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Golden Beet Veggie Balls with Almond Sage Cranberry Crema

By Sharon Palmer - The Plant-Powered Dietitian

Boost the delicious and the health potential of your holiday meals with more plant foods! Try making a plant-based entrée like these veggie “meatballs,” filled with the goodness of beans, grains, vegetables, and herbs. These crispy veggie balls explode with the earthy, holiday flavors of golden beets, white beans, sage and hazelnuts. Serve them alongside this easy almond crema dip for the perfect party appetizer, holiday entrée or comforting side dish.

Golden Beet Veggie Balls with Almond Sage Cranberry Crema

Veggie Balls:

1 bunch fresh golden beets (about 5)

1 (15-oz) can cannellini beans, rinsed drained (about 1 3/4 cups)

2 green onions, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup mushrooms, finely chopped

1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley

1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts

1/4 cup ground flax seeds

1/2 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs (may use gluten-free)

1 tsp sage

1 tsp tarragon

1 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce

2 Tbsp tahini

1 lemon, juiced

Almond Sage Cranberry Crema:

1 cup peeled, slivered almonds

1/3 cup plain, unsweetened plant milk (i.e. soy, almond)

1 Tbsp lemon juice

1 clove garlic

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/2 tsp ground sage

Sea salt (to taste, optional)

1 Tbsp fresh, chopped sage leaves

1/4 cup dried cranberries

To make Veggie Balls:

Trim beets and scrub outside surface, leaving peels on. Shred beets with food processor or box grater.

Place beans in a mixing bowl and mash slightly with a potato masher to achieve a thick mixture with some lumps.

Add beets, onions, garlic, mushrooms, parsley, hazelnuts, flax seeds, breadcrumbs, sage, tarragon, thyme, smoked paprika, and black pepper. Toss together well.

Mix in soy sauce, tahini, and lemon juice – using hands to combine well.

Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

Form 24 golf ball-sized balls out of the mixture and place evenly on baking sheet.

Bake veggie balls in top rack of oven for about 40 minutes, until golden brown.

Serve with Almond Sage Cranberry Crema.

Makes 8 servings (3 veggie-balls each)

To Make Almond Sage Cranberry Crema:

Soak almonds in water for 2 hours (or overnight).

Drain water and place soaked almonds in the container of a blender or food processor.

Add plant milk, lemon juice, garlic, black pepper, and ground sage and process to make a thick, creamy dip.

Transfer crema to a dish and stir in fresh sage, cranberries, and salt if desired. May garnish with additional freshly ground black pepper and fresh sage.

Makes 8 servings (about 2 1/2 tablespoons each)

Nutrition information per serving: 280 calories, 15 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 28 g carbohydrate, 12 g protein, 58 g fiber, 220 mg sodium.

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Sharon Palmer has created an award-winning career based on combining her two great loves: nutrition and writing. Sharon is an accomplished writer, editor, blogger, author, speaker, and media expert. In particular, her expertise is in plant-based nutrition, cooking, and sustainability.