Wednesday 3 August 2011

Vegetarian meatballs

We are back from our holiday!  Two loads of washing are on the line (in glorious sunny windy washing weather), Zinc is back from the cat motel, we are mostly unpacked and I have bread proving.  I will write about our trip to Orange soon.  Just now my energy levels are well suited to finishing off a half-written post about vegetarian meatballs that I made a few weeks back.

I found this recipe at the Nummy Kitchen while surfing the net and was curious because it used cottage cheese and nuts.  My favourite vegetarian sausage rolls and my favourite Christmas nut roast used cottage cheese.  When I had some leftover cottage cheese in the fridge I decided to try it out.  However, I just used what was in the house rather than following the recipe closely.

Andrea at Nummy Kitchen baked her vegetarian meatballs.  I thought it might be quicker to shallow fry so Sylvia could have some.  She didn't really eat them the first night but tried one or two the night night.  I ended up baking them as well.  They were good but I preferred them the second night after I compared mine to the recipe and remembered that Andrea had cooked hers in tomato sauce.  I whipped up some tomato sauce and served these with rice and lightly fried chopped vegies.  This was a far better way to serve them.

Now I will share with you my dilemma with this dish.  What is the best name for them?  Vegetarian meatballs seems like an oxymoron.  "Neatballs" and "veatballs" don't sound right.  "Beetballs" would amuse me if they had beetroot in them - but they don't!  "Nut balls" seems to have been seconded for sweet balls.  So like some others, I stick with vegetarian meatballs.  Any suggestions are welcome.

Back to the recipe, I can highly recommend it.  It is tasty and mimics mincemeat quite well, though it lacks the texture of the amazing vegetarian sausage rolls.  Looking around the web, there are lots of ways to serve these "meatballs" - on a sandwich, on top of pizza, in sweet and sour sauce or even in a gravy.  I am sure I will be experimenting further.  This might be an excellent way to serve fresh pasta if I ever get around to using my new pasta machine.

Meanwhile, I need to finish off packing, get the bread in the oven, bring in the washing, give Zinc lots of attention, make dinner and find some time to visit other blogs.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: PPN Whimsical Mushroom and Rhubarb Soup
This time two years ago: Apple and date cake
This time three years ago: Paella with thanks
This time four years ago: Baking cake for climate change

Veggie Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
Inspired by Nummy Kitchen 
Serves 4-6

1 cup hazelnut meal
1 cup breadcrumbs
3 eggs
1/2 cup (unpacked) finely grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
250g cottage cheese

Tomato sauce:
1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
2  x 400g tins of diced tomatoes
slurp of whiskey
few good shakes of smoked paprika and oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
water as required

Mix all ingredients and roll into balls the size of a walnut.  Fry lightly in oil and bake for about 30 minutes in a hot oven.

To make tomato sauce: fry onion in oil for 5-10 minutes until lightly browned.  Add remaining ingredients and a bit of water to rinse out the tomato tins.  Bring to the boil and simmer to thicken slightly.  Add meatballs and simmer for a couple of minutes.  Turn over and simmer a few more minutes.  Serve with either pasta or rice.

On the Stereo:
Time Stands Still: The Collection - Rush


  1. Savoury nut balls perhaps? Name aside, though, they look great. And versatile - I can imagine them pairing well with lots of sides.

    I'll look forward to hearing about your trip :)

  2. I've never had normal spaghetti and meatballs, but I know I'd love these more. Nut and cheese, yes please!

    I can't believe your holiday is over already, though! Where is the time going? But then I remember it's already a week since my grandpa went to hospital, and my discombobulation makes more sense.

  3. These sound good - I love the idea of cottage cheese for protein.

    You could call them vege bombs (my favourite vegetarian 'meatball' style recipe are these soy bombs

  4. This looks so delicious and I bet it was too. Hope you had a good rest whilst you were away. I once (at least 10 years ago) made a really tasty recipe for No Meat Balls by Sophie Grigson made with tofu. It was a bit too faffy for me and I never made it again, but I've been meaning to ever since cos it was very good and I believe dairy free. I can probably find it somewhere and send it to you if you are interested.

  5. Welcome back! Hope you had a great time. These vege "meatballs" look fabulous - I would happily tuck into a plate of these.

  6. I've been looking for a good veggie meatball recipe, so i'll definitely have to try these! I had to laugh at all of your name options for these...veggie balls perhaps?

  7. Interesting recipe! We love doing mock-up meat classics. I think we hava e recipe or two for meatballs using Seitan or TVP; I recall you're not the biggest fan of meat subsitutes, but the texture you get is amazing and they're pretty low in fat compared to their cheese and egg alternative. I will deffinitely try this one though, probably with a sandwich which is my favourite way of using these little nuggets..

  8. Welcome back Johanna! These look delicious. I've always made some with TVP but these sound better!

  9. Very cool idea! I'd never have cottage cheese in meatballs! :D

    I love to reinterpret classic dishes and adjust them to the diet I eat. These look like it perfectly worked for a vegeratarian application. :)

  10. Thanks Kari - they are very versatile - maybe that is why the name is so hard

    Thanks Hannah - I am not sure if I have had spaghetti and meatballs either - but I agree that a week ago seems a long time ago so 20 years since I ate meat seems like forever

    Thanks Sophie - I had forgotten those soy bombs - they do have a great name

    Thanks choclette - - would be interested to hear what Sophie Grigson puts in her no meat balls - I quite like the Mollie Katzen tofu nut balls which are dairy free - and Cindy found that tofu easily replaced egg and cottage cheese in the veg sausage rolls so I am sure that would work here

    Thanks Cakelaw - I'd happily serve you a plate of these

    Thanks Joanne - yes try these but also check out the soy bombs that sophie mentioned - I have tried these as meatballs and they were rather good too

    Thanks Adam and Theresa - I do like the sound of these balls in a sandwich - you are right that I am not so keen on seitan and tvp - but it is interesting that you find them lower in fat

    Thanks Lorraine - always good to have alternatives to tvp

    Thanks Kath - I love reinterpreting classics too - it is a great way to inspire some creativity

  11. They look really tasty, and I like the idea of the combination of cheese and nuts, I wonder if I could grind/soften some cashews to try? I've never really wanted to eat real meatballs and spaghetti, but these look great.

  12. Welcome back from your holidays.

    My husband keeps reminding me of meatballs, as he want to enjoy them stuffed in a sub bread! (Teh last time i made them was perhaps two years ago)I keep forgetting about them - your post has given me a kickstart to make them some time in the near future. I do like your veggie versions, so will keep it in mind.

  13. I'm so behind on blog reading and you are cooking up a storm! You must be back from vacay for some time now (guess the unpacking is done!).;)

    I love the sound of these. . . veggie balls? Veggie nuggets? Nut nuggets? Veggie orbs? VPBs (veg protein balls)? Whatever they are--yum. :D

  14. Ooo I love the idea of frying the meatballs!


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