Vegan “meatballs" with a Moroccan Flare

 
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This is one of my all time favorite recipes when I am looking for something similar to pasta but don’t necessarily want to load up on processed carbohydrates. It’s a Moroccan inspired dish with a ton of flavor. The “meatballs” are made with chickpeas so they are packed with good quality protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Although carbohydrates are essential, I use spaghetti squash rather then pasta noodles to cut back on highly processed carbohydrates. If you are craving an authentic dish then give this recipe a try!

 

Recipe

Spaghetti Squash:

  • One whole spaghetti squash (good for two people)

Sauce:

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 small yellow onions, peeled and chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. Hungarian paprika
  • ½ tsp. Spanish paprika
  • a pinch of ground turmeric
  • ¼ cup of fresh parsley
  • ¼ cup of fresh cilantro
  • juice of half a lime

Vegan Meatballs:

  • ½ cup white onion, minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp. of flax seed mixed with 3 tbsp. of water, let sit for 5 minutes)
  • 1 cup of chickpeas
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. cumin
  • 2 ½ tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp. fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 ½ tsp. sea salt & pepper

Coating for meatballs:

  • 1/3 cup gluten free bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast

 

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut your spaghetti squash into round rings, spoon out the guts and seeds and lay them on a sheet pan.
  3. Bake for 40 minutes in the oven and then let cool.
  4. After they have cooled off, remove the skin and use a fork to break the spaghetti squash up (it should naturally break apart similarly to noodles). Set aside.
  5. Heat the olive oil on a pan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until they become translucent.
  6. Lower the heat to medium and add the remaining ingredients. Cook for about 5 more minutes.
  7. Lower the heat to low, cover the pan and cook for 20 more minutes.
  8. While your sauce is cooking, you can begin the vegan meatballs. Lower the oven to 375 degrees.
  9. In a food processer, add all of the ingredients for your meatballs (besides the olive oil). Blend until all of the ingredients are combined.
  10. Form the mixture into little balls.
  11. Combine the breadcrumbs and nutritional yeast together in a separate bowl.
  12. Roll the balls in the breadcrumb mixture.
  13. Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium high heat. Set the balls in the pan and let cook until golden brown on the outside (they will still be soft on the inside).
  14. Once golden brown, transfer the balls to a sheet pan and bake in the oven for another 15-20 minutes (the balls will still be a little soft in the inside- that is okay, they still taste amazing!)
  15. Top your spaghetti noodles with the sauce and the finished meatballs and garnish with a bay leaf and some parsley or whatever your heart desires!

 

Notes: Feel free to add in more veggies to either of these recipes. Some good veggies to add are broccoli, spinach, asparagus, purple cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, etc. If you have a spiralizer you can also do zucchini noodles in place of the spaghetti squash, in which case you would just add them in at the end for about 3 minutes (they over-cook pretty fast). Or quinoa would be a great option in place of the noodles, feel free to mix it up!