Vegan Aubergine Polpette – Three Ways

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At first we wanted to do a classic Lady and the Tramp Spaghetti and Meatball dish with this recipe. But it felt too expected. So here is instead another spin on our one makes three-series. We really love this series because it reflect so much how we eat. It’s not always an entirely new meal every day but more of a flow where the same components come back with new pairings. These polpette or vegan meatballs are perfect for this. They are good on their own – tender and very flavorful – just like we prefer. And they are also insanely versatile, rolled into a wrap, tangled into pasta, paired with a spicy tomato sauce and hummus or tossed in a crunchy vegan take on a caesar salad.

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Vegan Aubergine Polpette
Makes around 40 balls

2 medium sized aubergines
2 red onions
4 tbsp olive oil
100 g / 1 cup almond flour
120 g / 1 cup cooked lentils
4 tbsp pickled capers, drained and finely chopped
2 tbsp raisins
zest from 1 lemon
15 leaves basil leaves
salt

Preheat the oven to 200°C  / 400°F.
Peel and chop the onion finely and chop the aubergine into small dices. Stir fry both in a large skillet with the oil for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until very soft. When soft, add to a food processor with the rest of the ingredients. Pulse a few times to mix everything together. You want a very chunky sticky texture but don’t pulse too much or you’ll end up with a mushy mixture. Remove the knife blades and shape 30-40 small balls with your hands. Place them on a baking tray covered with baking paper and bake for 25 minutes. Store in the fridge or freeze them.

Scroll down for three ways to serve them.

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Hummus with spicy tomato sauce, polpette and cucumber salad

1 batch vegan aubergine polpette (see recipe above)
1 batch Hummus, see this recipe or store-bought hummus

Spicy tomato sauce
Serves 4

1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion
1 garlic clove
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp harissa paste (or 1 red chili)
2 x 400 g tins tomatoes
1/2 tsp sea salt, to taste

Heat the oil in a large sauce pan on medium heat. Peel and finely chop the onion and garlic and add them to the sauce pan  together with the spices. Let sauté for a few minutes until soft not browned and then add  the tomatoes and salt. Let cook for at least 20 minutes, until rich and fragrant. It will become sweeter and rounder in flavour the longer you leave it on. Store the sauce you are not using tonight in glass bottles in the fridge.

Cucumber salad
½ cucumber
2 tsp olive oil
½ lemon, juice + zest
1 pinch sea salt
1 small handful fresh dill

Finely dice the cucumber and place in a bowl. Add olive oil, lemon juice and zest, salt and dill and toss to combine.

Arrange the hummus in shallow bowls and make a well in the middle. Place a couple of spoonfuls tomato sauce in the well, add a few aubergine polpette and a few spoonfuls cucumber sallad.

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Vegan Wrap with Polpette, Ajvar and Krauts
Serves 4

4 wrap breads / tortilla breads, gluten free or whole grain
4 lettuce leaves
4 cavalo nero or kale, stems removed
1 cup cooked white quinoa
4 tbsp ajvar dressing
1/2 cucumber, cut into sticks
4 tbsp sauerkraut (see recipe here)
1 batch aubergine polpette (see recipe above)

Place one lettuce leave and one kale leave on each tortilla bread, then place 2-3 tbsp quinoa in the middle, a dollop ajvar, cucumber slices, sauerkraut and top with a couple of aubergine polpette.
Fold the top and bottom edges over the filling. Roll the whole tortilla from left to right to wrap in the filling. Roll some parchment paper around them and tie with a string to hold them together.

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Vegan Ceasar Salad with Polpette
Serves 4

1 head Cosmopolitan lettuce
1 batch aubergine polpette (see recipe above)
2 avocados, stone/peel removed and sliced
2 small apples, cored and sliced
2 tbsp sunflower seeds, toasted

Dressing
1/2 cup / 125 ml cold pressed neutral oil (organic rapeseed)
1/2 cup / 125 ml soy milk, unsweetened
2-3 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp pickled capers, drained
1 large pinch salt

Add all dressing ingredients to a tall glas or blender cup. Mix with a stick blender on high speed for about 15 seconds or until you have a creamy white dressing. Taste and adjust the flavours to your preference. Add more oil and blend again if you like it thicker.

Tear the lettuce into bite size pieces and place in a mixing bowl. Add 2 tbsp vegan mayo dressing and toss to cover. Then transfer to a serving platter and arrange avocado slices, apple slices and aubergine polpette and last, scatter over toasted sunflower seeds.