Update: Roasted broccoli “meatballs”


Yes this is an old picture (busted!) but I felt like this post needed a revamp given how much I have changed this recipe over the last couple of years. Veggie meatballs with spaghetti have become quite the staple in our house – it is a good way to add some veggies and protein to an otherwise carb-heavy meal, and makes a pack of spaghetti go a lot further so I can stock the freezer for busy days. There seems to be a lot of busy days at the moment. I am on a research term currently, which is fantastic, but it is quite a bit of work to juggle with my Masters, volunteering, and applying for my first real job as a doctor. There are many cover letters to write and a CV to perfect, so I have been a bit distracted. That being said, I have been doing reasonably well with keeping our freezer stocked at the moment and thought I would include a little list of what it is stocked with:

  • This Goan feast, which I have mentioned before
  • Low sugar (i.e. date-free) bliss balls: lemon cheesecake and cherry ripe flavours. These have been awesome and I am doing some final tweaking but will post them soon.
  • This decadent lasagne, great for winter. It has a sour cream béchamel which is beautiful.
  • A modified version of this beet bourguignon, with french lentils and mashed potato
  • Broccoli and bean enchiladas

But, back on topic, the meatballs! After many refinements, I have come up with a new favourite version:

Roasted broccoli, lentil and ricotta “meatballs”

1 big head broccoli (or 2 small)

Dried chilli flakes (pinch)

1 tin lentils, rinsed (tinned seems to work better texturally but freshly cooked works too, you will need ~1.5 cups)

1 clove garlic, roughly chopped

400g ricotta, firmer is better

1 egg

Olive oil spray

Chop the broccoli into florets and toss into a tray with some olive oil, chilli flakes, salt and pepper. Don’t forget to add the stalk chopped up as well, it is delicious. Pop in a 200˚C oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the edges of the broccoli are brown and crispy. Add to the food processor with the lentils, garlic, ricotta and egg. Process until combined but still some chunks. Shape roughly into balls and place on a tray lined with baking paper. Spray (or brush) balls with olive oil. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the balls are just starting to be tinged golden brown. Can be served with a whole bunch of different things, but I love them with spaghetti. I make a puttanesca-ish sauce with pasta, capers, olives, chilli, parsley, lots of garlic and a splash of red wine vinegar. Add some toasted pine nuts and grated parmesan on top and you have a pretty special meal. Freeze really well so can be added to lots of other dishes for a hit of protein.