November 16, 2017: As the last plate of this week’s order with Chefs Plate, I selected and made a vegetarian dish for the first time! Usually, I think that ordering the meat dishes are more worth it in value but since I’ve been enjoying more vegetables in my daily meals, this one was very unique to make and terrific to eat!
This was a recipe for Quinoa Masala Meatballs in Romaine Lettuce Cups with Creamy Sweet Chili Sauce. It had a difficulty level of “hard” and a prep time of 35 minutes.
At first, I was a little intimidated by the “hard” difficulty level. However, when we got to reading the recipe card before we starting cooking, the steps seemed simple enough and I wasn’t sure why it warranted the top difficulty level. However, as we actually started cooking and making the vegetarian meatballs, it was clearer to me why — it really was quite multi-stepped and not easy to make!
Only one pot and pan in the oven are needed (in terms of pottery) to make this meal.
Before beginning, definitely cut up all the produce first (or you can follow the recipe and cut some of it while the pot is on too).
Then, the meatball filling is cooked. It’s mainly comprised of sweet potatoes and quinoa. First, the sweet potatoes and quinoa are boiled in water until they’re soft. After this is done, strain the water and return it to the pot. Mash the sweet potato and quinoa together before adding in the red finger pepper, rice flour, tamari, Masala Spice Mix (chili powder, garam masala, ground cumin, garlic powder), and half of the green onion. (I made the minor mistake of not mashing the sweet potatoes and the quinoa first before adding the rest of the ingredients so it might have made it trickier to mash up the sweet potatoes. However, it wasn’t a huge misstep. Also, after straining the water from the pot, you can actually drink the “soup” of the sweet potato and quinoa. It was so sweet and delicious!)
After the mixture is blended together, you can start scooping them to make the meatballs. This took some skill and perhaps you can use some plastic clingwrap to help form the meatballs into shapely balls. After this, into the oven they went and are baked are 12 to 15 minutes.
Our meatballs were in the oven for only 12 minutes. I think if we baked it until 15 minutes, we would have seen the meatballs a bit more crispier.
While waiting for the oven’s contents to be done, pickle the candy cane beets and prepare the mint cream sauce.
I remember distinctly that I had used candy cane beets before in a previous Chefs Plate recipe. This pickling process was easy to do; you just had to mix the beets well with the rice vinegar and set it aside.
The mint cream sauce was made by mixing mayonnaise, mint, and two teaspoons of water. You can actually skip out on the water if you want the texture of the mint cream sauce to be more thick.
After this, it was time to serve the quinoa meatballs into the romaine lettuce cups! This took some time to put each meatball into the lettuce cups, plate the pickled beets, sliced romaine, and remaining green onion, plus to drizzle the sweet chili sauce and mint cream sauce onto it all.
In the end when it was finally time to eat, like I said before, I understand why this had a difficulty level of “hard”. It was definitely multi-step! Anyway, the taste of it was very good. The quinoa masala meatballs were very soft and the sweet potato’s taste shone through everything else. I could taste the individual quinoa seeds too. The red finger pepper and Masala Spice Mix contents were barely detectable and thus not spicy. Also, the quinoa meatballs weren’t very crispy — perhaps not enough water was strained from the pot for the sweet potatoes and also we hadn’t baked the meatballs long enough.
The romaine lettuce leaves were extremely fresh and crunchy with each bite. It was so good! The pickled candy cane beets were a great complement to the rest of the flavours. The sweet chili sauce was perfect too.
Again, I was glad to be able to try a new recipe from Chefs Plate! 🙂
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