I have to say I was a bit dubious of making these vegan balls, mainly because I am an avid lover of the meaty version (and have plenty of recipes if you’re not actually a vegan). I also wasn’t too sure how well they would bind together, being egg free and all, so I just whipped up the mixture, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best – and what an awesome result it turned out to be!! I loved every mouthful of this dish, and could even go as far as to say that they were better than the real deal. They were also equally great as a snack the next day, dipped in some lemony paprika mayo (just stir the juice of a lemon, 2 tbsp light mayo and 1/2 tsp of paprika together), and I made them for some friends this weekend – along with some homemade vegan spinach pasta! It’s fair to say I’m pretty much addicted!
For the vegan balls
- 400g tin lentils – drained and rinsed
- 40g walnut halves
- 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for roasting
- 4 chestnut mushrooms – finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves – peeled and finely chopped
- 1 cup kale leaves – de-stemmed and finely chopped
- 2 tbsp cranberries
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 85g slightly stale bread – torn apart
- Juice ½ lemon
- 2 tbsp red wine
For the sauce
- 10-12 cherry tomatoes – cut into halves
- Pinch Sugar
- Salt and pepper
- Drizzle olive oil
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 2 tsp redcurrant jelly
- juice ½ lemon
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- Splash water
For the pasta
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 courgette – topped and tailed and cut into very fine strips
- 1 chilli – deseeded and finely chopped
- 1 onion – peeled and finely sliced
- 6 black olives – finely chopped
- 60g spaghetti – cooked according to the pack instructions
- Mixed Leaves – to serve
Pre-heat the oven to 140’C
Toss the cherry tomatoes with the sugar, olive oil and salt and pepper
Place them on a baking tray so the the flat cut side is facing up and then slowly roast in the oven for an hour
Place your walnuts in a dry tin and roast for 10 minutes to bring out the flavour.
Whiz the walnuts together with the bread and the cranberries until well chopped
While the walnuts are cooking, heat the oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the garlic and mushrooms until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Add the kale and the vinegar and cook again, until the liquid has evaporated.
Stir together all the ingredients to the meatballs and mash until you have a pretty smooth consistency
Shape into 12 balls and chill in the fridge for half an hour
When your balls have chilled; turn up the heat on the oven to 180’C, roll the balls in olive oil and bake them for 12 minutes.
Heat a large wok or pan with a splash of oil and fry the onions for 2 minutes, before adding the chilli and the courgette for another couple of minutes
Whisk together the tomato puree, red current jelly, lemon juice, oil and water until well combined.
Add this to the pan with the spaghetti, roasted tomatoes and olives and cook through for a couple of minutes.
Stir through some mixed leaves, plate up and top with your yummy vegan balls.