I turned to this page (below) from an old classic cookbook, HP Appetizers by Mable Hoffman, published in 1980, with the goal to “healthify” the recipe. I got this book in college when I was starting my first cookbook library as a young food and nutrition professional. My cookbook library now numbers in the hundreds of books!
I was excited when I saw this page, because I’ve been obsessed with veggie “meat” balls as of late. It seems like everyone is coming up with savory, flavorful little vegetarian balls as the perfect go to plant-based meal option. And since the holidays are upon us, how about something truly savory and party worthy, with the flavors of sage, mushrooms, and white beans, served with a gorgeous, ruby-colored sauce, which was inspired by my pomegranate tree!
I am so excited about how wonderful this recipe turned out! I plan on serving it at holiday parties throughout the season. Plus it’s a fabulous recipe to make and freeze, so you can pull out these little veggie balls later. Check out my step-by-step photos below. Bon appetit!
Yields 10 servings
- 2 15.5-oz cans white (cannellini) beans, rinsed, drained
- 1 medium sweet potato, shredded
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- 2 stalks celery, finely diced
- 1 ½ cups finely chopped brown mushrooms
- ½ cup finely chopped hazelnuts
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
- 2 tablespoons chopped chives
- ½ teaspoon ground mustard
- ½ teaspoon celery salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
- 1 lemon, juiced
- ½ cup breadcrumbs (gluten-free)
- ½ cup oats
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 1 large mandarin orange, juice and zest
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon cardamom
- 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 large pomegranate, seeded
- Place beans in a large mixing bowl and mash with a potato masher until smooth, with chunks.
- Stir in sweet potato, onion, celery, mushrooms, hazelnuts, cloves, sage, chives, mustard, celery salt, black pepper, soy sauce, maple syrup, lemon juice, breadcrumbs, oats, and flax seeds. Combine well. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Heat half of olive oil in a large skillet.
- Shape mixture into about 40 golf ball-sized balls, pressing firmly. Place half of them in the skillet and cook over medium heat for about 15 minutes, turning with tongs to brown all sides. Add remaining olive oil and cook remaining veggie balls, using the same technique.
- Place veggie balls in a large baking dish and cook at 350 F for 30 minutes, until tender.
- Prepare pomegranate mandarin sauce by whisking together pomegranate juice, mandarin orange juice, maple syrup, cardamom, and cornstarch together in a small saucepan.
- Heat over medium until bubbly and thickened. Stir in mandarin orange zest and pomegranate seeds (arils) and chill until serving time.
*Serving size: 4 meatballs + ¼ cup sauce
*White Bean Balls Only: Nutrients Per Serving: 343 calories, 12 g protein, 36 g carbohydrates, 18 g fat 2g saturated fat, 3 g sugar, 161 mg sodium
*Sauce Only: Nutrients Per Serving: 50 calories, 1 g protein, 12 g carbohydrates, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 9 g sugar, 3 mg sodium