I really thought that clean-eating would be too much faff for me. But, it's a complete doddle..just a case of the right choice of ingredients and basically cutting out all the dross we consume each day mainly with the inclusion processed foods.
I'm majorly guilty of loving the wrong things... I don't have a particularly sweet tooth but I always crave something savoury to nibble at... crisps are a fatal attraction so I've been trying to devise some good nibbles to scoff when I'm entertaining or even TV watching ... raw carrot sticks, celery and cucumber don't hack it but something like these Butternut Squash Balls make snacking a complete delight. These would also make a delicious light starter or light lunch dish.
I've used coconut flour in them as it keeps the dish gluten-free & Paleo friendly..you could always substitute this for bog standard plain flour though if you like the look of them but are not bothered with any health issues.
OK here we go,
you will need a vegetable steamer and an oven tray oiled & lined with baking parchment and a small non-stick frying pan
The oven needs to be set high 220c/425F/gas 7
for the Butternut Squash Balls
1 medium sized Butternut Squash seeded & peeled and cut into 1½" dice
1 medium onion chopped finely
2 large cloves of garlic squeezed through a press
1 dsp either olive & rapeseed oil to saute the onions & garlic
3 tbsp Coconut Flour...can be substituted with rice flour, gram flour or even plain all purpose flour
1 large egg beaten
1 tsp ground coriander
1tsp ground cumin
1tsp ground ginger
1tsp chilli flakes
½ tsp turmeric
1tsp sea salt
a few good grinds of the black pepper mill
For the Salsa.
A ripe Avocado
The freshly squeezed juice of 1 large lime
Pineapple around a quarter of a small one
Cucumber " " " "
1 red chilli seeds removes and sliced
a few chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves (optional) you could sub with parsley
Spring onions (scallions)...one or two chopped
Optional ...2 tsps fish sauce (substitute for soy sauce if not available or leave out altogether)
2 tsps runny honey
1 tsp sesame oil
Steam the Butternut squash over boiling water for around 10 minutes or until soft. Please don't be tempted to boil the squash in water as it won't work ...it'll be far too wet.
Saute the onion in the oil until starting to soften, add the garlic and saute on until all is cooked and softened ... cool slightly
Mash the squash until there's no lumps at all
Add the coconut flour, spices, seasoning, onion & garlic and the egg
Mix well together until everything is combined.
The mixture should be soft & pliable ... add a little more flour if too wet or a drop of milk if too dry.
at this stage I like to test the seasoning by frying a tiny piece in a little oil and then tasting it...adjust the seasoning to your taste.
Roll into golf ball sized bites and place them on the parchment lined oven tray.
Bake in the hot oven for around 15 minutes until they are cooked through and slightly browned.
While these are baking make the salsa
Halve the avocado and remove the stone, scoop out the flesh with a spoon and dice into small pieces
immediately spritz with a little lime juice to stop it from discolouring.
Chop the pineapple into small dice too
the same with the cucumber
in a bowl mix all the above with the spring onions, coriander leaves, chilli, fish sauce (if using)
honey, the rest of the lime juice and the sesame oil... adjust to seasoning to taste.
Arrange the balls on a plate while still warm and place the Salsa in a dish to accompany them ... (best served warm rather than hot)
These can be made in advance and reheated in a hot oven for a few minutes or place in the microwave on full heat for no more than 1 minute.