Vegan Meatballs

Ingredients
  • 1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa* (ensure it’s cooked + completely cooled before using)
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans* (rinsed, drained, dried)
  • 2 Tbsp oil (I used rape seed)
  • 3 cloves garlic (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup diced shallot
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt (plus more to taste)
  • 2 1/2 tsp dried or fresh oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes (reduce for less heat)
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 Tbsp chopped fresh basil or parsley
  • 1-2 Tbsp worcester sauce
Instructions
  1. Cook quinoa and leave to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C). Add rinsed, dried black beans to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until beans appear cracked and feel dry to the touch. Remove beans from the oven and then increase oven heat to 375 degrees F (190C).
  3. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Once hot, add oil, garlic, and shallot. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until slightly softened, stirring frequently. Remove from heat (and reserve pan for later use).
  4. Add black beans to a food processor along with garlic, shallot, sea salt, oregano, chilli flakes flake and pulse into a loose meal (DON’T overmix). Then add cooked/cooled quinoa, cheese, tomato paste, fresh basil or parsley, and Worcestershire (optional). Pulse to combine until a textured dough forms (you’re not looking for a purée, but it should be semi-tacky).
  5. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more salt for saltiness/depth of flavor, chilli flake for heat, herbs for earthiness, or Worcestershire  for more depth of flavor. If it’s too tacky or wet, add more  cheese to combine.
  6. Scoop out 1 1/2 Tbsp amounts and gently form into small balls using your hands. Add to a plate and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  7. Heat the frying pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the meatballs and sauté for a few minutes, gently turning the meatballs to get a slight crust on either side. Then transfer to the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown on the edges and slightly dry to the touch.
  8. These meatballs are delicious as is, or you can add them to pasta (either normal or the Spaghetti Squash) and a tomato sauce.
  9. Leftover meatballs keep for 4-5 days in the refrigerator or 1 month in the freezer. Reheat in the microwave or in a 375-degree F (190 C) oven until warmed through.
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