Saucy, giant, vegan ‘meat balls’

This is an interesting recipe. I read an article about some restaurant using fermented and umami flavours to bring ‘meatiness’ to veggie dishes, and in wake of a recent experiment at making sourdough (let’s just say I won’t be posting a recipe any time soon), had lots laying around to play with. These meatballs are herby, robust and you can really get your teeth into them. Baked in a slightly spiced tomato sauce, this is a lovely tray bake meal, and something a bit different to my usual carb-based meals (although, see copious amounts of focaccia on the side).

Serves 2

Ready in 40 minutes

FOR THE MEATBALLS

  • 2 carrots
  • half an onion
  • 1 tin of beans
  • 1 slice of sourdough bread (you could also use regular bread if necessary)
  • 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 clove of garlic

FOR THE SLIGHTLY SPICED TOMATO SAUCE

  • 1 can of tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1 tbsp. Vinegar (balasamic or red wine)
  • 1/2 tap. Dried chilli
  • half a head of broccoli
  • Zest if half a lemon

METHOD

  • Whizz your carrot and onion. In a large saucepan, fry for five minutes in a splash of oil. In the meantime, chuck all of the other meatball ingredients into the food processor. Add back your sauteed veggies, but keep your pan on the heat. Blend everything together until you have a sticky but shape-able dough.
  • Add a splash of oil to your pan and pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6. Shape the mixture into four large balls and place into the frying pan, letting them go for five minutes until you have a crispy bottom (the tops will crisp up whilst in the oven.
  • Meanwhile, place your tomatoes, chilli, oregano and vinegar into the food processor (no need to wash) with 4 tbsp. water, and blitz until smooth.
  • Place your meatballs crisp side down into a baking dish, and pour in your sauce (pour it around rather than on top of the meatballs). Cut or break your broccoli into medium sized florets and scatter in and around the sauce.
  • Drizzle with oil and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the broccoli is browned at the edges, and the balls are crisp.
  • Just before serving, scatter with some zingy lemon zest. Plate up and enjoy.
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