So these are like meatballs – but made with beets! Hence, beetballs. If, when making or serving these, you feel compelled to loudly and repeatedly sing (to the tune of the old Batman theme song) “Dana Nana Nana Nana….BEETBALLS!” just know you do so with my full understanding and support. Also I’m sorry if I just put that in your head.
Oh, you mean I should actually show you what they are and how to make them? Sorry, got distracted for a second there. Aside from the fact that you have to pan fry them, these are pretty easy to throw together. Just combine some black beans, an onion, and a couple of shredded beets in a large bowl like so:
You can also throw in a handful of parsley or some spinach, it’s a great way to sneak in some greens. On a side note I wonder why it is that greens get such a bad rap? People are always talking about ways to sneak them into food, like they are so healthy but just taste awful and need to be masked. I love leafy greens! They taste great! Raw, sautéed, baked…they are so flexible and really just as tasty as any other vegetable group. So I take it back – don’t sneak any greens into these beetballs, add them proudly as another delicious ingredient that adds flavor and complexity to the dish. Okay, side note over, back to the recipe.
Blend up your beet and veggie mixture until it’s thoroughly pureed. It’ll be pretty wet, so then you can add about a cup of brown rice flour (or any other flour) until you get a sort of ground-beef texture. Or ground beet texture. Seriously, it rhymes with meat and is only one letter away from beef, the hilarious puns just write themselves. It even looks a little like ground beef, only smoother and quite a bit more fuchsia:
That’s your base – you can now shape it into balls, patties, pretty much whatever you want. Haven’t tried it as a loaf yet but I suspect that would work too. To make beetballs just roll about a tablespoon of the mixture into a ball and sauté it in a pan with some oil over medium-high heat. I have made these in a cast iron skillet and a stainless steel pan and both worked great. The outsides will darken up to a blackish/reddish color fairly quickly:
Once they are evenly heated you can serve them immediately – in spaghetti, with gravy, whatever you want to do. You can also shape them into patties and pan fry or grill, just like a burger. This recipe makes about 30-40 meatballs or 6 patties, and you can shape the raw dough and freeze it for later if that’s more than you need.
Dana nana nana nana….BEETBALLS!
Vegan Meatballs (a.k.a. "Beetballs")
- 3.5 cups shredded beets about 3 beets
- 1 onion diced
- 1 can black beans drained and rinsed
- 1/4 fresh parsley or 1/2 cup wilted spinach
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp fennel optional
- 1/4 tsp white pepper
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour or any other flour
- 1 Tbsp oil plus more for sautéing
- Combine all ingredients except flour in a large bowl. Blend with a stick blender or food processor until very smooth.
- Add flour 1/2 cup at a time until the mixture is thick enough to form into balls or patties - it will get more stable after it cooks, it just needs to be firm enough to maintain its shape while you cook it.
- Shape mixture into small balls or patties and sauté in oil in a skillet over medium high heat until evenly browned on all sides and heated throughout. Serve immediately.