Yay! It’s Meat Free Monday again, and I have a bit of a naughty treat for you!
I made these Crispy Almond Polenta Bites this weekend when I was craving some yummy fried goodness, which you often don’t have as a Vegan. Generally my diet consists of tofu, beans, lentils and a whole load of fresh vegetables; but sometimes you just need a little naughtiness!
Whilst I admit this recipe isn’t that lazy (they do take a while to prepare) it does make 20 or so balls; so you can freeze them for another time when you don’t fancy cooking. They are a perfect alternative to meatballs with spaghetti, as party nibbles or cold with hummus on a salad.
Crispy Almond Polenta Balls
- 1 cup coarse polenta
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sage or oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cous cous
- 1/3 cup rye flour
- 1/4 cup coarsely ground almonds
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2/3 cup of soy milk
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- In a sauce pan, begin to boil the stock and slowly add the polenta. Keep stirring for a couple of minutes to stop it sticking together.
- Turn the heat down to low and keep stirring while the polenta begins to thicken. Then add the seasonings, oil, and garlic and stir for a few minutes more.
- Once the mixture is looking smooth and completely cooked through, spread it onto a clean baking tray or chopping board.
- Leave it cool as you prep the crispy coating.
- Whisk the milk and flax until frothy and set aside.
- Mix together the cous cous, almonds, flour, thyme, nutritional yeast and pepper to make a crumble like base.
- Once the polenta has cooled, take small amounts in your hands and mould into balls. At first it will feel like its not sticking together, but keep mushing it together, it will eventually stick. Wetting your hands with warm water helps to stop it sticking to you!
- Now dip each ball into the milk mixture and roll them in the crumble topping. You may find the milk starts to make the mixture soggy, so toward the end you might need to press a bit harder to get it to stick.
- Fry the ball in an oil of your choice on a medium to high heat, deep enough to cover half of the ball. Don’t try to do more than 4-6 at a time though; it can get a little crazy in that pan!
- After a couple of minutes turn each ball over for a further 2-3 minutes and then set aside on a plate. Continue until all bites are fried.
- You will be left with incredibly crispy balls outside, and fluffy polenta on the inside. Yummers!!
- I served mine with a spicy tomato sauce, but they also work well with sweet chilli dipping sauce or (vegan) garlic mayo.