Vegan Tunisian ‘meat’ balls, two ways


I love a good vegan ‘meatball’. When I read this recipe for Tunisian meatballs stuffed with cauliflower (Mubattan Bruklu), I was in. Then, perusing my library book, I discovered another type of Tunisian meatball – meatball, coasted in olives, battered and deep fried. OMG. By then I was besotted. We had to try them both.

I took the basics from both recipes, but rewrite them to vegan standards. The results are below. The basic recipe is the same for each.

Before I post it, however, you should know something. They were really great. Filling, flavourful, interesting, crunchy and mushy and chewy, just great. Definitely something that will be added to the lists of foods we’ll eat again once I stop doing this 🙂 I look forward to trying them with different flavours, too – they were good with the Harissa (carraway, cumin, corriander and chilli), but they’d be yummy with herbs, or lemon zest, or sesame, too.

The Finished Product

So, to the recipe. Be warned, its got a lot of ersatz food in it.

Tunisian Meatballs

serves 4

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped into a very small dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • One packet Sanitarium Mince
  • Three small slices of rye bread, into breadcrumbs (I use a coffee grinder)
  • 1 tbsp Harissa (or 1 tsp powdered caraway, 1 tsp corriander (dired), 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper)
  • 2 tsp beef flavoured stock (vegan of course)
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tbsp Orgran No-Egg, in 3 tbsp warm water
  • Either 20-40 olives, chopped in half, or 16 small cauliflower florets, boiled or half of each.
  • 1 cup plain flower
  • Olive oil for frying
  1. In a small frying pan, cook the onion and garlic until soft.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the onion, garlic, mince, harrissa, bread crumbs, parsley and beef stock , and mash with your hands.
  3. Once it is well-mixed, add the No-egg and water mixture, mixing thoroughly.
  4. Roll the mixture into 16 balls.
  5. For Olive meatballs: press half olives into the sides of the balls, squeeze the ball in your hand to get them to stick. For cauliflower meatballs: Holding a meatball in the palm of your hand, press your thumb into it, creating a pattie shape. Place one cauliflower floret into the shape, and close the pattie around it. Roll the ball in your hand to seal any edges.
  6. For both: roll the balls in flour.
  7. Heat the oil for frying, and fry meatballs in batches, until lightly browned.
  8. Serve alone, with dips, or tomato pasta-type sauce (I use a basic tomato sauce of leek,garlic, tinned tomatoes, some salt and herbs).

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