Making every bite count

03 February 2008

veggie meatballs

My latest obsession is veggie meatballs. My first inspiration was Valerie Williams of Five Star Foodies, which is the subject of my column on Wednesday. She's coming out with a veggie burger made from artichokes and cashew flour. Unfortunately, I have a cashew allergy. A few days later, I had one of the best falafels I've had in a long time, at Jordan Valley around the corner from work. And then this morning, I caught an episode of Bobby Flay's "Throwdown." The challenge? Spaghetti and meatballs.
I set to work. I got a new grinder for Christmas, so now one is strictly for coffee and the other is for grains, seeds and spices. I tend to push the limits of my appliances and have burned the motors out on a couple of gadgets already. I was surprised that my little grinder could tackle chickpeas, and soon I had a batch of chickpea flour. (Later, I realized that lentils are far easier to grind and substituted lentil flour for chickpea flour.)
Veggie-ball No. 1
2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
1/2 c chickpea flour*
1/4 bell pepper
1/4 onion
1 teaspoon harissa (a North African spice blend)
In a food processor, place chickpeas, pepper and onion. pulse until a coarse paste forms. Add the chickpea flour and spices, then pulse again until well mixed.

Shape balls and refrigerate for a few hours to allow them to set.
Veggie-balls No. 2
2 cups chickpeas, soaked overnight
1/2 c lentil flour
1/4 bell pepper
1/2 onion
1/2 jalapeno pepper
1 t ginger
3 cubes frozen cilantro (or handful of fresh)
3 cloves garlic
1 carrot, roughly chopped
Combine all ingredients except flour in food processor; pulse until a coarse paste forms. Add flour and pulse again until well-incorporated. Shape into balls and refrigerate so balls can set.
Veggie loaf
6 slices dark rye bread
1 egg
3 small carrots, chopped
1/2 onion
1/4 bell pepper
1 t dried oregano
8 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
3 cloves garlic
Pulse veggies and garlic in food processor until well chopped. Add bread and spices, pulse again. Add egg and pulse until mixed. Place in greased loaf pan and bake at 350 for 15 minutes, then top with pureed tomatoes or ketchup and bake another 10 minutes.
This tastes deceptively like meatloaf!

*Place dried beans or legumes in a clean coffee grinder and pulse until a powder forms.

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At 18 February, 2008 05:56 , Anonymous Great Big Vegetable CHallenge said...

I like the sound of these and will try them out.
Was it difficult to make?
Charlotte and Freddie

At 18 February, 2008 16:31 , Blogger srr said...

Not at all. The hardest part was grinding the chickpeas. Chickpea flour is readily available; I'd recommend buying some. Grinding chickpeas caused quite a racket!


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