Frittata Fans were pretty excited when I posted Baked Cauliflower Quinoa Meatballs in Turmeric Sauce. The vegetarian cauliflower meatball recipe is definitely a crowd pleaser. It has all the warm, comfort food components that you need for a chilly winter night.
Now that warmer weather is here, I wanted to try a spring version. The cauliflower meatballs get a makeover with ricotta, lemon zest and copious amounts of fresh herbs. The sauce is brightened up with Greek yogurt and yellow bell peppers.
Made it for my test-kitchen friends last night and the plates were clean!
‘Fraid of Feta?
Personally, I love feta cheese. I get it in big chunks at Greek Fest every spring and freeze it. I decided to put chunks of feta into the cauliflower meatballs for a little surprise salty bite. Some of you are not fans of feta. No problem, just leave that out of the recipe.
Fresh Herbs Are Your Friends
This recipe was deliberately made to utilize huge amounts of fresh herbs. If you are growing herbs like dill or cilantro at home, then you know that they do far better when you clip them regularly. This cauliflower meatball recipe is a great way to use big bunches all at once.
If you are not growing herbs, it might be hard to find them in bunches. Cilantro is readily available in stores. You’ll want a good sized bunch for this recipe. If you don’t have access to dill and mint, use fresh parsley and basil. Any combo of 2 or more herbs will work great.
Either way, don’t skimp on the herbs. Embrace them. You can’t over do it.
Time Saver Tip: You can bake the cauliflower meatballs in advance and refrigerate until ready to use. Let them come to room temp before adding to sauce. They are delicate and will fall apart if you cook them too long.
Also thrilled to share that I did freeze a batch of these in a ziploc bag. Let them cool completely before transferring to the freezer container. Thaw in fridge the day you plan to use. It worked!!! Just as delicious as the first time. If the meatballs are made in advance, this is a 30 minute weeknight dinner!!
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups riced cauliflower
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 cup fresh herbs like cilantro, mint and dill, chopped
- 2 lemons
- 1/2 cup ricotta
- 1/2 cup feta, crumbled into chunks (optional)
- salt and pepper
Coconut Yogurt Sauce
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, sliced (about 2 cups)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 inch ginger root, grated (2 heaping tablespoons)
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
- 2 cups light coconut milk, preferably from carton
- 1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
- 1 small plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 large bell pepper, sliced
- 1 cups fresh herbs, chopped like cilantro, mint, dill
- 2 cups cooked brown or basmati rice
Prepare the Meatballs
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk the 2 eggs well. Zest both lemons. Add the riced cauliflower, cooked quinoa, zest and juice from one of the lemon, plus all remaining meatball ingredients to the bowl. Save the other lemon for the sauce. Mix well, pack down into the bottom of the bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°. Use a large spoon and your hands to form meatballs. I like them to be about 3", bigger than a golfball but smaller than a tennis ball. Be delicate but make sure they are well formed. Place on a non-stick baking sheet. You should have 12-15 meatballs. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
Coconut Yogurt Sauce
- In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and saute another minute. Season well with salt and pepper.
- Add the vegetable stock first to deglaze and scrape up any spices. Once combined, add coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Add heavy cream and continue to simmer about 5 minutes. Sauce will thicken slightly. Reduce heat to medium. Add juice of the remaining lemon. Whisk in the yogurt until thoroughly incorporated.
- Carefully add the meatballs to the sauce. Shimmy the pan around so they get fully coated. Simmer for 5 minutes on med heat. Add sliced bell pepper to the sauce. Season again with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve the meatballs and sauce over cooked brown or basmati rice. Sprinkle with a generous handful of chopped cilantro, mint and dill and a splash of lime juice. Each serving has about 1/2 cup rice and 3-4 meatballs.