Hearty vegan meatballs packed with protein and spices pair with a bright coriander pesto sweet potato salad in this bright and light gluten free meal that will have everyone begging for seconds.
Sometimes I make something really delicious and awesome and I can’t wait to share it with you all, but words fail me. I can’t think of something witty to say, or a story to share with you to open my post with. So, I fall back on my imagination. I try to think of how I would introduce this dish to you if you came to my daydream Thoroughly Nourished Life restaurant. My fictional restaurant would be stylish, but not intimidating: a cross between Scandinavian mid-century modern and your Gran’s living room. Slightly too much food on the plate to be one of those hip new-Nordic restaurants, and lots of fluffy floral cushions displayed without stylish hipster irony. The drinks would still be served in Mason jars though, obviously.
In that daydream restaurant you would walk through the doors and I would smile and welcome you to a table, and then we would start to talk about food. Because I really want to feed you things that make your heart happy: that’s what makes me happy. These Black Bean “Meatballs” with Coriander Sweet Potato Salad would definitely feature on the Thoroughly Nourished Life restaurant menu, and I would have to recommend it to you.These “meatballs” are very simple to put together, but they pack a huge flavour punch. They are a mix of seven everyday ingredients: black beans, quinoa, onion, garlic, ground cumin, ground coriander, and smoked paprika. Everything gets whizzed up in a small food processor, mixed together, formed into balls, and baked in the oven. But they have so much flavour. I’m not pretending they are meatballs: these are something entirely magnificent on their own and they’re packed with vegan protein from quinoa and black beans. Next to these spiced, garlicky herbivorous “meatballs” I would serve you a giant scoop of roasted sweet potato salad spiked with a chunky coriander and almond pesto. Handfuls of bright coriander, almonds, lemon juice, and garlic make up the dressing for the caramelised sweet potatoes. This tart, chunky, pesto style dressing is the perfect foil to the sweet roasted potato cubes. I could eat a huge bowl of these every day! This meal is perfect for a midweek dinner, or a weekend feast for the family (you can easily multiply the quantities to serve a crowd) – it’s easy and full of flavour and sure to become a family favourite that has everyone begging for seconds.
So won’t you come in? Have a plate of savoury bean “meatballs” and sweet potato salad with me and talk about the world, and what you’ve seen lately. I’ll clear the plates after you’re done and you can come back tomorrow for another bowl of something warm and thoroughly nourishing. I’ll be waiting.
Black Bean “Meatballs” with Coriander Sweet Potato Salad
Vegan | Gluten Free | Serves 2 generously
For the “meatballs”
- 1/2 cup dry quinoa
- 1 cup no salt added vegetable stock
- 1 cup cooked black beans (about 1 400 gram tin)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 small brown onion
- 1 teaspoon ground dried coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground dried cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
For the coriander sweet potato salad
- 1 large (about 500 gram) sweet potato
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup coriander leaves
- 1/3 cup almonds
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 cloves garlic
- Salt and pepper
- Rinse quinoa thoroughly. Place into a small saucepan with the vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover the saucepan with a lid and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the quinoa to sit for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Allow to cool to room temperature before proceeding.
- Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
- In a small food processor place quinoa and black beans and process until they form an almost uniform puree. Place this into a medium bowl.
- Chop the onion and garlic into large chunks and place into the food processor. Process until the onion is in small pieces. Add to the beans and quinoa. Measure in the spices and use clean hands to mix very well until the spices are mixed throughout.
- Shape mixture into equal sized balls. I used an ice cream scoop to ensure that the balls were a uniform size. Place on the baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until the outside of the balls are browned.
- While the balls are baking peel the sweet potato and chop into a large dice. Line a second baking sheet with baking paper and spread the sweet potato cubes out. Pour 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil over the sweet potato and toss to coat all the pieces. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cubes are golden on the outside and soft when you pierce them with a fork.
- Clean out the bowl of the small food processor and add the coriander, almonds, garlic, lemon juice, remaining olive oil, salt and pepper and process into a chunky paste.
- Once sweet potato is cooked toss with the coriander pesto. Top the sweet potato salad with the meatballs and serve.