Update May 2018: I released this recipe back in May 2016 and finally took the time to rework it! The masala sauce and the vegetarian “meatballs” have been improved. Some of you had trouble with this recipe as the balls were crumbling. This won’t be a problem anymore! Photos have also been updated. This is one of my favorite recipes!
Do you enjoy Indian food as much as I do? I could literally eat Indian every day. The flavors, richness, and variety of Indian dishes are 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 it 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!
The masala sauce is easy to make and relies on onions, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, and spices. It takes some time to prepare though since you have to cook it for 30-40 minutes. This is not active time, don’t worry!
The sauce gets its magical smell and taste from the spices: cumin, garam masala, turmeric, and fenugreek leaves. Fenugreek leaves are optional but recommended. I only discovered fenugreek recently and I love this spice, it has a nutty and maple flavor. You can find dried fenugreek leaves here.
Once the sauce is cooked, transfer to a blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
Now onto the veggie balls. The base is red kidney beans, brown rice, onions, carrots, nutritional yeast, and spices. I also added fresh chopped chives, feel free to add your favorite herbs. The combination of red kidney beans with brown rice gives them a soft texture, and the addition of mushrooms brings moisture and a meaty texture.
To prevent the balls from falling apart, I also added some oats (oat flour + rolled oats for more texture). Once your mixture is roughly mashed, you form balls and bake them in the oven for about 15 minutes.
Finally, transfer the balls to the masala sauce and stir to coat!
If you are looking for a flavorful and healthy meal with an Indian twist, you should definitely consider trying this one! These veggie balls are tender and come with a masala sauce that really is the star of the recipe!
Let me know in the comments if you try this recipe!
- 3 tbsp (45ml) oil
- 3 medium onions, finely sliced
- 1 clove of garlic, chopped
- 1-inch freshly grated ginger
- 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
- 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
- 3 ripe tomatoes, diced
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp ground chili
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (optional)
- 1 cup (235ml) water
- 1/3 cup (78ml) non-dairy yogurt (or coconut cream)
- 1/2 cup (92g) brown rice
- 1 cup (235ml) water
- 1 tbsp (15ml) oil
- 1 onion, finely sliced
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 carrot, thinly sliced
- 4–5 cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 15-ounces can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp chopped chives
- 1/4 cup (25g) rolled oats
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- 1/4 cup (23g) oat flour
- Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions, garlic, and ginger. Cook on medium heat until the onions are soft and golden, about 10 minutes.
- Add the diced carrots, red bell pepper, and tomatoes. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Add all the spices: cumin, garam masala, turmeric, chili, salt, and fenugreek leaves if using.
- Add the 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low-medium. Let simmer for about 30 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 bowl or saucepan, stir in the yogurt and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Add the rice and water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook according to the package instructions.
- Heat one tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook for about 3 minutes, or until onions are soft. Next, add carrots and mushrooms, and cook for another 7-8 minutes. Carrots should be slightly tender.
- In a food processor, combine the cooked onions, carrots, and mushrooms with the drained beans, 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 slightly chunky mixture. Do not process too much to keep some texture.
- Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the oat flour. Mix until fully incorporated. The mixture should be soft but not too sticky.
- Using your hands, shape the mixture into 2-tbsp size balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 13-15 minutes, turning the balls halfway through baking.
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large skillet. Once hot, add the baked veggie balls and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Pour in the masala sauce and cook on low-medium heat for another 5 minutes.
- Serve with rice, vegan biryani, or with a salad.
- Serving Size: 1 (with masala sauce)
- Calories: 280
- Sugar: 8.5g
- Fat: 10.2g
- Carbohydrates: 41g
- Fiber: 7.6g
- Protein: 7.7g