Was craving for ‘meatballs’ the whole week. Finally got down to making some when my boyfriend Marc had the evening off. My ‘meatballs’ were vegetarian served with a spicy harissa tomato sauce and a tiny blob of Greek yoghurt. Delicious and frugal too! Here is the recipe:
Ingredients (makes 12 ‘meatballs’):
- 150g brown mushrooms (aka cremini mushrooms, chestnut mushrooms), finely diced
- 100g red lentils
- 100g quinoa
- 5 walnuts, chopped (for added crunch)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup of vegetable stock
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
- 1 handful of parsley, finely chopped
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- cumin seeds
- 2 tsps paprika (1 tsp for ‘meatballs’, 1 tsp for sauce)
- 2 tsps cayenne pepper (1 tsp for ‘meatballs’, 1 tsp for sauce)
- 2 tsps of crushed chillies (1 tsp for ‘meatballs’, 1 tsp for sauce)
- 1 tsp of harissa
- black pepper
- salt and sugar to taste
- half can of chopped tomatoes
1. Cook lentils in 1/2 cup vegetable stock and some water according to packaging instructions for about 20 minutes until soft. Mash them with the back of a spoon when they are cooked. The lentils will serve as glue to hold the ‘meatball’ together.
2. Cook quinoa according to packaging instructions in the remaining stock. The quinoa is to bulk up the ‘meatballs’ so you can have them as a one-dish meal.
3. Lightly sauté mushrooms with 1/4 onions (chopped) and 1 clove of garlic (minced) in a little olive oil. They don’t have to be completely cooked as they will be go through another round of cooking in the oven.
4. Preheat oven. In a mixing bowl, add mashed lentils, quinoa, chopped walnuts, and egg to the mushrooms. Add 1 tsp of ground cumin, 1 tsp of crushed chillies, 1 tsp of cayenne pepper, 1 tsp of paprika, and parsley. Mix well. Season with salt and black pepper.
5. Taste test 1 tsp by shallow frying in a little oil. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
6. Line baking tray with baking paper. Form mixture into 12 balls and place them carefully on the baking tray, ensuring that the ‘meatballs’ are at least 1cm apart. Bake for 20 minutes on gas mark 5.
7. Meanwhile, sauté onion, garlic, and cumin seeds in a little olive oil. When aromatic, add tinned tomatoes. Let simmer for about 8. minutes until sauce is reduced to a thicker consistency. Season with black pepper, salt, and a little sugar if necessary.
9. When the ‘meatballs’ turn a lovely brown colour and form a slightly crispy crust, they are ready. Eat them by dipping them into your harissa tomato sauce.