Vegan Polpette

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Hey friends! We’re happy to be back with a new post after some away-time. The reason for our absence is that we have been busy cuddling with our new family member. We are calling him Little Brother until we have decided on his real name (so difficult this time!). We are all feeling well and are mighty happy (even though our mornings have become a tad more chaotic)

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He’s a sleepy little fella.

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For today’s recipe we decided to revive a section on the blog that we started last year and then forgot all about. We call it Homemade Whole Food Staples and today’s recipe fits right in. In our preparations for little brother’s arrival we have been filling our freezer with food and these vegetarian meatballs/ vegan polpette have proved themselves really useful. They are quick to make, freeze well and are easily heated. We use them as a protein rich supplement to many dishes (see a few examples below) or as a simple main dish with pasta and a sauce. 

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Since we have so many egg-based patties in the archive, we made these vegan, using chickpeas as the protein source and binder. They are literally filled with vegetables and have almond flour and potato starch as thickener. Kind of like a vegetable packed baked falafel. Not only are they really healthy but they are absolutely delicious too, with sweetness from the carrots and peas a savouriness from the spices. 

Just like with our apple cake recipe, we have been experimenting quite a bit to get the amounts right as we wanted to have the option to both cook them in a frying pan (for times when you just want to fry up a few) or in the oven (for larger batches). They get smoother texture in the frying pan but it is a bit more fiddly to get them evenly fried. My favorite method is however to make a huge batch (double batch if you can fit it into your blender), roll them and place on two trays. I then under bake them slightly and let them cool entirely before filling the freezer with them. Because they are slightly under baked, I can reheat them without risking that they get dry and boring. They can be reheated either in a pan or in the oven.

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Here we have served them with some quinoa and a vegetarian lentil bolognese. They work really well with a pesto sauce as well.

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Here they appear in one of our #gksbowls with, golden krauts, garlic-fried kale, carrot ribbons, mushrooms, tomatoes, avocado, a sunny egg, za’atar and a drizzle of tahini. Insanely good!

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And here we’re about to roll them inside a wrap. There are lots of other possibilities. Isac prefers munching on them as a hand-held snack (although he is pretty tired of them at this point as we have served them with almost every meal for the past couple of weeks …).

Vegan Polpette
Makes 30

We use nutritional yeast to add extra depth to the flavour. It can be found in health food stores or online. If you are not vegan, it can be replaced with some grated cheese. Or simply leave it out. We kept the spices quite simple but you can try adding cayenne, sumac or curry to them for different flavour variations.

1 onion, peeled
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 inch / 2,5 cm fresh ginger, peeled
2 medium carrots or 3-4 smaller (200 g / 7 oz), peeled

1 cup / 130 g frozen sweet peas, slightly thawed
1 x 400 g / 14 oz tin chickpeas OR 1 ½ cup / 230 g cooked chickpeas, rinsed
a handful kale, coarsely chopped and thick stems discarded 

½ cup / 50 g almond flour (can be replaced with breadcrumbs)
4 tbsp potato starch (can be replaced with cornstarch, arrowroot or chickpea flour)
1 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp allspice
black pepper

Set the oven to 360°F / 180°C (if you are baking them) and cover a baking sheet with baking paper. Grate onion, ginger and carrots on a box grater or using the grating attachment on a food processor. Switch to the regular knife attachment on the food processor. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and mix until the chickpeas have been mashed, with small bits and pieces of the peas and carrots still intact. With moist hands, roll into balls using roughly 1 tbsp of mixture for each ball and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden. You can flip them a few times if you like them rounder but I usually skip this and settle for one slightly flatter side. It’s easier. If you are freezing them right away, let them bake for a few minutes shorter, then let cool completely (they firm up as they cool down), transfer to freezer containers or bags and place in the fridge or freezer.

To make them in a frying pan, simply fry with a little oil on low/medium heat (they melt and get flat on too high heat) for about 10-15 minutes. Flip/roll them often to get them evenly fried.

PS! Make sure to check back next week as we have an exciting give-away coming up together with Vitamix!

