it soak until the TVP pieces have expanded, but are still a bit firm to touch. It will only take a few minutes. Strain over the first mixing bowl to reserve the stock, which you’ll use for the sweet and sour sauce, and gently press the TVP to ensure the TVP pieces aren’t soaked in liquid.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium cast iron skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic for 2 to 3 minutes until soft and fragrant. Lower heat if necessary to prevent burning. Then add all the spices, sea salt, and ground black pepper and cook for another minute. Then add in the strained TVP and stir to combine, cooking for another 2 to 3 minutes.
In the meantime, you can make the cranberry sweet and sour sauce by combining all the ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Set aside until meatballs have been browned.
Wipe your skillet clean of any residue from sautéing the onions. Heat it over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, coating the pan evenly on the bottom. Once hot, place meatballs just slightly spaced apart in the skillet and brown on one side for about 1 to 2 minutes. Do not overcrowd. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to do these in 2 batches.
Gently flip the meatballs and brown all remaining sides for about another 1 to 2 minutes each. They should be evenly browned up and slightly crispy on all sides. This took me about 12 minutes in 2 batches. Then remove the meatballs from the pan onto your parchment lined baking sheet.
Pour about 1/2 the sweet and sour sauce into the skillet and place meatballs in the sauce slightly spaced apart. Then take a spoon or brush and coat the tops of the meatballs with sauce from the remaining amount. Leave about 2 tablespoons of sauce to coat just before serving once out of the oven.
After removing the skillet from the oven, brush the remaining sauce on the meatballs and garnish with snipped chives. Serve immediately either with toothpicks and guests can take meatballs right out of the pan, or scoop with spoons onto plates.