I used golden beets because that’s what I had on-hand, but regular beets will lend your beetballs flecks of vibrant red. Increase the fennel and red pepper flakes for a more sausagy flavor, and use hot smoked paprika for more smoky heat.
- 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms(or handful of any you can find)
- 1 medium raw beet
- 1/2 cup raw pecans, almonds, or other nuts
- 1/2 medium red or yellow onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (mild or spicy)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon hickory smoked salt or Liquid Smoke (optional)
- Place the mushrooms in a small saucepan and add 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon and rinse them well and set aside. Strain the broth through a coffee filter or fine sieve and reserve it for later use. (Leftover mushroom broth can be used in any recipe that calls for vegetable broth.)
- While the mushrooms are cooking, put the nuts into a food processor and pulse to chop finely. Do not over-process–we want finely chopped nuts, not nut powder. Place the nuts in a large mixing bowl.
- Peel the beet and cut it into cubes. Add it to the food processor along with the reserved mushrooms, garlic, and onion and pulse to chop coarsely. Add the chickpeas and all remaining ingredients and pulse several times to chop the chickpeas, but do not turn it into a paste. All the individual ingredients should be recognizable.
- Add the processor contents to the nuts and stir well to combine. If the mixture seems dry, add a tablespoon of the reserved mushroom broth. Allow the mixture to rest while you preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Using a tablespoon or cookie scoop, measure out a heaping tablespoon of “dough.” Using damp hands, form it into a ball, squeezing lightly to compact it. If the dough seems too dry, add additional broth (this should not be necessary–you don’t want the dough to be too wet). Place the ball on the lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining dough. You should be able to make about 18-22 balls. If you like, flatten some of the balls to use in sandwiches or on pizza.
- Bake until the balls are brown and slightly crisp on the outside, about 35 minutes. (Flattened balls will take a little less time.) Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.
- Cook pasta of choice, heat marinara sauce and serve all together!
I prefer these with pecans, and almonds are my second choice, but for a lower-fat alternative, substitute cooked quinoa. The mixture will be moister, and you should not need to add any broth. If it’s too moist, try adding another teaspoon of ground flaxseed and let it rest for a few minutes before handling.
Preparation time: 25 minute(s) | Cooking time: 35 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 4
Nutrition (per serving, using pecans): 227 calories, 108 calories from fat, 12.9g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 750mg sodium, 397.4mg potassium, 23.4g carbohydrates, 7.9g fiber, 4.7g sugar, 8.3g protein, 6.8 points.
Nutrition (per serving, using quinoa): 169 calories, 38 calories from fat, 4.5g total fat, 0mg cholesterol, 751.6mg sodium, 386.5mg potassium, 26.6g carbohydrates, 7.3g fiber, 4.2g sugar, 8.2g protein, 5 points.