I was standing at my kitchen sink washing dishes and trying to figure out how to trick my boyfriend into eating more vegetables when I started playing with words in my head. I realized that beet sounds a lot like meat so the next day I began experimenting with raw beets and cooked beets in an attempt to make something new. That is how beet balls were born.
If you use a blender to grate the beets make sure not to puree them too much or you are going to need to add extra bread crumbs to soak up the liquid.
Tip: Do not put the beet balls into the pasta sauce, they will dissolve. Lay them on top of the dish after it is plated.
Wash the dirt off the beets, then wrap each beet in aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Spread them out so there is space between them and put them into the preheated oven for an hour. Remove the beets from the oven and let them cool for 30 minutes - until they are cool enough to touch. This allows the beets to steam within their own skin so that the skin will peel off easily. Put on the plastic gloves and unwrap the foil from the beets. Peel the skin off. Discard the skin and the aluminum.
Grate the beets. You can do this with either a blender (make sure not to liquify the beets if you do it this way), in a food processor fitted with a grating blade, or with a standard cheese grater. If you use a cheese grater you might end up with beet spray all over the kitchen and it could end up looking like a crime scene. I prefer to contain the beet juices in my Vitamix. I cut the beets into quarters then pulse on a low setting until they are the desired consistency. You basically want the consistency of ground beef since that is essentially what you are replacing.
Place the beets into a large bowl and stir in the rosemary, garlic powder, dried minced onions and a little salt and pepper.
Sprinkle the panko or breadcrumbs all over the beet mixture and stir it in gently.
Add the egg and stir the mixture together, you should notice it starting to hold together.
Now depending on how pureed the beets are you will add 1-3 teaspoons of soy milk. Stir in just 1 teaspoon and using your gloved hands form the dough into balls if is it too dry to stick together then add a little more soy milk. If it is too wet add a little more breadcrumbs and try again. You want to form golf-ball sized beet balls. Set them aside onto a plate or in a bowl as you make them.
Heat a skillet over medium heat and spray with non-stick spray. Gently place the beet balls into the heated skillet and cook for 3 minutes on one side. Then start rolling them around to cook on all sides. Total cooking time 8-10 minutes.
Heat the pasta and the sauce. Plate them, then add the beet balls on top.