Veggie balls with ‘Courgetti’ & Tomato
This is a lighter take on the classic meat balls and pasta and is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
- 400g cherry tomatoes on the vine
- 3 garlic cloves (no need to peel)
- olive oil, for drizzling
- Sea salt
- 4 tbsp coconut oil
- 5 large courgettes
- 1 x 28g pack basil, leaves only
For the veggie balls:
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 1 x 400g tin butter beans, drained
- 300g sweet potatoes
- 300g carrots
- 300g parsnips
- 75g flour of choice, sifted, plus extra for rolling (I used gram (chickpea) flour)
- 1 tsp smoked sweet paprika (we used La Chinata)
STEP BY STEP
Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4.
To make the sauce, put the tomatoes on a baking tray with the garlic cloves; drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and toss to mix. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes.
For the veggie balls, dry-toast the fennel seeds in a frying pan for 1-2 minutes or until they smell fragrant, then grind them using a pestle and mortar or whiz to a powder in a spice grinder, then tip into a bowl. Add the butter beans and mash them with a fork. Peel and grate the sweet potato, carrot and parsnips. Allow the mixture to sit for 5 minutes, in this time the gram flour will soak up some moisture from the vegetables and make it easier to form into balls. Add a drop of almond milk (or a milk of your choice) to bind the mixture if it still feels a little dry. Divide the mixture into 18 equal sized balls, about the size of a golf ball.
Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan and brown the balls, transferring them to a baking tray as they are ready.
Roast the veggie balls in the oven for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, use a spiralizer to turn the courgettes into noodles or a flat-bladed peeler to make ribbons; blanch in salted boiling water for 1 minute, then drain.
When the tomatoes are ready, discard the vines and put the tomatoes in a liquidiser along with any caramelised bits from the baking tray. Squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins and add those along with half of the basil; blend to a sauce.
To serve, divide the ‘courgetti’ between four shallow bowls, place 3 veggie balls on each and pour over some of the sauce. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and scatter with rest of the basil.
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