Oct 7, 2011

Beetroot Beanballs

So, the weekend is nearing, the weather has turned unfathomably cold and wet, the house is warm and cosy and the kitchen pristine. It's definitely time to destroy the kitchen with my weird and sometimes wonderful creations once again. This time of year I want comfort food, warming, delicious and wholesome. Now that the kayaking season has ended for another year my thoughts turn to what to do next? Well I have to do some exercise to burn off all the cookies and cakes I'm going to cook before Christmas and it will be my old friend the snowboard who will help me be a total glutton! With thoughts of snowboarding filling my head, my attention turns to suppers. We spend hours on the local slopes so when we get home I want something that can be prepared quickly. Daylight is scarce here in winter in Sweden, the days get dark quick and the evenings are cold and snowy. Perfect conditions for warming winter suppers.

Now a few months ago I wrote about köttbullar (Swedish meatballs), Mr.B adores them, so much so the recipe was changed to elk meat to support his love of game. But as a vegetarian looking for an alternative I have been disappointed. Processed soyaballs are bland and unappealing on the eye so the only option was to make my own. With the ever approaching winter, and the cold nights setting in, I find myself wanting to make my beetroot bean balls. I made these for the first time years ago as burgers and was so impressed by the texture and flavor that they were added immediately to the monthly rotation of winter suppers.

Now they do take some time to prepare but if you make up a large batch and freeze them, you can have convienient and tasty suppers to hand at any time. The bean element of the dish changes regularly depending on whats available and whats left in the cupboard. Mungbean and chickpea in my humble opinion make the best flavour, deep and rich. Split peas are used here as I had lots to use up quickly. Split peas need a little extra flavor but the beetroot gives not only a vibrant colour but a fresh earthy taste which is unmistakable. Depending on your tastes or if they are for kids you can add or remove the garlic and cumin, but they both give this dish remarkable flavour so try it first to see if you like it. The kids love to make these and you get so many veggies into them with no tantrums or tears, I think its the pink color that does it! One note if you are having the kids help, grate and drain the beetroot yourself or face cleaning pink dye off walls and faces!

For the Meatballs:
100g dried beans (Mungbean, Chickpea, Split pea)
3 Large Beetroots
1 Small Onion
3 Cloves Garlic
1 Large Carrot
2-3 tsp Cumin
1 Medium Egg 
Salt and Pepper

Prepare the beans as per instructions on packet. After you have cooked your beans allow them to cool thoroughly. In a large bowl grate the beetroot on a coarse grater. You need all the water removed from the beetroot. Take the grated beetroot and squeeze it between your hands to remove the water. Grate the carrot and remove the water in the same way.

In a small saucepan soften the onions and garlic. When the onions are just soft add the cumin and allow to cook for a further minute. Set aside to cool.

Take your now cooled bean mixture and either blitz or roughly smash up your beans to a small piece consistency or smooth if for small children. Add the carrot, beetroot, onion and garlic and finally salt and pepper to taste. Depending on the consistency you can add a little egg if you feel its too dry. Add the egg a little at a time until a soft pliable consistency is achieved.

Take a small amount of the mixture, I use an icecream scoop so they are all the same size and roll the mixture between the palms of your hand until you get a round ball shape. Roll in a little egg wash and then in breadcrumbs for a crunchy exterior when cooking.

To cook, you can either fry gently on all sides for 6-7mins depending on size of meatball or you can bake them in the oven at 150C for 15 mins brush gently with oil to get a crunchier exterior.


  1. Wow, those are unique meatballs! At least for me :) I hadn't seen anything like this before, but now I'm really tempted to try and make them!

  2. What a great idea. Like you, I find the Hälsans Kök's "bullar" to be largely tasteless as well as expensive. I'll give these a whirl on the weekend.

  3. We do like gourmet bullar here, but these look easy enough even for a kitchen klutz like me!

  4. @Marie.. I have yet to find a good HK product. Some are bland, others are downright salty.

    @Ladyfi.. Ha well I would never call them gourmet but they taste good and look good too. The kids love the color, my lovely walls on the other hand do not!

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