Recipe of the week: Vegetarian zucchini “meat” balls

Mint, Pistachio and Zucchini Balls from “A Modern Way to Eat” by Anna Jones. Photo by Brian Ferry.
View Caption Hide Caption
Mint, Pistachio and Zucchini Balls from “A Modern Way to Eat” by Anna Jones. Photo by Brian Ferry.

Zucchini overload tends to happen this time of year. After you’ve made every gratin and faux noodle dish and garlic saute you can think of, consider these little falafel-like balls. Fresh mint and crunchy pistachio give them a flavor and texture all their own, and you could serve them with spaghetti and a tomato sauce, or stuffed into a pita with pickled beets, hummus and some capers.

These balls freeze well. To reheat, slowly fry them from frozen in a pan with a little olive oil.

Mint, Pistachio and Zucchini Balls from “A Modern Way to Eat” by Anna Jones. Photo by Brian Ferry.

Mint, Pistachio and Zucchini Balls from “A Modern Way to Eat” by Anna Jones. Photo by Brian Ferry.

Mint, Pistachio and Zucchini Balls

For the zucchini balls:
1 1/4 cups cooked lentils
2 medium zucchini
1 cup breadcrumbs
4 1/2 oz. ricotta cheese
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 oz. pecorino or Parmesan cheese, finely grated
A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
A few sprigs of fresh parsley, leaves picked and roughly chopped
A bunch of fresh mint, leaves picked and roughly chopped, divided
Olive oil
For the pistachio pesto:
A handful of pistachio nuts, shelled
A small bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked
4 Tbsp. olive oil
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
2-3 Tbsp.water
A handful of grated pecorino cheese
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pulse the lentils in a food processor a few times until you have a textured mush. Place in a bowl and grate in the zucchini, then add all the other zucchini ball ingredients through the mint (keeping half the mint for later) and mix well. Season with salt and pepper — this mixture needs a good seasoning as it seems to soak it all up in the oven. Let sit for 20 minutes or so. Meanwhile, heat your oven to 425 degrees.

Divide the mixture into 4 portions and roll each one into 6 little balls, to get 24 balls. Place them on a baking tray and drizzle or brush well with olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes, until they have a golden crust.

While they are in the oven, pop all the pesto ingredients as well as the reserved mint into your food processor. Add 2 tablespoons of water and blend to a chunky paste, adding more water or oil if needed. Taste and adjust the levels of lemon and pecorino and add salt and pepper to taste.

Take the zucchini balls out of the oven, and serve with pesto, perhaps over a bowl of quinoa or pasta. Serves 4.

— From “A Modern Way to Eat: Over 200 Satisfying, Everyday Vegetarian Recipes (That Will Make You Feel Amazing)” by Anna Jones (Ten Speed Press, $35)


View Comments 0