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Vegetarian Sticky 'Meatballs'


  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 red bell pepper
  • large handful of fresh coriander (cilantro)
  • 1 (450 g) can cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour (or oat flour if you can tolerate it)
  • 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • pinch of salt
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 x recipe for pomegranate glaze (see below)


  • Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F), line a baking tray with foil and grease with vegetable oil.

  • In a food processor or blender: place the onion, garlic, bell pepper and coriander into the food processor or blender. Blitz until as fine as possible. Add the beans, egg, flour, spices, salt and lemon juice and pulse until mostly smooth with some chunks.

  • By hand: In a large bowl, mash the beans using a vegetable masher. Finely chop the onion and red pepper, mince the garlic. Add these to the large bowl along with the flour, spices, salt and lemon juice then stir together.

  • Divide the mixture into 15 or 16 balls - I like using a mechanical ice cream scoop for this or just two tablespoons - onto the lined tray, bake for 15 minutes. Remove and brush with some of the pomegranate glaze using a pastry brush. Bake again for 5 minutes. Set aside until you've made the pilaf (or in the fridge overnight if you're making this a day ahead).

  • Once the pilaf has been made, preheat your oven's grill/broiler at the highest setting and place the rack in the top third of the oven. Brush the meatballs with more glaze and place under the grill/broiler. Let them cook so that the glaze gets slightly bubbly (this only takes a few minutes) then remove from the oven, brush with the glaze (the last time!) and serve with the pilaf.