I always liked veggie balls, even before I became a vegetarian. You can use an endless variety of ingredients to make them. This one has cauliflowers as the vegetable base, accompanied by couscous and spices.
I made these balls a few weeks ago for myself and then I loved them so much that I immediately put them in the following week’s “weekly food package” for my company. I wanted my customers to taste them too!
The couscous in these balls give crispiness to the balls, while cauliflower provides the taste base. I kept the spices, especially the hot spice chili flakes in moderate amount not to overpower the taste of cauliflower.
The most important part of the recipe is cooking the cauliflower. You should cook it just to have it a little tender, not more. If you cook it too much, it will soften too much and turn into a puree in the food processor. You don’t want cauliflower puree, you want small pieces of cauliflower. And the only reason for cooking (boiling) is to chopping in food processor easier. So be careful with that!
I like these balls great just out of the oven. But I loved them even more when I cooked them a little more with a bit of olive oil on a pan after baking, to increase crispiness and to have them a bit more browned. I highly recommend that! Enjoy!
(makes about 50 balls)
1 medium cauliflower*, cut into florets
2.5 dl (or 1 cup) couscous (whole-wheat couscous gives a nicer taste)
2 large eggs
1.5 dl (or 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp) breadcrumbs
1/2 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili flakes (add more if you like it spicier)
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp garlic powder
about 1 tbsp olive or another vegetable oil if you want to brown them a little more after baking
*My cauliflower was 630 gr. and the florets I used were 410 gr. in total.
1. Preheat the oven to 190C. Put cauliflower florets in a large pan and cover with water. Cover the pan and put on medium high heat. Cook the cauliflower florets until they are slightly tender, but not too soft (so that they are easy to shred in the food processor but not too soft to turn into a puree).
2. Drain the cauliflower, wash with cold water a little to cool and then put in a food processor. Shred it into small pieces in only a few seconds. Don’t use the food processor for too long or again, they will get too close to a puree.
3. In a large bowl, put couscous. Pour 2.5 lt (1 cup) hot water (hot enough from tap, you don’t need to boil it) on couscous and let it sit for 5 minutes so that couscous absorbs all the water.
4. Add shredded cauliflower and mix.
5. Add eggs and mix.
6. Add breadcrumbs, spices, salt and garlic powder and mix a little.
7. Knead the mixture a little to make sure that all the spices are mixed evenly.
8. Take pieces from the mixture in your hand and make walnut sized balls, about 3-3.5 cm in diameter.
9. Put the balls on an oven tray, in half a centimeter distance from each other. Put in the middle part of the heated oven. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until they become golden brown.
10. Take the baked balls out of the oven and let them cool for about 10 minutes. You can serve / eat them directly like that but I think this step makes them even tastier: in a large pan, put about 1 tbsp olive oil (or another vegetable oil you like), warm it up on medium high heat. When the oil is quite hot, put the balls on the pan and cook them just for a few more minutes, until they get more browned. I recommend not to use any spoon or other utensil because the balls will still be quite delicate at this stage. So just shake the pan to brown the balls all around. Serve warm. Enjoy!