- 25 g dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
- 250 g mushrooms (chestnut)
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 400 g black beans drained and rinsed
- 60 g couscous (wholewheat) uncooked
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil plus extra
- 1 red onion finely chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary finely chopped
- 100 ml red wine (optional)
- 2 x 400 g chopped tomatoes tins
- 150 g baby spinach
- 900 g potatoes floury
- 100 ml unsweetened plant-based milk
- salt and pepper to taste
Whilst there are quite a few steps to this recipe, the results are worth the effort. Make double quantities at the weekend and freeze half for a ready-made midweek meal. You will need a food processor to make the “meat”balls.
- Put the dried mushrooms in a small bowl, pour over 100 ml / 3.5 fl oz boiled water and soak for 20 minutes.
- Put the flaxseed in a small bowl with 2 tbsp of cold water, stir and leave to one side.
- Meanwhile, roughly chop the chestnut mushrooms and sauté in a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. The mushrooms will release quite a lot of liquid. Continue to cook until they are dry and golden brown.
- Crush 2 of the garlic cloves, and add to a food processor, with the smoked paprika, black beans, and cooked mushrooms. Drain the soaked porcini mushrooms (reserving the liquid) and add those too. Pulse until you have a coarse purée. Add the soaked flaxseed, couscous and 1 tbsp of the olive oil, along with plenty of salt and pepper and pulse again briefly to combine.
- With damp hands, roll into 20 balls and chill for 30 minutes.
- Now make the sauce. In the same frying pan, sauté the red onion with a little water to stop it catching, until soft. Add the red wine to the pan if using, and simmer until reduced. Add the tomatoes, rosemary, the reserved soaking liquid from the porcini mushrooms and 250 ml / 8.5 fl oz of water, and simmer gently for 20 minutes until you have a nice thick sauce. If the mixture looks too thick, you can always add some extra water. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Preheat the oven to 180 C / 160 C Fan / 350 F.
- Peel the potatoes, cut into pieces and put in a large pan with the remaining two garlic cloves (peeled but left whole) and some salt. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Drain and leave to steam dry for a few minutes.
- Place the “meat”balls on an oven tray lined with baking parchment and spray/brush with a little extra virgin olive oil. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, until piping hot and lightly browned.
- In the pan you used to boil your potatoes, warm 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil with the plant-based milk and add the potatoes and garlic. Mash well and season to taste.
- Stir the spinach into the tomato sauce until just wilted.
- Add the “meat”balls to the sauce and stir to coat, then spoon onto the garlic mash on warmed plates to serve.
- Substitute 1 tsp of dried rosemary for the fresh rosemary.
- Serve with boiled brown rice, or wholewheat pasta instead of mashed potato if you prefer.
- Freeze the “meatballs” in the sauce separately to the mashed potato.