Vegetarian meatballs

Another vegetarian dish to show that vegetarian food isn't boring and can be very nice. This time I prepare vegetarian meatballs in tomato sauce. No, this is not because I want to replace meat although that argument is perfectly acceptable if you want to become vegetarian because you don't want animals suffer but have difficulties not eating meat. I eat it because the vegetarian balls are very nice and the sauce is totally veggie. Let's start ...

Ingredients

Fig. 1: Vegetables to prepare the sauce.
First we need the ingredients. To prepare the sauce I used as vegetables green asparagus, red pepper, courgette, onion, peanuts and almond nuts, ginger and garlic, sprouting leek and wok mix (i.e. soya, azuki, lentils, chicken pea, borlotti, peas and wheat) while also tomato puree, tabasco sauce, vegetarian bouillon and olive oil and garlic butter (Fig. 1). Of course, I also needed vegetarian balls which I bought but may one day try preparing myself (Fig. 2). In addition I prepared rice and used herbs (i.e. pepper, a little salt, basil) and cheese.

Preparation

First I cut some garlic into small pieces, fried them a little in olive oil and then added rice for a short period to fry the rice shortly but also to allow it to absorb the oil and garlic flavour before adding water. Then I boil the rice so it can take up the water and after about 20 min (depending from the rice) the rice is ready.

Fig. 2: Vegetarian meat balls.
While the rice is cooking I cut the leek sprouts in small pieces as otherwise they stick together in the sauce. Also the onion, pepper, courgette, asparagus, garlic and ginger are cut in small pieces and I halve the almond nuts.

Next I melt the garlic butter in a baking pan, together with a little olive oil and fry the peanuts a little before adding the asparagus and some of the courgette, red pepper and onion. I also add herbs according to taste and when the vegetables becomes slightly brown, I add about half of the leek and other sprouts and the almond nuts, some garlic and ginger pieces. After another few minutes, I transfer everything into a large pot while I add the rest of the vegetables and garlic and mix it well (Fig. 3). By doing so, the same vegetables add slightly different flavours to the sauce as some vegetables are boiled while others are bakes/boiled. Finally, I add tomato puree and water and half a vegetarian bouillon block and let it heat up. Ones the sauce starts boiling (bubbling), I let it continue to boil on a lower fire to allow all vegetables become soft but also the flavours can mix.

Fig. 3: Nice mixture of vegetables, almost a pity I will add tomato sauce while the rice is at the background, ready to serve.
In the meanwhile, I fry the vegetarian meatballs in garlic butter so they get a nice brown colour before adding them to the tomato sauce. I also add a little tabasco for a stronger flavour and some red pepper powder, but this depends upon your our taste. Finally, just before serving I mix some pieces of fresh basil leaves in the sauce. Then I add the rice and tomato sauce on a plate (Fig. 4), add some cheese on top and eat. Enjoy your meal.

Fig. 4: Ready for serving.

Extra tips

Of course, you may think I didn't use all possible options and you may have added some other ingredients. Then you are right because you can also add for instance carrots and mushrooms or different colours of peppers according to you taste. Maybe you don't like ginger and leave it out. Or you prefer potatoes or bread instead of rice. And thus, by changing the ingredients, you have each time another taste. Use your imagination as cooking is like art.

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