THOUGHTFUL FORKFULS

These vegan balls are like mini nut roasts, except that they contain sweet apple, fresh parsley and chilli to liven them up. Perfect snack or picnic fare.

Baked Nut And Herb Balls

These guys are great; a bit like a nut roast in a fun bite-sized mouthful, with fresh parsley and sweet apple adding an interesting twist and making them slightly lighter. They’re so perfect as part of a salad selection, with some crunchy and fresh dishes to counteract the richness of these balls. I served them with sun-dried tomato homous, carrot and fennel ‘slaw with tahini dressing (recipe coming soon!), loads of green leaves and some good bread. Alternatively, they’re the perfect thing to grab and eat unaccompanied as you wander past the fridge looking for a snack.

Baked Nut And Herb Balls
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 tbsp chia seeds in 4 tbsp water
  2. 200g nuts (Brazils, almonds and cashews are my favourite combination)
  3. 1 apple, core removed and quartered
  4. 1 onion, quartered
  5. 3 garlic cloves
  6. 20g fresh parsley
  7. 200g breadcrumbs
  8. 1 tsp salt
  9. 1 tsp dried thyme
  10. 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
  11. 1/2 tsp black pepper
  12. 1 tsp bouillon stock powder (or a crumbled up stock cube)
  13. 2 tbsp olive oil (and around 2 tbsp more for greasing the baking tray)
  14. 3 tbsp peanut butter (or any nut butter)
  15. 1 tbsp tomato puree
  16. 2 tsp marmite
Instructions
  1. Combine the chia seeds with the water in a small bowl or glass and set aside. In a few minutes, this will form a gel which is used to bind the mixture. If you don't have chia seeds, flaxseed can be used instead.
  2. Lay the nuts on a baking tray and roast in a 170 degrees C oven for about 10 minutes.
  3. Pulse the apple, onion, garlic and parsley in a food processor until well chopped up. Add the toasted nuts, and pulse until the nuts have been chopped up and everything is combined. Here, you want to process mixture enough so that parts of it become sticky, but some chunks of nuts still remain, for textural variety.
  4. Now, tip the mixture in to a large bowl and add the breadcrumbs, salt, thyme, chilli flakes, pepper, stock powder, olive oil, peanut butter, tomato puree and marmite. Mix everything together; I find it easier to use my hands, so you can squelch everything together and make sure it's all incorporated evenly.
  5. Now, roll in to balls! I get about 30 balls out of this mixture, and my balls weigh about 30g each. Line a baking tray with some non-stick paper, cover with a bit of olive oil and place each ball on the tray. you will find that the mixture is quite wet, but this will lead to a moist ball in the end! If you find that the balls aren't sticking together well or it's not actually possible to shape in to a ball shape, put half the mixture back in the food processor and process some more. The more you do this, the stickier the mix becomes and will act as a paste which will bind the mixture together more effectively when combined with the remaining half of the mixture.
  6. When all the balls are on the tray, drizzle some more oil over the top and jiggle the balls around to cover them in oil.
  7. Bake the balls for around 20 minutes at 190 degrees C. They should have a crispy exterior and soft interior. They may seem fairly fragile when they are taken out, but they will firm up as the cool. Be careful not to overcook as they will dry out.
Notes
  1. If you can't face painstakingly rolling the mixture in to small balls, you can press the mixture in to a baking tray (as if you were making a tray-bake or batch of brownies) and cut in to small squares after. They will have a similar effect, although no-where near as fun to eat as balls.
Adapted from Trudy - Veggie num num
http://www.thoughtfulforkfuls.com/

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