Prep, Cooking & Assembly: 75 Mins
Type: Main meal
Tools: Sieve, non-stick pots and lids, roasting tin, silicone mat, food processor, colander, silicone spatula, casserole dish, baking tray, parchment paper, ladle, blender
Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc and (per serving) is low in added salt, sugar and saturated fats!
So we made this recipe a week ago. Al came home and asked if I had been ‘cooking meat’?! I burst out laughing and said, “Of course not!”…quickly followed by, “mission accomplished babe”!
This is a recipe that we have adapted from the days when we used to make turkey mince meatballs …so I guess I am not totally surprised that I received the reaction that I did; it’s funny how our minds perceive things…storing sounds and smells as triggers for certain memories, or in this case food!
We’re very happy about how this recipe turned out. The meatballs are not dry and horrible ‘meat’ substitutes; they are lovely little ‘veggie balls’ that are packed full of protein, fibre, and plenty of vitamins and minerals! Obviously it’s another great recipe that can be adapted to your own personal taste and shared with your family and friends.
I took the executive decision to use two tins of kidney beans instead of one… but other than that, the recipe went to plan and we are happy to be sharing it with you. We have also provided a recipe for a homemade marinara sauce, but feel free to use your favourite tomato-based sauce instead; if you plan on using a store bought variety, be mindful of the fat, sugar and salt contents! 🙂
Quick Foodie Fact:
- One serving of meatballs (based on 6 servings)* provides you with approx. 1 serving (of fruits/vegetables), towards your 5-A-Day; so make sure you have a veggie packed sauce (like ours) to help increase your servings!
Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂
Nutritional Info (‘Meatballs’ Only)
Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F. Line a roasting tin with a silicone mat or some aluminium foil.
In the meantime, cook the quinoa. Place the quinoa into a sieve; rinse under cold running water for 30 seconds to help remove some of its bitterness. Cook according to the packet instructions. Remove from the heat.
- Meanwhile, start preparing the marinara sauce (unless you are using another sauce; just start preparing the ‘meatballs’ instead!). Wash the tomatoes, remove the stems and then chop them into halves. Peel and quarter the onion.
- Place the tomatoes (cut-side up), onion and the garlic into a roasting tin. Drizzle over 15ml olive oil and 10ml of the balsamic glaze. Tip: If you do not have any glaze, use balsamic vinegar instead. Sprinkle over 1g dried basil (if desired). Season it with some salt and ground black pepper to taste.
- Place the tray into the middle oven shelf. Roast the vegetables for about 25-30 mins. Remove and allow to cool. Do not turn off the oven.
In the meantime, line a baking tray with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Lightly spray it with some low-fat cooking oil.
Prepare the ‘meatballs’. Get out a large casserole dish. Wash, trim the ends and finely grate the courgette. Wash, trim the ends, peel and finely grate the carrot. Place the courgette and carrot into a casserole dish (or large mixing bowl).
- Peel and chop the onion into halves; place it into a food processor. Pulse until minced. Remove and transfer into the dish.
- Lightly toast the bread. Place it into the food processor. Pulse and process until bread crumbs are achieved. Place them into the casserole dish.
- Open, drain and rinse the beans. Transfer them into the food processor and pulse until almost smooth. Transfer it into the dish.
- Wash, dry and finely chop the basil; add it into the casserole dish. Fluff the grains of quinoa with a fork and add it into the dish.
Here’s what our casserole dish looked like…
Add 20g tahini into the casserole dish and sprinkle over 2g Italian seasoning and 2g sweet paprika. Season it with some salt and black pepper to taste. Using your hands, mix together the ingredients; until it’s fully combined-like a giant ‘meatball’! Divide the mixture into 8 pieces. Tip: We shaped three ‘meatballs’ out of each segment (so twenty-four in total).
Dust your hands with a little bit of flour (if necessary) to shape them. Place the ‘meatballs’ onto the tray. Repeat this step until all of the mixture has been used. Lightly spray them with some low-fat cooking oil (if desired). Place them onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for approximately 15 mins. Remove.
In the meantime, cook the pasta according the packet instructions. Drain.
Meanwhile, finish preparing the marinara. Wash some basil. Remove the skins from the roasted garlic and discard them.
- Place the roasting juices (if desired), tomatoes, onion, garlic, the remaining 10ml of balsamic glaze, basil, 20g tomato purée, 100ml water and 30ml lemon juice into a blender. Process until fairly smooth. Taste and season it with some salt and black pepper.
- Transfer it into a small, non-stick saucepan over a medium-low heat and gently warm. Cover with a lid; keep it over a minimum heat until it’s served.
Once you have removed the meatballs after the initial 15 mins, increase the oven temperature to 200°C/400°F. Carefully turn the ‘meatballs’ over. Lightly spray them with some more low-fat cooking oil (if desired). Place them back onto the middle oven shelf and bake for a further 8 mins or until lightly browned. Remove. Allow to cool on the tray for 5 mins (if possible).
Serve warm. Transfer the pasta into a large serving bowl or lipped plate. Pour over the marinara (or sauce of choice!) and top with the ‘meatballs’. Garnish with some fresh basil or oregano (if desired) and enjoy!
Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable and air-tight container; reheat and consume within 3-5 days. Alternatively, freeze in a resealable container(s); defrost, reheat and consume within 2 months.Tip: We covered ours with parchment paper and cling film before sealing it with its lid.