I buy vegetables (especially root vegetables like onions, potatoes, and carrots) in bulk, so sometimes I don’t get through them quickly enough and they start to go off. Instead of throwing them away, though, I try to pot them, so they grow new vegetables, or I use them up in my dishes. I grew up enjoying Turkish Köftes, which are essentially meatballs mainly consisting of onions, meats, veg (normally potatoes) and spices.
I try to steer away from meat as much as possible. But, as the rest of my family are meat eaters, it’s difficult to avoid meat in the house. So if the boys want normal meat koftes, my mum makes them. I grew up in a family where the meat we used was clean meat and not processed meat. My parents educated us on the dangers of processed meat and, in fact, I’ve found a great infographic which explains why processed meat can cause chronic diseases like bowel and stomach cancer. Check out the infographic below from HARTMANN Direct.
So, I wanted to try a veggie version and utilise my carrots, potatoes and red onions, which were waaay past their best before date.
I also try to add leafy greens to every dish, but I didn’t have any fresh spinach to hand, so I went for the frozen version (fresh is always better!) Being a new vegan, I didn’t want to use eggs to bind the ingredients together in this recipe. I needed an alternative that would hold the meatball shape well enough to bake and I found that using a ‘flax egg‘ worked really well in this recipe. Here are the ingredients:
Just a few points to note, which I didn’t pay attention to when I first made these köftes. Squeeze out ALL of the veg juice before you make your köftes, otherwise, they’ll turn into mush when baked. Also, keep turning them in the oven or you’ll get charred bits on your köftes, which don’t taste nice. Frying them makes them crispy, but it’s not as healthy, so if you want crispy köftes, try covering them in wholewheat couscous or even breadcrumbs to achieve that crispy texture. But, most importantly, squeeze out all of the juice – ALL OF IT!
Fancy more recipes with carrots? Try my unique Chocolate Carrot Branflake Crispy Cakes – they taste like chocolate Rice Krispie cakes!
Onto the recipe!
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- 3 Medium-sized potatoes, grated
- 2 Medium-sized carrots, grated
- 2 Medium-sized red onions, grated
- 2 Cloves of garlic, grated
- Handful of fresh spinach or 6 blocks of frozen spinach
- 3 heaped tsps of flax seed and 12 tsps of water (1 Flax Egg)
- 1 tsp Vegetable Powder
- 1 tsp British Coriander Leaf
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Paprika
- Preheat the oven to 230C/450F/GM 8
- Grate all the veg with the skin (except for the onion's skin) into a large bowl covered with a muslin cloth or tea towel
- Pick up the cloth and squeeze out as much of the veg juice as possible
- Place back into the bowl and add the flax egg and seasoning
- Form into oval shaped meatballs or köftes and place on a lined and greased baking tray (keep them all the same size so they cook uniformly)
- Bake for around 20 minutes or until all sides are browned, turning constantly to avoid charring
- It is ESSENTIAL that you squeeze out all of the juice otherwise your meatball will be mushy
- Add anything you want to these meatballs.
- For an extra healthy meatball, use sweet potato instead of white potato.
Watch out for aching arms after your grate all the veg – or you can be fancy and use a Food Processor that has a grater – but, no pain, no gain, I say. Use some elbow grease to get the job done!
Next time I’m going to try the Bulgur Köfte recipe, but instead of using meat, I’ll try Quorn mince or root veg again. Watch this space!
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Please find below a list of ingredients that I found from Tesco for £3.67 total (prices may vary from 17 March 2018)
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