Veggie balls with ‘courgetti’ and tomato and basil sauce

I was delighted to have been given the Guest Chef spot for Sainsbury’s last June for which I created 13 new recipes. This recipe is a great substitute for a pasta or rice dish – the spaghetti here is made with courgettes using a spiralizer – one of my favourite kitchen aids.

Serves 4 // Prep 40 mins // Total time 1 hr 20 mins

Veggie balls with ‘courgetti’

Get ahead?

Make the sauce and the veggie balls a day ahead; chill both. The sauce can also be frozen. Bring the veggie balls back to room temperature before frying.

You will need

  • 400g cherry tomatoes on the vine
  • 3 garlic cloves (no need to peel)
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • sea salt
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 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 gram (chickpea) flour, sifted, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 tsp smoked sweet paprika (we used La Chinata)

Step by Step

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 parsnip and add those along with the flour, sweet paprika and some seasoning; mix thoroughly. Then, on a floured work surface, divide the mixture into 12 and make 12 equal-sized balls.
  4. Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan and brown the balls, transferring them to a baking tray as they are ready.
  5. Roast the veggie balls in the oven for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, use a spiralizer (head over to my shop to buy one) to turn the courgettes into noodles or a flat-bladed peeler to make ribbons; blanch in salted boiling water for 1 minute, then drain.
  6. 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.
  7. 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, shredded.


Created for Sainsbury’s Magazine
Photograph by Martin Poole

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