It’s been such a long time since I did a recipe review, I thought it was about time I changed that! Right now, thousands of people are giving ‘Veganuary’ a go, so when the people in charge were kind enough to let me have a peep at the cookbook ya’ll get when signing up, I knew I had to give one of the recipes a try!
I chose to give Jack Monroe’s “Not Meatballs” a go. Why this particular recipe? It’s simple: I’m a big fan of theirs! I’ve been following along on their blog for years now, own one cookbook and am eagerly awaiting a second. Yup, fan girl. Also, it seemed like one of the more healthy and simple dinner recipes in the cookbook. Since I’ve been indulging over Christmas, I wanted to cook something a bit lighter for our dinner.
The ingredients list is refreshingly simple and thankfully doesn’t have any hard-to-find ingredients if you have a supermarket near to you. Aubergine, chilli, lemon, and a few others. Fresh basil is listed but I’d say if you can’t get some, or it’s out of budget, it’s safe to omit (but delicious included)/
Of course, saying that… it took me two trips to my local Tesco, a Co-Op, another Tesco and a closed M&S Simply Food before I finally found a place stocking aubergines! At least the walk did me good! I think I clocked it at around five miles by the time I got home.
The recipe is for 4 – I halved everything since there was two of us and… spot on really. One aubergine makes enough for about ten No-Meatballs, which goes nicely between two, with a big bowl of spaghetti.
The taste test
I really, really liked the taste of these. The lemon against the hint of garlic and the touch of chilli combines beautifully with the aubergine. I ate my No Meatballs pretty fast after the first bite!
The recipe states to form the mixture into balls (…obviously, but go with me) before frying, however I found that mine weren’t sticking together enough. I fried them for a few minutes, but when I tried to turn them the balls started to fall apart. I think if I’d chopped by aubergine smaller they would of perhaps held together better?
However if the same happens to you – don’t despair! Take them off the heat and let them cool, whilst preheating the oven to about 200°C (180°C for fan ovens). Once they’re cool enough to handle, transfer the No Meatballs to a lined baking tray (I spritzed mine with oil too), reforming any that have fallen apart. Bake for 30 minutes and serve.
I made a quick recipe video (please forgive the quality, it’s winter and light doesn’t last very long!)
A little tricky to make, but not obscenely so. Once I realised that frying them wouldn’t work, they baked just fine in the oven and required much less looking after.
Would I make them again? I’d make them again in a heartbeat, especially if I just wanted a light and easy Italian-style dinner.
Note: I’m writing this of my own free will. You can get the Veganuary cookbook for free by signing up to the 1 month, free, challenge on their website. Go on, test yourself!