One of my New Year resolutions this year was to attempt to be more frugal and budget better with my house keeping money. I can’t say I have done very well at this, but I have told my OH that one way to keep costs down is to make the odd vegetarian meal as there is always something that can be made from the odds and sods I have in the bottom of my fridge. Being the staunch meat eater it is not easy to sway my man to eat a meal without any meat in, so when I do try the meal needs to be filling and tasty so he does not feel he is missing out too much by not having anything meaty!!
A few weeks ago I saw this recipe for some courgette cheesy bites which caught my eye and I have been thinking ever since how I could adapt this and make it into a meal that my boys and their daddy would eat. Meatballs and pasta is a meal that they all enjoy, so I decided I would have a play with the recipe and serve it alongside a pepper and tomato ragu with spaghetti and keep my fingers crossed that they would accept the meat free balls!
- *For the balls*
- 2 medium sized courgettes, peeled and grated
- 1 medium sized carrot, peeled and grated
- 1 onion, diced into small pieces
- 1 tbsp oil (I used olive)
- 30g breadcrumbs
- 20g ground almonds
- 30g grated parmesan
- 30g grated mature cheddar
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp crushed garlic
- 1 or 2 grinds of black pepper
- *For the pasta sauce*
- 2 large red peppers, deseeded and chopped into medium sized pieces
- 1 onion chopped into 8
- 2 tsp crushed garlic
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes with basil
- *To serve*
- Enough spaghetti to serve the people who are eating
- grated cheese to garnish
- Pre-heat the oven to 190oc / 170oc (fan)
- Place the peppers, onion, garlic and oil into a baking tray and roast for about 25-30 minutes until soft but not burnt!
- Meanwhile heat the oil and garlic in a pan over a moderate heat and cook the onions for about 5 minutes until translucent and then add the courgette and carrots and cook gently and slowly for about 15 minutes until all the veg has softened.
- Once cooked, if there is a lot of liquid (there wasnt for me) drain off the excess and allow to cool
- In a mixing bowl add all the other ingredients required to make the balls and then add the cooled onion, carrot and courgette mixture.and mix to combine all the ingredients.
- Lightly grease a baking tray and then make 16 balls from the mixture using your hands and place on the tray,
- Once the time is up on the roasted peppers and onions, remove and lower the oven to 180oc / 160oc (fan) and put the balls into the oven. They will need about 20 minutes to cook
- Place the peppers and onion into a blender and pour over the tomatoes and the pepper. Blitz for a few minutes to makea sauce. Pour into a pan ready to use shortly
- Cook the spaghetti according to the pack instructions - allowing them to be ready at the same time that the balls will be cooked. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and then stir through the tomato sauce and keep warm over the lowest setting while you grate your cheese
- Plate up by dividing the food between your 4 plates/bowls and top with the grated cheese
- And that is it!
These cheesy courgette and carrot balls were actually very tasty and although they were missing meat my OH did eat all of his and my eldest ate most of his too. To me that is a success!!! Plus they were cheap, quick and easy to make so win win all round I think *does happy dance*. I found them filling too.
These were nice served with the spaghetti and tomato ragu, but I think they would also be nice served with hummus and salad.