You may recall that several months ago I did some food prep for the Global Morning Show showcasing a new cookbook Toronto Cooks; 50 Toronto Restauranteur chefs gave up their signature recipes for this beautifully photographed cookbook and they are the actual recipes that they serve in their restaurants without any intentional omissions! I had the privilege of making Chef Rocco Agostino’s Spicy Meatballs and although the meatballs were out of this world, they were slightly on the heavier side than I like to eat so when I saw Lorraine’s Vegetarian Bean and Quinoa Meatballs recipe, I was all over it! Because I wanted an Italian flavoured ball I used only her base ingredients and the flavourings from Chef Rocco’s incredible recipe. Thank you Lorraine, you’ve come up with another winner! The meatless balls are tender with great texture from the bulgur (a swap I made due to an over processing error on my first test).
One of the key, flavour-building ingredients is Chef Rocco’s Bomba. Sadly I was not able to find the recipe online, so I am not going to post it. Bomba is a combination of raw vegetables, brined artichokes, Italian chili peppers as well as a few other flavourful ingredients, ready-made can be purchased at specialty stores or better yet, buy the Toronto Cooks cookbook, it’s the best Toronto Restaurant cookbook you’ll find!
Spicy Vegetarian Meatballs with a Rich Tomato Sauce
For the original recipe, please click here,
Ingredients, Tomato Sauce:
- 15 mL (1 tbsp) olive oil
- 200 g (1 small sweet onion) onion, ﬁnely diced
- 10 g (3-4 cloves) ﬁnely chopped garlic
- 680 mL puréed San Marzano tomatoes, with a little water to rinse out the jar
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- 125 mL (1/4 cup) Bomba
- salt to taste (be careful because the Bomba can be salty)
Directions, Tomato Sauce:
- Heat a large dutch oven with 15 mL olive oil.
- Add the onions and sauté until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Add the tomato purée, baking soda and simmer for five minutes.
- Add the chopped basil, Bomba and simmer until dark and thick. You may cool and refrigerate at this point.
Ingredients, Meatless Balls:
- 15 mL olive oil
- 130 g onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 10 g dried wild dehydrated mushroom powder
- 125 mL roasted red pepper, puréed
- 45 mL (3 tbsp) Bomba
- 1 cup grated Parmesan grams?
- 30 g (1/4 cup) ground almonds
- 2 eggs
- 124 g 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 136 g raw bulgur (yields 2 cups cooked) 170 g bulgur yields
- 65 g dry red kidney beans, cooked as per package directions and chopped roughly
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped finely
- 1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped finely
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped finely
Directions, meatless balls:
- Add oil to a hot frying pan and cook the onions until translucent. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Cool completely.
- In a large bowl, add the cooked bulgar, chopped cooked beans and onion mixture and mix with a fork. Add the roasted red pepper purée, Bomba, Parmesan, ground almond and bread crumbs and mix in well with the fork. Taste for seasoning (taste now because you won’t be able to when you add the eggs) and add salt and pepper as required.
- Slightly whisk two eggs and incorporate into the mix.
- Fold in the fresh parsley, chives and basil.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400F. Bake meatless balls for 30 minutes, turning occasionally.
- Cool completely and refrigerate until required.
- Reheat sauce. Reheat meatless balls for 20 minutes at 300F..
- Although I do love quinoa, I substituted bulgur here because I had over processed my first recipe test and it resulted in a pasty texture so instead of chucking the whole thing, I added bulgur. My husband loved the texture so when I made the second batch I simply substituted it altogether.
- This recipe is about texture as much as it is about flavour, although it’s not meat, the texture has a great bite to it.
I found reheating the meatless balls in the sauce softened them up too much so I heated them in the oven 300F for 15-20 minutes.
As most dishes like this, it’s best the next day so I always make it one day before I needed it.