Nutty vegan meatballs! Trust me, you need these in your life. As somebody who is perpetually on the lookout for creative new lunch dishes, these were an absolute godsend. I have a lunch limit – any one lunch dish can be on rotation for a maximum of three days in a row and even then, three is pushing it. Ideally, I’d say two.
Of course, for somebody who takes a packed lunch to work, bulk lunch prep is often a lifesaver. But I get so incredibly bored of incredibly delicious food, simply as a result of eating it for too many days on the trot. I need a good few weeks between recipes before I’m ready to let it pass my lips a second time. And sometimes I forget this rule because something is so delicious I automatically believe that means I’ll want to eat it for six days in a row. Note to self: you WILL NOT. I can’t be the only one, surely?
So, good lunch recipes are worth their weight in gold for me. I want them to be fairly light and nourishing, but they have to be satisfying. A limp salad just will not cut it! (Not that you’ll ever find such a thing gracing my lunchbox!)
Enter these nutty vegan meatballs, complete with a super creamy sun-dried tomato sauce. There’s nothing like a lunchbox filled with plant-powered goodness to get you through the day! I keep referring to these as a lunch dish, but they are also great as an evening meal. It’s just that I tend to prefer something a little cosier in the evenings. Although, I haven’t tried it yet, but I’d imagine these would be great served hot in a tomato sauce or some other creamy sauce of your choosing.
So, I won’t lie to you – these vegan meatballs come with a pretty epic ingredient list. But they come together pretty quickly and easily. The only caveat here is that you need a food processor to make them. If you don’t, I wouldn’t even bother. But if you do – yay! Nutty vegan meatballs are in your future!
These meatballs are based on the concept of a good old nut roast. They’re packed to the brim with goodness and most importantly – tons of flavour. And so much texture! We’re talking nuts, veggies, mushrooms, herbs and sun-dried tomatoes. And a silky 5-minute vegan sauce to drizzle all over them. Oh, that sauce. It’s so rich and creamy you wouldn’t believe it! So, are you ready for this?
One final thing before we get to the recipe. Err, yeah, I bought a spiralizer. I’m a huge fan of kitchen gadgets. I love ’em. But a gadget only gets a permanent home in my kitchen if it’s truly worth it’s salt. Maybe I’ll talk more about my kitchen armoury in another post – is that something you’d be interested in? Let me know.
But for now – my new spiralizer. Why has it taken me so long to buy one? I’m enamoured! Until purchasing the spiralizer, I was using a julienne peeler or a mandolin to create veggie noodles. That works well enough, but the resulting strips are pretty tough to eat. Not only are they an awkward shape, they’re also quite thick and hard. A spiralizer on the other hand, makes veggie noodles that are a dream to eat! For that alone, it’s worth it, not to mention the fact that spiralized veggies are just so cute! I love them and I love how they make such a delicious and most importantly, sturdy base for lunchtime salads. I’m converted.
Nutty Vegan Meatballs with Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce
- 300 g mixed nuts (3 cups) walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, cashews, etc
- 50 g mixed seeds (5 tbsp) sunflower, pumpkin, poppy, sesame, etc
- 2 medium onions roughly chopped
- 2 carrots roughly chopped
- 1 green pepper roughly chopped
- 1 cloves bulb roasted garlic OR 3 raw garlic
- 30 g bunch parsley (1 oz)
- 250 g mushrooms (9 oz) chestnut or portabella are great
- 100 g sun-dried tomatoes (1/2 cup) in oil
- in small handful of dried porcini mushrooms optional, soaked in boiling water
- 50 g chia seeds (5 tbsp) soaked in 175 ml (3/4 cup) water
- 3 sprigs rosemary finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon celery salt optional
- 150 g flour spelt, buckwheat, rye, etc
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 tablespoons oil of your choice - rapeseed coconut, etc
For the sauce
- 120 ml water (1/2 cup)
- 3 tablespoons cashew butter
- 1 clove garlic
- 3-4 in sun-dried tomatoes oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 180°C. Place the mixed nuts and seeds into a food processor and process until finely ground but not to the point that you have flour - you still want a few chunkier pieces for texture. Transfer the ground nuts and seeds to a large mixing bowl.
- Add the onions, carrots, green pepper, garlic and parsley to the processor. Pulse until finely chopped. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large frying pan and add the chopped vegetables. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until softened. Add to the mixing bowl.
- Place the mushrooms into the food processor and pulse until finely chopped but not a paste! Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the frying pan and add the mushrooms. Sauté until most of the water has evaporated from the pan. Add to the mixing bowl.
- Add the sun-dried tomatoes and soaked porcini (if using) to the processor and blitz to a paste. Add this to the bowl along with the chia gel, herbs and spices, flour and salt. Mix well.
- Form into golf ball sized meatballs and place on two parchment-lined baking trays. You should get around 34 meatballs. Bake for 30 minutes or until firm and golden. Serve with spiralized veggies and creamy sun-dried tomato sauce.
For the sauce
- Place all ingredients in a powerful blender and blitz until smooth. Taste to check seasoning.
Nutrition information is for 3 meatballs, not including sauce.