janet @ the taste space

Zucchini “Meatballs” and Tomato-Curry Sauce with Almond Parmesan (aka Vegan Indian Spaghetti and ‘Meatballs’)

In Mains (Vegetarian) on June 18, 2013 at 5:56 AM

I used to wonder if my Indian dishes were up to snuff. It has been so long since I had been to an Indian restaurant, that I have nothing for a comparison. I usually rely on Rob’s opinion, who eats out more than I do. While on my many travels last year, I stumbled upon a highly rated Indian resto that had quite a few vegan options. I helped myself to the vegetarian platter and while I ate it, the only thing I could of was that I could make better Indian food at home. Not that the food was bad; only my curries are much better, if I may say so myself. Rob has taught me well. Furthermore, I can control the level of spiciness and the amount of added oil (no deep-fried belly aches), making dishes that are truly perfect for me.

Another advantage of cooking Indian at home is that you can go totally crazy, too.  Crazy in the foodie-sense, of course.  Have you ever seen an Indian dish with noodles? Italian meets Indian. Sounds like a perfect description of Joanne, who shared the lovely recipe.

Here, we have spiced zucchini and chickpea meatballs (aka kofta) that are baked, not fried. They are served overtop a tomato-curry sauce. The next question was what to serve this with. You could go with rice to return to the Indian base, but Joanne served it with polenta. I wanted to continue with the Indian spaghetti theme. Therefore, I used zucchini noodles and made a raw almond parmesan topping. Cooked meets raw. Zucchini on zucchini. Craziness, pure craziness,  I tell you… but all in a good way. 🙂

If you think I am just tooting my own horn, I urge you to try our favourite Indian dishes and decide yourself:

Nepalese Mountain Lentil Curry (Dal Bhat)
Split Pea Dal with Ginger and Lime

Indian Lentils with Spinach (Dal Palak)
Plantain, Cabbage and Coconut Curry with Split Pigeon Peas (Indian Cabbage and Plantain Kootu)

Cumin-Scented Pigeon Peas with Mango (Mango Curry with Toor Dal)
Indian Roasted Eggplant and Tomatoes with Chickpeas (Baingan Bharta with Chickpeas)
Indian Eggplant and Lentil Curry (Dal Bhat Meets Baingan Bharta)
Butternut Squash, Coconut, and Lentil Stew (Aarti’s Indian Summer Stew)
Cauliflower, Spinach and Chickpea Balti
Tamarind Lentils
Indian Chickpea and Collard Roulade with a Tomato-Mustard Sauce
Malai Koftas with Chaat Masala
Baked Lemon Cilantro Pakoras

This is my submission to this month’s Pasta Please for nuts and to this month’s Pantry Party for cheese.

Zucchini “Meatballs” and Tomato-Curry Sauce with Almond Parmesan (aka Vegan Indian Spaghetti and ‘Meatballs’)
Adapted from Joanne Eats Well with Others, who adapted it from Madhur Jaffrey’s World of the East Vegetarian Cooking

4 medium zucchini, about 2 pounds, divided (or 1.25 lbs zucchini plus pasta)
1/2 tsp salt
1 hot green chili, seeded and minced
2 large onions, peeled and very finely minced (3 tbsp finely minced onion reserved)
1.5 tsp peeled and very finely grated ginger
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
1/3 cup chickpea flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp Aleppo chile flakes
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
14 oz can of whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 cup almond milk (or your choice of nondairy milk)
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp ground cumin
salt, to taste
1/4 cup almond Parmesan (recipe here)

1. Wash, trim and grate half of the zucchinis.  Place it into a colander and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt.  Set the colander overtop a bowl and allow to drain for half an hour or more.

2. Preheat your oven to 400F.

3. Using a spatula press out as much liquid as possible, reserving the liquid for your sauce.

4. Combine the dried zucchini with the green chili, 3 tbsp onion, grated ginger, and parsley.  Sift the chickpea flour over the vegetable mixture.  Mix well and form into 16 balls, approximately 1″ in diameter, squeezing them tight.

5. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush olive oil overtop the zucchini balls.  Place on a silpat or parchment paper on a large baking pan.  Bake for 40 minutes, turning once halfway through.

6. Meanwhile, prepare your sauce.  In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tbsp olive oil.  When hot, add the remainder of the minced onions.  Stir and saute for 7-8 minutes or until the onions begin to turn brown at the edges.  Add the turmeric, cayenne, ground cumin, and ground coriander, stirring for another 5 seconds.  Add the tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the zucchini juice (about 1 cup, adding more water if necessary). Increase heat and bring to a boil.  Cover, lower heat and let the sauce simmer gently for 15 minutes. Add the almond milk, garam masala, 1/2 tsp cumin, and salt to taste, stirring to incorporate.  Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat.

7. With your 2 remaining zucchini, spiralize them. Or go boil your pasta. Set aside until needed.

8. Meanwhile, prepare your almond Parmesan (recipe here).

9. To serve, plate zucchini noodles, cover with tomato sauce, top with zucchini meatballs and sprinkle with almond Parmesan.

