Goddam Ottolenghi, your food is all just brilliant. Whilst I would prefer simply to sit and be served piles of delightfully fresh salad at Ottolenghi, my finances would weep. So having borrowed The Ottolenghi Cookbook, I decided that it was time to recreate the magic in my own home.
Sadly, it didn’t go quite to plan. My turkey and sweetcorn meatballs ended up being made of beef as the local butcher’s had run out of minced turkey (who buys enough of that stuff for it to run out in the first place?) and I was too lazy to weigh out some of my ingredients.
So here is Ottolenghi’s bastardised recipe, now know as ‘Healthy beef meatballs with red pepper sauce’:
Ingredients for the meatballs
- 500g lean beef
- 2 handfuls of sweetcorn (either frozen or from a tin)
- 2-3 shakes / pinches of ground cumin
- 2 pinches of sea salt
- 2 pinches of black pepper
- 1 finely chopped or crushed garlic clove
- Sunflower oil for frying
Ingredients for the red pepper sauce
- 2 red peppers
- 1 pinch of sea salt
- 1 peeled garlic clove
- 1 small chilli, deseeded
- 3 dashes / tablespoons of olive oil
- A dash of balsamic vinegar
To make the red pepper sauce:
- Preheat the oven to 200’C. Cut the peppers into four, removing the stalk and any seeds. Put them on a baking tray and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt.
- Roast for 35 minutes. Take the peppers out and put into a blender with the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth and season further if necessary.
To make the beef and sweetcorn meatballs
- Heat the sweetcorn in a non-stick frying pan until they start to blacken on the outside (you can do this straight from frozen).
- In a large bowl, add all the other meatball ingredients and mix well together with your hands. Add the sweetcorn once they’ve cooled.
- Roll into balls, about the size of a golf ball.
- Using a heavy frying pan, heat half a centimeter of sunflower oil and add the meatballs, a few at a time, keeping them moving until they’re golden brown all over.
- Transfer the meatballs into a baking tray (you can use the same one that you cooked the peppers in) and cook for 5 minutes. If in doubt, break one open and check. And eat the evidence.
I love to serve these healthy beef meatballs with vegetable quinoa, using roasted crispy courgettes and green beans. Simply, healthy, delicious and filling. You can also just munch on the meatballs whenever you get peckish, as a healthy snack.
Here are some other ideas for healthy snacks:
- Californian Almonds
- Raw Chocolate Balls: a recipe
- Curly kale crisps: a recipe
- Incan berries