These vegetarian meatballs are very versatile – they are great warm or cold (perfect for lunch boxes, if your school isn’t nut free) and so flavoursome that they are delicious served either with or without the sauce. Serve on top of zoodles, roasted spaghetti squash or pasta, or accompanied by steamed veg or salad. Or you could wrap them in lettuce leaves or pita bread with salads, sauce and mayo. It may look like there are a lot of ingredients, but don’t let that put you off – most of them are staples you will have on hand.
(Makes approximately 48)
130g raw almonds
30g dried sliced shiitake mushrooms
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
4 cloves garlic, peeled
20g extra virgin olive oil
1 can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed well (or 240g cooked kidney beans)
300g cooked quinoa (see note under recipe on how to cook quinoa in your Thermomix)
200g feta cheese, broken into chunks
60g tomato paste
50g arrowroot flour (or tapioca flour)
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce (this brand* is vegetarian)
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp salt
5 cloves garlic, peeled
300g zucchini, cut into chunks
150g red capsicum, flesh only
40g sun-dried tomatoes
800g canned tomatoes
180g tomato paste
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 3 trays with baking paper.
2. To make the meatballs, place almonds in mixer bowl. Mill for 15 seconds/speed 8/MC on. Remove from bowl, set aside.
3. Place shiitake mushrooms in mixer bowl. Blitz for 30 seconds/speed 8/MC on.
4. Add onion and garlic. Chop for 8 seconds/speed 5/MC on. Scrape down sides of bowl.
5. Add oil and 100g water. Saute for 5 minutes/steaming temperature/speed 1/MC off.
6. Add kidney beans, quinoa, feta, tomato paste, arrowroot, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, fennel, salt and the almond meal you milled earlier. Combine for 20 seconds/reverse/speed 5/MC on.
7. Refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes to firm up. You can skip this step and dollop spoonfuls of mixture onto your lined trays, they will just be slightly flatter. If you refrigerate, when the 30 minutes is up, remove mixture from fridge and shape into balls, using wet hands, placing balls on the trays as you go.
8. Bake for 20 minutes. While they are baking, make the tomato sauce.
9. To make the tomato sauce, place onion, garlic and oil in mixer bowl. Chop for 5 seconds/speed 5/MC on. Scrape down sides of bowl. Saute for 5 minutes/steaming temperature/speed 1/MC on.
10. Add zucchini, capsicum, mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes. Chop for 20 seconds/speed 5/MC on, pausing half way to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
11. Add tomatoes and tomato paste. Combine for 10 seconds/speed 5/MC on, using the spatula to incorporate, if needed.
12. Cook for 15 minutes/100/speed 2/MC on.
13. Blitz for 30 seconds/speed 7/MC on.
14. Serve meatballs covered generously with tomato sauce. I have eaten these on top of baked spaghetti squash, also on top of lightly sauteed zoodles. If you prefer, you can skip the tomato sauce altogether – the meatballs are flavoursome enough to eat without it.
To cook quinoa for this in your Thermomix, place 100g soaked or well rinsed quinoa into the internal steaming basket, along with 1.2L water in the bowl. Cook for 18 minutes, 100, speed 4.