Mediterranean neatballs

Pesto Mediterranean Neatballs

I have been making meat-free meatballs for a while now but my newest recipe for Mediterranean neatballs is by far my favourite. My daughter had to ask me if I was sure there wasn’t any meat in this recipe! And woah if there was, my life wouldn’t be worth living with my little vegetarian! Any vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian or meat lover will love these as they are packed full of flavour and goodness. The texture is what gets you. It’s hard to believe these neatballs are full of delicious vegan ingredients as they are firm like meatballs and easy to cook on a pan or baked in the oven. They are also perfect served with any Mediterranean sauce or pesto. You can also adapt my Mediterranean neatball recipe by taking out the pesto if you want to serve it with an Indian sauce. Yes, I don’t fancy pesto and tikka masala mixed together but hey, anything goes these days!

Mediterranean neatballs

 

Most of my followers and friends know of my passion for my thermomix. I use it for most of my recipes but normally provide the traditional method for all my recipes. Well over the last few weeks I have had loads of requests and messages to PLEASE provide recipes the thermomix way, so, from now on I will be providing a method for both. Woohoo! I hope to go over my old ones to adjust those in due time. And I guess the arrival of my new thermomix to our household this week helps. My old one is heading off live in Spain at the end of the month while my new one stays in Ireland. I will be reviewing the new thermomix in my lifestyle section very soon.

So, back to the neatballs. I just love that name! My friends thought I was having a laugh with them when I said I was making Mediterranean neatballs. They said you mean meatballs? I said no neatballs. Seriously you do mean meatballs? No, seriously. Looks like I will be having a neatballs party to prove my point. 

 

Almonds

Almonds are my favourite type of nut to act as a mild base for any recipe. The flavour of almonds is mild and not over powering so I use these as a base in many sauces, energy balls, pastry bases and meat-free recipes. Almonds are packed full of nutrition and are known for helping fight against heart disease and they also help lower cholesterol. They are high in protein, magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, vitamin E and zinc and they contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils. Almonds are delicious in salads, sauces and sweet dishes.

Mediterranean neatballs

Walnuts

I love walnuts as they impart an earthy nutty flavour to savoury and sweet recipes to give them another dimension. As well as being tasty, walnuts are one of the healthiest nuts around and are often labelled as food for the brain. They are high in antioxidants and an integral part of the Mediterranean diet. Walnuts are high in Vitamin E, minerals such as magnesium, manganese, copper and phosphorous. These nuts contain omega 3 fatty acids and alpha-linolenic acid, one of the few nuts that do. They are also rich in protein and fibre. Walnuts are delicious in salads, cakes and savoury dishes.

Mediterranean neatballs

Pesto Mediterranean Neatballs 

Ingredients

  • 100g ground almonds 
  • 50g walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons shelled hempseed or chia seeds
  • 100g cooked brown basmati rice
  • 1 onion 
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons wild garlic pesto or basil pesto
  • 1 large handful fresh basil 
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ΒΌ teaspoon salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan or nutritional yeast (for vegans)
  • 1 egg or 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed mixed with 2 tablespoons water)

Traditional Method

Directions

  1. Chop the walnuts and place them in a bowl with the ground almonds and cooked brown rice. Mix well.
  2. Grate the onion and add to the mixture. Crush the garlic and add to the mixture mixing until well combined.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until the mixture comes together like a crumbly dough. 
  4. Form into balls and roll in extra ground almonds.
  5. Pan fry in rapeseed oil until browned. Alternatively you can bake them in a preheated oven at 180℃ for 20 minutes.
  6. Serve on pasta with pesto or a fresh tomato sauce drizzled over the top.

Thermomix Method

Directions

  1. Add the onion and garlic and mix on speed 8 for 10 seconds. Scrape down the sides and mix on the same speed for 30 seconds until minced.
  2. Place the walnuts in the thermomix bowl, close the lid and press speed 4 for 10 seconds until walnuts are chopped but not ground.
  3. Add the ground almonds and cooked brown rice. Mix on speed 2 for 10 seconds.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and mix on speed 3 for 30 seconds until the mixture comes together.
  5. Form into balls and roll in extra ground almonds.
  6. Pan fry in rapeseed oil until browned. Alternatively you can bake them in a preheated oven at 180℃ for 20 minutes. These can also be steamed in the aroma for 15 minutes with 30ml water on heat varoma for 20 minutes.
  7. Serve on pasta with pesto or a fresh tomato sauce drizzled over the top.

If you like these then you will love my recipe for vegetarian lasagne with kale and sweet roasted vegetables.

Summary
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Recipe Name
Pesto Mediterranean Neatballs
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