Serves 2.

  1. I like the sound of these a lot – in fact, if I’m honest, more than traditional Indian food. I guess I embrace craziness of the food variety 🙂

  2. This looks like a great meal Janet. The “meatballs” remind me of those cauliflower pakora of yours which also use chickpea flour, and which I’m a big fan of 🙂
    I can relate to only having bad Indian meals out too! I think England has a bit of a reputation for inauthentic Anglo-Indian food though…
    That said, there’s one fabulous all-vegetarian South Indian restaurant in London that I adore.

  3. Yum! There’s some chickpea flour just sitting in the pantry volunteering for this assignment….

    We are on an Indian kick this week as well…eating out twice at Indian restaurants and possibly making something at home.

  4. Janet, this recipe looks fascinating and delicious all at the same time! I plan to make it very soon, however, I do not have a Spiralizer. I have seen quite a few recipes of late that utilize one, so I will purchase one in the near future.

    But here’s my question: once you spiralize the zucchini, do you cook the “noodles” or are they eaten raw?

    • This would totally work with your favourite noodle. Zucchini noodles just happen to be my favourite. 😉
      There are also julienne peelers that could work instead of a spiralizer.. and at one point, I have also used a regular peeler to get wider noodles, too. So, even without a spiralizer, you can totally make this. 🙂

      For the zucchini noodles, I generally just eat them as is.. no cooking, no nothing. I have been meaning to try salting them to reduce their moisture, but haven’t tried yet. I know some people do cook them, so that is an option, but I fear they would became too mushy. This way, when raw, they keep their shape very well. 🙂 When you try it, please let me know how you like it. 🙂

  5. I love the idea of almond Parmesan. I’ll have to try that sometime. This looks great!

  6. Lookin’ awesome! I want to jump thru the screen and eat it!

  7. I’m going to make this ASAP!

  8. Such a cool idea! I am out of chickpea flour… I think I could make some lentil flour and that may work? Zucchini is my favorite spring veggie!

  9. I really like this idea Janet- why hold yourself to traditional combinations when in your own kitchen- experimenting is the best part!!

  10. Reblogged this on EMBRACE YOU and commented:

  11. Haha I”m so glad you liked these and I love that you served them over zucchini noodles! The benefit of cooking is definitely that you can mix things up more and go crazy!

  12. Kofte are the best! I usually eat them from our (seriously amazing) local Indian buffet instead of making them at home, though. Must give homemade kofte a try!

  13. This recipe looks amazing! Putting it on my to do pile for a lazy summer weekend!

  14. I have been thinking about doing some bean “meatballs” myself but I love this version with zucchini!! Awesome recipe! And you are so right – I think many of the Indian places I would eat out here are so Americanized I’m sure it is not authentic.

  15. yep that is crazy but in such a fascinating way – I love being able to choose what we eat at home – and fusion is so much fun and really it makes sense when we have so many cuisines available to us

  16. Nothing about this meal looks traditional, but that’s what I love about it! Zucchini noodles with tomato sauce can be too light on its own, so topping it with healthy zucchini balls makes this a more substantial and interesting meal! And all those Indian spices would make it so flavourful too. Great idea!

  17. […] if I hadn’t this wonderful veggie dish wouldn’t be with us right now. This dish, Zucchini “Meatballs” and Tomato-Curry Sauce with Almond Parmesan, is such a fun play on the traditional spaghetti and meatball dish. The cheese that Janet uses is […]

  18. If this is vegan cookery then count me in Janet, this looks absolutely stunning! Karen

  19. […] Zucchini “Meatballs” and Tomato-Curry Sauce with Almond Parmesan (aka Vegan Indian Spaghetti and…How can courgettes look so good! But they do in this delectable vegan “meatball” recipe with a rich spiced sauce and almond Parmesan. […]

  20. This sounds delicious – and looks so pretty – great job! I’m hosting the July Past Please, and the theme is Cheeseless Wonders – I hope you can join in 🙂

  21. […] Zucchini noodles have been my go-to lunch this summer. Gabby warned me that Houston’s heat would lead me to more raw foods and she was right. My meals have become simpler. Zucchini noodles are simple enough and of course, are just a vector for the sauce. The end of summer is a prime time for juicy tomatoes, at least in Ontario. I have yet to find tasty tomatoes here in Houston, so I have resorted to cherry tomatoes, which, in general, have more flavour. A portion of the fresh tomatoes are pulsed with a red bell pepper and sun-dried tomatoes along with a bunch of fresh herbs (basil and oregano) and garlic. A dash of chile flakes give a bit of kick and a date balances it out with a bit of sweetness. I topped it with some hemp seeds, too. I actually used a lot more than what I photographed since I knew it wouldn’t be as photogenic. I usually add the sauce and hemp seeds just before I eat the salad but I took photos of my partially packed lunch. Of course, this sauce will work equally well with your favourite spaghetti-type noodle. […]

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