Sunday, July 12, 2015

Meatless Mondays - Asian Style Vegie 'Meatballs'

Meatless Mondays - Asian Style Vegie 'Meatballs' with Taro Avocado Sauce
Meatless Mondays - Asian Style Vegie 'Meatballs' with Taro Avocado Sauce

Lance isn't the easiest person to convince to eat vegetarian. Even though unless it's smoked, roasted and/or pulled...generally the meat portion of the meal isn't even his favourite part. Somehow the IDEA of vegetarian can be offensive. So I've learnt to serve vegetarian meals without bothering to mention the lack of meat. I don't actively seek to eat vegetarian, as I'm a fairly committed omnivore myself, but given I was recently made redundant, I figure a cheaper dish by omitting meat here and there is probably not a bad idea. On top of that, I'd forgotten to get any meat out to defrost! That's my most frequent reason for vegetarianism - lack of planning!

These veggie meatballs are one of those dishes that Lance really loves, even though he'll complain if I'm telling him we're having a vegetarian night. I don't know if it's the meatiness of the mushrooms, or maybe it's the format of the "meatballs" - but this is a good dish to serve those meat-addicts in your life. The ginger and chili add a nice flavour kick to the mushrooms and lentils - which tend to need a helping hand in terms of flavour. Just don't call them "rissoles" or that opens up a whole new kettle of prejudices!

I kept a vague Asian theme to the sauce by pureeing some taro with coconut milk, avocado and ponzu sauce to make a creamy counterbalance to the spicy meatballs. If you can't find ponzu sauce, a tablespoon (or two) of the mushroom oyster sauce also works well. As does replacing half a cup of coconut milk with stock. In fact, you can add an extra cup or two of stock and turn the sauce into a soup!

You can also make these as a large pattie and turn them into veggie burgers. Also, any leftover balls make excellent tacos!
Meatless Mondays - Asian Style Vegie 'Meatballs' with Taro Avocado Sauce
Meatless Mondays - Asian Style Vegie 'Meatballs' with Taro Avocado Sauce
Meatless Mondays - Asian Style Vegie 'Meatballs' with Taro Avocado Sauce
Meatless Mondays - Asian Style Vegie 'Meatballs' with Taro Avocado Sauce
Meatless Mondays - Asian Style Vegie 'Meatballs' with Taro Avocado Sauce


Asian Vegie Meatballs

1 tin lentils, rinsed and drained
4 tbsps plus 1tbsps olive oil
1 red onion, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
1 red capsicum, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 bunches coriander, roots/stems diced separately to leaves
1 thumb size piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 green chili, minced
1 red chili, half minced, half sliced into rings for garnish
4 tbsp mushroom oyster sauce (if you're not vegetarian, normal oyster sauce is fine)
250g Mushrooms, wiped clean and diced
2 eggs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped cashews



Heat 4 tbsps olive oil in a large pan to a medium heat and add the onions, carrots, capsicum, garlic, ginger and chilis. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring here and there until the vegetables soften. Add the mushrooms and coriander stems cook for a further 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms release their liquid and it is then reabsorbed. Stir through the oyster sauce and cook for 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and allow to come to room temperature.

When cooled, add the lentils to the vegetable mixture, then form a well in the centre of the bowl. Add the eggs, parmesan, breadcrumbs, cashews and coriander leaves and mix by hand until everything is evenly distributed. Place in the fridge for half an hour.


Preheat the oven to 175C


Rub the remaining olive oil over the base and walls of a baking dish. Leave the olive oil on your hands to help you with the rolling. Roll the now cold mixture into balls about the size of golf balls, or a little larger. Pack firmly so they hold their shape. Place the balls into the baking tray, packing so they're almost touching.


Pop in the oven for 30 minutes, or until firm and a bit crispy on top. Leave in the tray for 5 minutes to settle before removing, so they are less likely to fall apart. Serve with Taro Avocado sauce and rice.

Meatless Mondays - Asian Style Vegie 'Meatballs' with Taro Avocado Sauce



Taro Avocado Sauce


1 baby taro root (around the size of a fist)
2 avocados
4 tbsp ponzu sauce
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
water for thinning if required
quarter cup coriander leaves, roughly chopped
salt + pepper

Wash the taro root, then steam for 45 minutes, or until fork tender. Allow to cool enough to touch, then peel.Cut into chunks.

Add the taro, coconut milk and avocado to your blender, and mix until smooth. Add water if required to get to your desired consistency. Add the ponzu sauce and coriander leaves, blend to mix. Taste for seasoning.

If it's cooled too much, pour into a little saucepan and gently reheat when ready to serve.

(Can also be thinned with stock to make a Taro Avocado Soup!)

Meatless Mondays - Asian Style Vegie 'Meatballs' with Taro Avocado Sauce
Meatless Mondays - Asian Style Vegie 'Meatballs' with Taro Avocado Sauce