These lentil balls have a ton of flavor and a meaty texture. When transitioning to plant-based eating after a long history of eating animal products, it can be helpful to have familiar foods – lentil “meat”balls are just that!
They are versatile and can be served:
– over whole grain or vegetable noodles with sauce
– on top of a salad
– in a lettuce wrap
– on top of a stir fry
– as a finger-food with toothpicks
– dipped into a healthy BBQ sauce
Don’t let the ingredient list scare you off. You simply end up throwing everything into a pot, mashing it up and forming it into balls.
These are great to freeze and keep on-hand for a quick meal. Prepare and cook via the recipe, let cool and then store in an air-tight freezer bag for up to 6 months. They can easily be re-heated in the microwave or oven.
Lentils are high in protein, without the artery-clogging, inflammation-promoting fat and cholesterol in meat. This protein, combined with lentil’s heafty dose of fiber, is very satisfying. The nuts, flaxseed and nutritional yeast also contribute a bout of nutrients.
If you’re interested in the traditional spaghetti and meatball flavor, be careful when picking out your sauce. Many pasta sauces are packed with salt and sugar (some have 1/4 cup of sugar in just 1 cup of sauce!). Some even have eggs. Here are some better plant-based options:
– Delallo Marinara sauce
– Muir Glen pasta sauces
– Pomi Marinara Sauce
– Trader Joe’s fat-free pasta sauces
– Tree of Life fat-free pasta sauce
– Enrico’s fat-free pasta sauce
– Walnut Acres Low Sodium Tomato & Basil
– Beatrice Healthy Choice Garlic & Herb, Traditional or Super Chunky Vegetable Primavera
- 1/2 red onion, finely diced
- 2 T water
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1/2 cup dried green lentils, rinsed
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup raw nuts, finely chopped almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans
- 2 T ground flaxseed
- 2 T nutritional yeast
- 1 T Bragg's liquid aminos, tamari or soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place a medium sized pot over medium-high heat. Add diced onion and 2 T water. Saute for 2 minute.
- Stir in garlic, parsley, thyme, paprika, lentils and 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, or until lentils are soft and moisture has been soaked up. Remove from heat.
- Stir in nuts, flax, nutritional yeast, Bragg's and pepper.
- Blend using an immersion blender or by transferring to a blender and pulsing. The mixture should begin to clump together but some lentil and onion pieces will remain. Do not puree into a creamy consistency.
- Use clean heads to form 15 balls, each approximately 2 T. Place on baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, until crispy to touch.