Vegan Meatballs

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Hey friends! We’re happy to be back with a new post after some away-time. The reason for our absence is that we have been busy cuddling with our new family member. We are calling him Little Brother until we have decided on his real name (so difficult this time!). We are all feeling well and are mighty happy (even though our mornings have become a tad more chaotic)

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He’s a sleepy little fella.

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For today’s recipe we decided to revive a section on the blog that we started last year and then forgot all about. We call it Homemade Whole Food Staples and today’s recipe fits right in. In our preparations for little brother’s arrival we have been filling our freezer with food and these vegetarian meatballs/ vegan polpette have proved themselves really useful. They are quick to make, freeze well and are easily heated. We use them as a protein rich supplement to many dishes (see a few examples below) or as a simple main dish with pasta and a sauce. 

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Since we have so many egg-based patties in the archive, we made these vegan, using chickpeas as the protein source and binder. They are literally filled with vegetables and have almond flour and potato starch as thickener. Kind of like a vegetable packed baked falafel. Not only are they really healthy but they are absolutely delicious too, with sweetness from the carrots and peas a savouriness from the spices. 

Just like with our apple cake recipe, we have been experimenting quite a bit to get the amounts right as we wanted to have the option to both cook them in a frying pan (for times when you just want to fry up a few) or in the oven (for larger batches). They get smoother texture in the frying pan but it is a bit more fiddly to get them evenly fried. My favorite method is however to make a huge batch (double batch if you can fit it into your blender), roll them and place on two trays. I then under bake them slightly and let them cool entirely before filling the freezer with them. Because they are slightly under baked, I can reheat them without risking that they get dry and boring. They can be reheated either in a pan or in the oven.

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Here we have served them with some quinoa and a vegetarian lentil bolognese. They work really well with a pesto sauce as well.

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Here they appear in one of our #gksbowls with, golden krauts, garlic-fried kale, carrot ribbons, mushrooms, tomatoes, avocado, a sunny egg, za’atar and a drizzle of tahini. Insanely good!

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And here we’re about to roll them inside a wrap. There are lots of other possibilities. Isac prefers munching on them as a hand-held snack (although he is pretty tired of them at this point as we have served them with almost every meal for the past couple of weeks …).

Vegan Polpette
Makes 30

We use nutritional yeast to add extra depth to the flavour. It can be found in health food stores or online. If you are not vegan, it can be replaced with some grated cheese. Or simply leave it out. We kept the spices quite simple but you can try adding cayenne, sumac or curry to them for different flavour variations.

1 onion, peeled
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 inch / 2,5 cm fresh ginger, peeled
2 medium carrots or 3-4 smaller (200 g / 7 oz), peeled

1 cup / 130 g frozen sweet peas, slightly thawed
1 x 400 g / 14 oz tin chickpeas OR 1 ½ cup / 230 g cooked chickpeas, rinsed
a handful kale, coarsely chopped and thick stems discarded 

½ cup / 50 g almond flour (can be replaced with breadcrumbs)
4 tbsp potato starch (can be replaced with cornstarch, arrowroot or chickpea flour)
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp allspice
black pepper

Set the oven to 360°F / 180°C (if you are baking them) and cover a baking sheet with baking paper. Grate onion, ginger and carrots on a box grater or using the grating attachment on a food processor. Switch to the regular knife attachment on the food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and mix until the chickpeas have been mashed, with small bits and pieces of the peas and carrots still intact. With moist hands, roll into balls using roughly 1 tbsp of mixture for each ball and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden. You can flip them a few times if you like them rounder but I usually skip this and settle for one slightly flatter side. It’s easier. If you are freezing them right away, let them bake for a few minutes shorter, then let cool completely (they firm up as they cool down), transfer to freezer containers or bags and place in the fridge or freezer.

To make them in a frying pan, simply fry with a little oil on low/medium heat (they melt and get flat on too high heat) for about 10-15 minutes. Flip/roll them often to get them evenly fried.

PS! Make sure to check back next week as we have an exciting give-away coming up together with Vitamix!