We’re a mostly-vegetarian household (perhaps this is a Dutch thing, “flexitarian”) where dinner is always vegetarian. But it’s also a Dutch household, which means that “stamppot” needs to be served sometimes – mashed potatoes with something. For instance, carrots, parsnips and potatoes. Typically also served with sausage or meatballs, and that’s where the challenge lies. I find most of the store-bought vegetarian “meatballs” dreadful, so I came up with my own. “Mnietballs” is the name, where “niet” is the Dutch word for “not”. So, like, they’re not meatballs. A recipe.

I’m a “throw things together” kind of cook, so to produce this recipe I had to slow down and actually measure what I was doing. I do not expect to reproduce this at the table, but it’s a guide to help me out next time. Makes 12 mnietballs, serves 3.

🍲 20g dried soy chunks 🍲 20g puffed quinoa

These two are commercial products. The puffed quinoa is voluminous and seems like an awful lot more than the soy chunks. The soy chunks look like dry dog food bits.

🍲 40g sunflower seeds 🍲 5g chia seeds

This provides some of the protein, bite, and binding power of the mnietballs. For a vegan variant, increase the chia and drop the egg later in this recipe. The vegan variant needs a little more water and should stand for a while to let the chia seed get sticky. A little flax seed might help, too.

🍲 30g wheat flour 🍲 25g rye flour 🍲 25g rolled oats

Glutinous bits. The rye gives some flavor. The oats some texture. Some viable replacements are buckwheat flour for a different flavor. I don’t think spelt would work well here.

🧂 5g salt 🧂 5g paprika powder 🧂 1g ground nutmeg 🧅 50g finely chopped onion

I have some smoked paprika powder, which imparts a nice flavor. Other suitable spices would add some sumak, piment, chili flakes, cloves. Lots of variations possible.

🥚 1 egg 🥄 2 tbsp ketjap 🥄 2 tbsp water

Mix all the dry ingredients and the onion, then add the three wet parts. I use A1 brand sweet ketjap (soy sauce). After mixing everything, it should be a brownish, slightly sticky, moist mass. Let it sit for five minutes to let the chia work, then form into mnietballs. Fry for about 8 minutes on medium heat (higher heat to make them crunchy on the outside, or use low heat and a lid for a more “steamed” approach and fluffier mnietballs).

Smakelijk! Stamp met ballen.