66 Comments

  • These look divine!! I have made a ton of different vegan burgers and 'meatless' balls (that sounds odd, lol!) but I always seem to be missing something! I've used many of the same ingredients that you have too. I'll just have to try yours!!
  • Sarah
    Congratulations, he is a beauty! Did you know that in Germany, we are all such huge fans of Astrid Lindgren people actually call their sons lillebror like in "Lillebror and Karlsson on the roof"? So maybe you already found his name ;)
  • Carolyn
    Congratulations on your beautiful baby!!! I We are due next month with our first, and I was just thinking about getting started with freezer meals! Adding this one to my list! Thanks!
  • Love the look of this recipe. Can I just check - is the batter just the almond flour and potato starch mixed together (the salt/spices and nutritional yeast go in the main mix?) Do you make them into balls and then roll them in the flour or do you mix it all up. First time making something like this so I want to get it right! Congratulations on your gorgeous little boy!
    • Hi Helen, sorry if the description was a bit unclear. All ingredients are supposed to be mixed together – flour, chickpeas and vegetables. Mixture is probably a better describing word for it than batter, I will change it in the description. Hope you like the recipe! /David
  • Carly
    I made these for dinner tonight - seriously the YUMMIEST things I've eaten in a long time! They were also super easy to make! Thank you so much for sharing this recipe 💗💗
  • Mimi
    What a cute little guy! Congratulations! Well done. I hope Luise is fine too! One question though, could I swap the chickpeas for lentils? Have s great time all of you together ! Mimi
    • Hi Mimi, yes I think you should be able to use lentils instead. Let us know how it goes! /David
  • Stef
    Hooray on the new baby! Congratulations and all the best for the five of you!! Even without personally knowing you guys I kept thinking of you and your baby-to come quite recently lately. Do hope also that Luise is alright and feeling well! Will certainly try the polpettes - can't know enough fall-back options for every-day-meals. :-)
  • Mona
    So excited for those two big news. New baby brother and the homemade staples are back! Yay! (I would very much appreciate a recipe for coconut yoghurt) Still trying to figure out a way on how to make these meat balls without a food processor. Maybe by grating everything super small and mashing together with the chickpeas, sort of like making hummus? I assume that the 'dough' would be very tasty anyway, in case I end up eating the mess out of the bowl ;) By the way I wanted to give you a huge thank you. Out of the 10 most recent recipes (not including the meatballs) I cooked 8 of them (several times even) and I can't even pick a favorite because they all turned out so delicious. The biggest surprise was probably the yoghurt soup. Thanks for your endless inspiration and all the hard work that you put into this blog. I am very grateful!
    • Kate
      I'd be interested to hear how you go without a food processor, because I've been wondering about that too!
  • Justine
    Luise and David, l'm an enthusiastic follower of your blog now for years (!), and it's so great to see your family grow! Congratulations to this little gorgeous chap!! Have 3 kids myself and now how busy you are. Love your recipies, they allways work & and I get ask frequently about them, so am allways happy to recommend your blog to meat eaters, who cannot believe, that veggie food can be that diversivied!! All the best to you and your family and thank you for being so inspirational!!
  • Elke
    Congratulations on the safe arrival of your gorgeous little man. I look forward in making your polpette recipe.
  • Marje
    Congratulations on your beautiful baby boy! He will grow up strong and beautiful with your great cooking! Thank you for this recipe, I look forward to making it!
  • Maja
    Hi luise and David! First of all; congrqtulations to your new family member. Secondly; do you think it would be possible to swap the potato starch for grounded flax seeds?
    • Hi Maja, I haven't tried. Maybe it could work. I found that they needed the starch to hold together better and make them firmer. You can also use arrowroot, cornstarch or chickpea flour. /David
  • Sam
    So intrigued to try this! Love that they are heavy on on veg!
  • Kelly
    Is there any way I could remove the garlic and onion as I can't eat these with my IBS? Should I replace with more of sornehting else or a different veg? ☺️
    • Kelly, have you tried using the green tops of scallions/green onions in place of onion and garlic in recipes? The green tops are fodmap friendly, so should not bother your IBS. Works for me, but of course everyone's digestive system is different!
    • Hi Kelly, yes I think you can skip the onion and garlic entirely and still end up with a pretty tasty result. /David
    • Gillian
      My daughter has that problem - I use chives for flavour and chopped up celery to replace the bulk of onions. If you can eat these 2 things they might work.
  • Sally
    Your son is beautiful! A lovely photo' ☺️ Congratulations to you all! And thanks for finding the time to post a great looking recipe.
  • I absolutely love this recipe, so simple and looks so yummy! Huge congratulations on your gorgeous baby boy, much Love to you all! x
  • Chantal van Lieshout
    Congratulations with Little Brother! I am happy for you all. Is Luise allright after giving birth? ('cause it can be hard) I am sure you will find a nice name for the little guy. I wish you a lot of happiness together
  • birgit
    yeah thanks for the recipe love these staples for everydaylife and again all my best wishes for you all he is sooooo cute <3 lg birgit
  • Congratulations on your new family member - how beautiful he is! These look so delicious - can imagine they would be so delicious with pesto or a rich tomato sauce! x
  • Agnelia
    All the best for you and your beautiful family... Just wanted to ask, if you could place some recipes which are dairy free. I'm ok with milk from goats and sheep, but sometimes I can't enjoy food with cow milk in it... Again - all the best. Looking forward for Little Brothers name and also for the new website with a new logo :-) Greetings from Austria PS: Maybe you can place your products also in Suisse, German or Austrian shops ;-)

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