I swear these meatballs were intended to be eaten in a simple tomato sauce, with noodles. So much so that you’ll notice the ingredients include mixed herbs.
It’s a longstanding joke amongst friends that all I cook are curries. Indian food is a favourite of mine; it’s tasty, versatile, cheap, but on this occassion I had planned Italian style meatballs, until fellow blogger, Ginni’s Kitchen, offered me some of surplus Missi Roti’s, flatbreads, via the food sharing app Olio. Well, what else could I do but spice up the meatballs?
The Roti’s were not the only free food that I had; all ingredients were free, and mainly collected using Olio, with the exception of the red chilli’s and sage; these were from herb pots in my garden, birthday presents from a friend.
This recipe is based solely on the ingredients that I had at home, and I would urge you to simply use this as a guide and alternate, substitute, ingredients as and how you need to. Swap kidney beans for a different type of pulse; lentils, chickpeas. The meat free meatballs can be eaten in whatever way you fancy – keep it clean! In all seriousness, if Indian is a fave of yours too, knock yourself out, if you are passionate about pasta go with my original plan and just alter the spices in the masala sauce so no curry blends but try oregano, sage, mixed herbs. The meatballs could be eaten with mashed potato, as a sandwich, in a sub; eat however you want, using what you have!
Mushroom & Kidney Bean Balls:
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 150g closed cup mushrooms, diced
- 400g tin kidney beans, drained
- 1 red chilli, deseeded, finely chopped
- A sprig of sage
- 1tsp mixed herbs
- 2 slices of bread, or use breadcrumbs
- 1tbsp vegetable oil
- Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4
- Fry the onion on a low heat for a few minutes, until soft, then add the garlic, chilli, sage and mushrooms, and continue to cook for a few more minutes, until the mushrooms are soft and no liquid left.
- In a bowl, add the drained kidney beans, mixed herbs and mushroom mix. I toasted the bread until it was dry enough to crumble; allowing it to cool first. You could make breadcrumbs using a food processor – I don’t have one. Even putting in a sandwich bag, sealing, then rolling over with a rolling pin. Add the breadcrumbs to the mix, this will bind the balls, and any other seasoning you want. I only added black pepper as have no salt at the moment. Mash with a potato masher until the beans lose shape.
- Using your hands, form the mixture into balls – I made 13; lucky for some!
- Place the balls on a greased baking tray, and cook for around 30 minutes, until they are firm and crispy. Check about halfway through as they may need to be turned onto their other side. If you don’t want to cook immediately, you can keep in the fridge until later; I left mine until the following day. They could be frozen too; it would be worth wrapping in parchment paper but if not pack into a food container; they should still retain their shape.
Masala Meatball Sauce:
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 red chilli, deseeded, thinly sliced
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 2 bay leaves
- 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp masala curry blend
- A 25ml sachet of coriander & cumin paste – I appreciate that it is unlikely you’ll have these too, I got a load free, so use whatever paste, blend of spices, that you do have
- 50g shitake mushrooms, sliced
- 100g sliced greens, I added these straight from the freezer.
- Fry the onion on a low heat for a few minutes, until soft, then add the garlic, chilli, spices, paste. Stir in the mushrooms, greens, covering both with the paste. Add a little of the chopped tomatoes so you have a tomato paste, continue to cook for a few more minutes. Add in the rest of the tomatoes, bay leaves, and water – I filled the empty tomato can with water and added this to get what was left of the tomatoes.
- Place desired number of meatballs gently into the pan, I added 8, putting aside the remainder for another day.
- Cover the meatballs with some of the sauce, and continue simmering for a few more minutes.
- You just want the meatballs to be warmed through, and the greens cooked.
Oh, and not forgetting leftovers’ the next day; a wrap with mushy peas, rocket, sriracha, red chilli… not sure if this falls into any cuisine but proofs that there is such a thing as a free lunch!
Let me know how you have yours!
You can find Ginni, and her recipes, at
Download the Olio app at https://olioex.com