Friday, 23 April 2010


It has been a bit of a trying week here at the Shack in the Marshlands. But instead of complaining about mad old misogynists, incendiary* brewery equipment or finances, I shall rejoice in two of my favourite things - bad puns & beetroot - which means Beetballs!

I've been messing around with Beetroot & fake meat puns for a while (Beetburgers, Beetloaf ect) but am pretty chuffed with how these came out. They are made with wheat gluten, which I've blogged about before, and is one of my store cupboard staples, as well as being good fun to mess about with.
I've been trying to come up with a good fake meatball recipe for a while. Most recipes out there seem to involved grinding stuff up, then trying desperately to make it all stick back together again.
I'm really pleased with how these came out. The texture is light & moist inside with a firm crust. I can't say whether or not they're a good substitute, as meatballs are something I've never eaten!

This recipe makes about 20-25 beetballs (or less or more, depending on how small or large your balls are. Oh. That just sounds filthy, doesn't it? Ah well). You can stick what you don't use in the freezer (or use what's left as sandwich fillings or tortilla wraps. Sounds weird, but it's actually really nice!). You can use pre-packaged cooked beetroot, or leftover roasted ones (that works really well) or grated raw beets. The tofu is optional, but I really recommend it, it gives them a really nice texture & keeps everything from getting too dense & chewy.

2 beetroots (or one really large one. Or three small ones. You get the idea)
1 red onion
2 cloves garlic
1 cup wheat gluten
1 cup silken tofu
1 tsp dill
1 tsp parsley
salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/G4. Throw the red onion, garlic & beetroot into a food processor & blitz, adding a little water until you have a thick puree (or you can finely chop the onion & garlic & fry in a little oil until softened & golden, and mash the beetroot is cooked, or grate if raw, and stir together). Scrape into a large bowl & add salt, pepper & herbs. Add the silken tofu & mix well. Add the wheat gluten & mix together by hand. Get your fingers in there & really mush it all up. It will look like a goth birthday cake disaster, and feel like an alien autopsy, but trust me, it'll be worth it.

If it feels too wet, you can add some breadcrumbs to the mixture, but if you can get it into a roughly round shape, it should be fine.
Shape the purple goop into walnut sized balls (oh dear) & arrange on a greased baking tray. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, turning them over halfway through the cooking time. They should puff up a bit (though when they go cold they will deflate a little), and of course you should try one or two hot out of the oven. Just to, y'know, make sure they're okay.

Plays well with tomato sauce, over pasta, rice or any grain you fancy. Or just dipped in ketchup.
Nom nom nom!

*In both senses of the word

1 comment:

mangocheeks said...

I make a version of vegan 'meet' balls but without veg. This looks great, so does the colour. I am intrigued.

I have to admit I have not cooked with wheat gluten (aka seitan) yet, simply because wheat gluten is not easy to come by. I am aware that you can get it from the flour bin, but you have to buy in bulk and I don't want to do that. Are you aware of anywhere else that sells it in smaller quantities for a reasonable price. Otherwise I can wait. In the meantime, I am Happy to drool over these.