Veggie Meatballs with Tomatoes, Olives and Caper Sauce

Veggie Meatballs with Tomatoes, Olives and Caper Sauce

Make your own meat-free meatballs from quinoa, black beans, breadcrumbs and smoked paprika, then serve them with a roasted red pepper and tomato sauce


  • Plum tomatoes 2 x 400g tins
  • Dried chilli flakes a large pinch
  • Caster sugar a pinch
  • Basmati and wild rice 240g
  • Roasted red peppers from a jar 3, thickly sliced
  • Capers 2 tbsp
  • Pitted green olives a handful, chopped
  • Red wine vinegar 2 tsp
  • Flat-leaf parsley a handful, chopped (optional)


  • Quinoa 75g
  • Spray oil
  • Onion ½, finely chopped
  • Garlic 3 cloves, finely chopped
  • Sweet smoked paprika 2 tsp
  • Black beans 400g tin, drained and rinsed
  • Egg 1
  • Dried breadcrumbs 30g



To make the meatballs, cook the quinoa in a large pan of boiling water until just cooked, then drain really well and cool. Spray the base of a deep, non-stick frying pan with oil then cook the onion with a splash of water and a pinch of salt for 5 minutes until the water has evaporated and the onion has softened. Add the garlic and paprika, and cook for few more minutes, then cool.


Tip the quinoa, onion mixture, beans, egg and breadcrumbs into a food processor with a little seasoning and whizz until smooth-ish.  Use clean, wet hands to form into 20 balls, each about the size of a walnut, put onto a tray and chill for 15 minutes.


Heat more spray oil in the frying pan and cook the meatballs, in batches, until browned all over, then scoop out onto a plate. Tip the tomatoes into the pan with 200ml of water, the chilli flakes and sugar, and use a masher to crush into small pieces. Season and simmer for 20 minutes until reduced.


Cook the rice in a large pan of lightly salted boiling water following pack instructions, then drain well.


Add the meatballs into the sauce along with the peppers, capers and olives. Simmer, stirring, for 10 minutes until the meatballs are piping hot. Add the vinegar, plus a splash of water if it is getting a little dry.


Divide the rice between bowls and top with the meatballs and sauce. Sprinkle over the parsley, if using, to serve.