My favourite 'meat'ball and chunky tomato sauce recipe! (plus the Raw Retreat experience. no. 2)
Last weekend saw the second Raw Retreat Experience take place... and it was just as epic as the first!
The moment I walked through the front door of the hall, I breathed a sigh of relief and all my worries fell away. The weekend was ours. The energy of the simple unassuming village hall in the quirt Derbyshire countryside is incredible! Half of the participants had also been to the first retreat, and as they came through the door I heard a couple of them say "it feels like coming home". It did indeed.
As it says in the details, the Raw Retreat weekend is stripped back experience to remove luxury and create an environment for deeper connection with your inner spirit. As we arrived we each set up our beds and got cosy for the evening. There is a wonderful childlike sense of having a 'camp out' throughout the retreat, even when people have a little snooze during the day, or take time to zone out and meditate, there is a special energy about it all taking place in the same environment where someone maybe reading, eating or crafting just a few meters away.
The focus throughout is on connecting with our senses... through food, movement, nature, crafting, conversation, space and stillness to go within.
Some of the tribe shared with wonderful words about the experience and it makes me heart smile, I can't wait to create more retreats for more deep connection...
"It felt like coming home, space to BE!"
I have learned loads about myself, I met wonderful people that feel the same as me inside. This is the closest I get outside 'recovery' in connection with feelings, emotions and understanding".
"Lovely vegan food, lots of walking, lots of talking and brilliant company."
My friend Dionne at Manabika yoga led us through energising morning yoga practices and a yoga nidra bedtime session on the first evening. Then there was the food.... wonderful food (if I do say so myself, ha!) Thought the focus was not on raw food (just healthy vegan food) Dionne also created a masterpiece of a raw cake... recipe to come soon. One of my favourite recipes are my 'meatless meatballs'.... I can't believe I haven't shared them on my blog before (I even had to double check!) as they've been a favourite at both Lanzarote retreats and both Raw Retreats!
They are so versatile, can be rolled into balls or pressed into larger burger style patties, they can be made with beans or mushrooms or a combination. They also freeze well- so I always make a big batch! Seriously- what's not to love?
The recipe for the 'no-meat' balls and my chunky tomato sauce is below, but first I want to share with you the energy of the retreat in photos. I plan to run 3 or 4 of these retreats a year so keep your eyes on the main info page for the latest dates!
Recipe: 'Meat' balls
Makes approx. 30 balls (they freeze well but you can halve the quantities if preferred)
- 3 cups cooked beans* (mix of red and black or just one type)
- 1 cups sunflower seeds (approx 350g) soaked and drained
- 1 cup oats
- ¼ cup flax seed
- 2 small red onions
- ¾ cup sun dried tomatoes
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 heaped tsp mixed herbs
- 1 lemon- juice
- 4 garlic cloves
- Approx. ¼ cup soy sauce
* Note: I used beans as one of the participants on the retreat had a mushroom allergy, but I have also used mushrooms instead of beans (arguably even more authentic!) pulsed in a the food processor to get a 'mince' style texture. Pat with kitchen towel to take as much of the moisture out to prevent wet balls.
Pulse beans in a processor until you have a loosely blended mixture. Set aside.
Pulse remaining ingredients together until you have a smooth but still chunky mixture. In a large bowl add the mushrooms and mix through well.
Roll the mixture into meat ball size balls and place in a lined baking sheet. Bake at 180C for 25 - 30 minutes until crispy and golden. (also great eaten cold)
Serving options: spaghetti (or courgetti) and tomato sauce, pasta, quinoa, topping for a salad or in a wrap. Also make great burgers.
Recipe: Chunky Tomato sauce
Makes approx. 3 cups worth
- 1 tsp oil
- 1 small onion sliced
- 2 garlic cloves crushed
- 1 tsp Italian herbs (fresh basil optional)
- 2 tbs cup tomato puree
- 1 can chopped tomatoes
- 1 carrot finely grated
- approx. 4 dried apricots - chopped
- 250ml vegetable stock
Heat oil, onion, garlic and spices for a few minutes, then add the puree and cook for another couple of minutes. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes.
There photos above are of the 'bean' version as served on the retreat, below are a couple of photos I had taken previously when I made the 'mushroom' version as balls and burgers at home. The result is darker (and more meaty looking?) I love both options. Just be aware that the mushroom version can become a little too wet if the mushroom mix has a lot of moisture once chopped up and isn't pressed/patted dry.
Let me know if you make them and how you serve them... I'd love to hear! Tag me @johodson on Instagram ;-)