Vegan Moroccan Meatballs
December 11, 2020
Vegan Moroccan meatballs in a smooth, spiced tomato sauce served with herby toasted buckwheat. This is a serious winter warmer for sure!
For the Herby Buckwheat
- 100g buckwheat
- 250ml water
- 1 tsp vegan bouillon
- Small bunch fresh parsley
- Small bunch of fresh coriander
- 6–8 mint leaves
For the Meatballs
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- Pinch ground cloves
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 green or red pepper, finely diced
- 2 x 400g tins peeled plum tomatoes
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- Pinch flaky sea salt
- 12 vegan meatballs (I use either Plant Chef or Wicked Kitchen “Amazeballs”)
- 4 TBSP pomegranate seeds (optional)
- 2 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley
- 4 TBSP vegan yogurt
- Pinch sumac
- Pinch chilli flakes
To Make the Herby Buckwheat
- Place a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to temperature. Add the buckwheat dry (no water) to the pan. Toast the buckwheat gently for a minute, swirling the pan often to make sure it doesn’t burn. Add the water and bouillon and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
- Place a lid on the pan and allow to simmer for 15 minutes or until the buckwheat is al dente.
- Drain the buckwheat in a sieve of any remaining water (there shouldn’t be much) then return it to the saucepan (off the heat) and cover with a lid. Leave to steam for 5 minutes.
- Transfer the buckwheat to a medium bowl and allow to cool fully. Once cooled, stir in the chopped herbs and lemon juice. Set aside.
To Make the Meatballs
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, add the olive oil and bring to temperature. Add the onion and garlic and fry for a few minutes until the onions are starting to turn translucent. Don’t let the garlic burn.
- Add the spices and stir to combine. Leave to cook for a minute before adding the red/green pepper. Cook the pepper for a further few minutes before adding the tomatoes. Use your spatula to break up the tomatoes roughly.
- Season the sauce with salt and pepper then cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Allow the sauce to simmer with the lid on for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the tomatoes look mostly broken down.
- Remove the lid and add the meatballs to the top of the sauce. Cover again and cook for a further 20 minutes with the meatballs in the sauce.
- Check on the sauce. If it’s thick at this stage, it’s ready to serve. If it’s still rather thin, remove the lid and simmer for a further 5 minutes until the sauce has reduced.
- Serve the meatballs with a few spoonfuls of herby buckwheat. Top the pomegranate seeds, fresh parsley, sumac and chilli flakes.
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Keywords: vegan moroccan meatballs
Start With the onion, garlic and spices
As with most recipes it’s best to start with the onions and garlic. I also like to get my spices involved nice and early to make sure they temper properly. Tempering spices brings out their true potential and you’ll notice a huge difference in flavour profile if you’re used to just throwing your spices in halfway through cooking.
Add the pepper
We want to give the pepper (namely the skin of the pepper) time to cook until soft, so this goes in next. It doesn’t need long, just enough to give it a head-start over the tomatoes.
Cook down the tomatoes
This dish will be extremely sad if you undercook the tomatoes. They’re the main element here and will become sweeter, the longer you cook them. Give them time, let them simmer and leave that lid on.
Add the meatballs
Now for the meatballs. Cooking them in the sauce (rather than in a separate frying pan) means they soak up those gorgeous spices and aromatics we added earlier – it also saves on washing up.
Simmer and serve
I know you thought we were done with simmering, but really, this bit’s important. Let everything come together and party for a while like the final act of a pantomime before serving. Oh, and don’t forget to garnish!