White bean vegetarian meatballs
Enjoy these bean-based meatballs made with cannellini or butter beans. They provide a big protein boost without the need for meat
- Serves: 4 persons
- 200g Swiss chard
- 400g can white beans, such as cannellini or butter beans, drained and 2 tbsp liquid reserved
- 4garlic cloves, crushed
- 30g vegetarian Italian-style hard cheese, finely grated
- 1tsp dried mixed herbs
- 1egg, beaten
- 30g breadcrumbs
- 2tbsp olive oil
- 300g wholemeal spaghetti
- 1small onion, finely chopped
- 2tbsp tomato purée
- 250g cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
Step 1Tear the leaves from the chard stems and finely chop both, keeping them separate. Heat a dry, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and cook the leaves for a few minutes until wilted, then transfer to a bowl.
Step 2Put the beans, half the garlic, the cheese, herbs, egg and breadcrumbs in a bowl. Season well and mash together. The beans should be broken up, but not smooth. Pour in 1 tbsp of the reserved bean liquid to bind the mix, adding another 1 tbsp if needed. Using damp hands, roll into 12 ping-pong-sized balls.
Step 3Heat half the oil in the pan used in step 1, and fry the ‘meatballs’ over a medium heat until brown, carefully turning using tongs so they don’t break, about 10 mins. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
Step 4Meanwhile, cook the pasta following pack instructions. Heat the remaining oil in the pan. Stir in the chard stems, onion and a pinch of salt. Cook over a medium heat for 5 mins until softened, then mix in the remaining garlic. Fry for 1 min until fragrant, then add the tomato purée. Let the purée caramelise for 3-4 mins, then stir in the cherry tomatoes and 250ml water. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5-7 mins, breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon until slightly thickened. Season well, add the browned balls to the sauce and serve with the pasta.