Do you enjoy indian food as much as I do? I could literally eat indian everyday, the flavors, richness and variety of indian dishes is just incredible.
While this is not a traditional indian recipe, it reminds me a lot of the food you can find at indian restaurants. And trust me, this is definitely not lacking in flavor. These soft veggie balls are served in a rich and creamy masala sauce. In all honesty, this sauce is just incredible. Super creamy and flavorful, it makes everything you put in 10 times better. Plus this sauce is very versatile, you can use it to coat roasted vegetables or use as a dipping sauce for fries. I’m sure it would go pretty well with falafels too.
In my opinion, this is the perfect vegan dish to serve when you have vegans AND meat eaters at the table. Everyone loves these veggie balls!
These veggie balls are made with brown rice, chickpeas, onions, carrots, nutritional yeast and spices. I also added fresh chopped chives, feel free to add your favorite herbs. The combination of chickpeas with brown rice gives them a soft texture that is similar to real meatballs.
A quick advice with chickpeas: If you want to reduce digestion problem (meaning gas), you can peel the chickpeas. Place the drained chickpeas into a large bowl and cover with water. Gently rub the chickpeas with your hands, the skins will float to the surface. Discard the skins and drain the chickpeas before using.
You can deep fry or shallow fry the balls. Deep frying will make them a little bit crispier on the outside and they will hold together better, but you can also just cook them with very little oil in a non-stick skillet. I tried both methods and each one gives great results.
The masala sauce is easy to make, it takes some time to prepare though since you have to cook it for 30-40 minutes. No active time, don’t worry!
Do not lower the amount of spices, it’s what gives this sauce it’s magical smell and taste. Fenugreek seeds are optional, but recommended. I only discovered fenugreek recently and I love this spice, it has a nutty and maple flavor. You can find fenugreek seeds here.
These balls are even more awesome served with brown rice or biryani.
Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe and tag @fullofplants on Instagram!
- 3 tbsp oil
- 3 medium onions, finely sliced
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped
- 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- ¼ cup chopped celery
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp fenugreek seeds (optional)
- 2 and ½ cup water
- ½ cup brown rice
- 1 cup water
- 1 15-ounces can chickpeas, drained and rinced
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 onion, finely sliced
- ½ carrot, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp chopped chives
- 2 tbsp rolled oats
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- ⅛ tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat.
- Add the onions and garlic and cook on medium heat until the onions are soft and golden, about 10 minutes.
- Add spices, salt and fenugreek seeds if using and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Add carrot, celery and red bell pepper and cover with water.
- Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Let simmer for about 30-40 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
- Remove from heat, let cool a few minutes and process in a blender until silky smooth. Pour the sauce into a large skillet and set aside.
- Add the rice and water to a pan, bring to a boil and cook according to the package instructions.
- Heat some oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and carrots and cook for 7-8 minutes, until onions are soft and carrots slightly tender.
- In a food processor, combine the cooked onions and carrots with drained chickpeas, tomato paste, chives, rolled oats, nutritional yeast, spices, salt, maple syrup and cooked rice. Process for about 10 seconds, you should get a soft and half coarsely chunky mixture.
- Using your hands, shape the mixture into 16-18 balls.
- Heat some oil in a large skillet (you can deep fry or shallow fry), carefully add the veggie balls and cook each side for 3-5 minutes, until browned. Drain excess oil on a kitchen paper.
- Place the veggie balls into the masala sauce and cook on low for 5-6 minutes.
- Serve with rice or vegan biryani.