These vegetarian meatballs are based on a recipe by Rose Elliot which I first made many years ago and have always loved. Cooked in a simple tomato sauce and served with spaghetti, they make a really lovely veggie pasta dish for family or friends. They are also very easy to prepare. A yummy vegetarian meal.
I usually include mozzarella in the recipe but they are effortlessly made vegan - a version which is fab too. All you need to do is exclude the cheese and use an extra tablespoon of peanut butter.
¾ cup/100g whole unsalted almonds in their skins
1 cup/60g of whole wheat breadcrumbs (if you make your own breadcrumbs this is about 2 average slices of bread)
1 tablespoon of very finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon of dried basil
½ cup/50g grated mozzarella
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon of tomato ketchup
1 tablespoon of peanut butter
About 3½ cups/800mls of homemade or bought tomato sauce
Spaghetti to serve
You will also need a small casserole dish to bake the meatballs. This Le Creuset Stoneware Dish is a good size and excellent quality.
Chop the nuts very finely using a food processor or blender. Now place them in a large bowl and add in the breadcrumbs, chopped onion, basil, grated mozzarella and some salt and pepper. Combine well, then stir in the ketchup and peanut butter to form a 'dough' or 'meat'-like mixture. I find it best to use my hands to bring it all together.
Divide the mixture into eight equal pieces then roll each one between the palms of your hands to form balls, squeezing each one slightly to make sure they are pretty compact.
Place the meatballs in an ovenproof dish or casserole and cover with tomato sauce. You need enough to generously cover the meatballs. The exact amount you use depends on your preference and the size of your dish!Bake for 20 to 25 minutes at 350F/180F. Serve with spaghetti.