The much-loved traditional meatball is a classic and a staple in many households, so I wanted to create a plant-friendly version that my kids would still plead for and my husband and I could enjoy as a meal. Voilà – I give you the broccoli ‘meatball’. You can serve these the traditional way – topped on spaghetti with a home-made tomato sauce – or you can enjoy them as I do: with hummus and a big green salad or as part of a mezze selection. Either way, these are the new definition of comfort food.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4 and line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
- Place your broccoli florets in a steamer and steam for approximately 10 minutes, until tender and still bright green, rather than mushy and going grey; keep checking them with a knife to ensure they don’t overcook.
- Once steamed, refresh in cold water to stop the cooking and leave in a colander to drain.
- In a food processor or high-powered blender, grind the almonds until they are a fine powder and place in a mixing bowl.
- Then pulse the steamed broccoli in the food processor or blender until finely chopped (not puréed) and place in the bowl with the almonds.
- Whisk the egg in a separate small bowl, then add to the mixing bowl along with the basil, parsley, coriander, if using, Parmesan, garlic and cayenne pepper, and season with salt and pepper.
- Mix everything well, until thoroughly combined, then using your hands, make approximately 12 ‘meatballs’, pressing them firmly together to be sure they retain their shape.
- Place the balls on the baking sheet, making sure they are not touching.
- Pop in the oven for 25 minutes or until they are just turning golden brown.
Extract from Keep it Real by Calgary Avansino (Yellow Kite, £17)
Main image by Kristin Perers