Freekeh Vegetarian Meatballs

Makes 26 small meatballs

1 cup uncooked cracked freekeh (yields approximately 3 cups cooked)
2 1/2 cups water
1 small potato, grated
1 medium onion, grated
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
3/4 cup plain or Italian bread crumbs
3/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
3 eggs, whisked
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
2 tbsp olive oil for brushing

In a large sauce pan add the water and freekeh. Bring to a boil, stir and immediately turn down to low simmer. Stir and cover with a lid. Cook for 20 minutes. Take off the heat and let cool. Drain any excess water through a sieve.

This step can be made a day or two ahead. Keep cooked freekeh refrigerated in an airtight container.

Once the freekeh is cooled down add all the ingredients, except the olive oil, mix well and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and brush each one with one tablespoon of olive oil.

Scoop 1 heaping tablespoon of mixture and gently form a meatball in between the palms of your hands. Do not apply pressure. Line each cookie sheet with 13 meatballs each.

You can put one cookie sheet in the middle rack of the oven and one at the bottom rack and cook for 20 minutes or until deeply golden. The meatballs at the bottom will cook faster. Flip with a heat resistant spatula and continue baking for 5-10 minutes longer or until golden on the flipped side. Take bottom tray out and check the one in the middle. Move it to the bottom rack, if needed, and cook a few minutes longer until meatballs are golden.

Serve over pasta or as an appetizer with marinara sauce.