There may not be any actual meat in these vegetarian lentil “meat” balls, but they are so satisfying you won’t even know the difference. The night I made these The Hubs came home from work and asked what was for dinner. I told him “lentil balls” and he made a face. After having a few bites his tune quickly changed, and he exclaimed how excellent these tasted. I agree. This is one of the best vegetarian dishes I have ever made. They were so tasty for dinner, and possibly even better for lunch the next day. A few of my veggie friends who were over last weekend will attest to their deliciousness as well, i’m sure.
- 2 cups dried lentils
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- ½ cup red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 ear of fresh corn kernels, removed from the cob
- ½ cup broccoli, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1-6oz can tomato paste
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ⅔ cup bread crumbs
- Combine the lentils and 2 quarts water in a medium stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the lentils are soft (but not falling apart), about 25 minutes. Drain the lentils and allow to cool.
- Add ¼ cup of the olive oil to a large frying pan and sauté the onions, carrots, pepper, corn, broccoli, garlic, thyme, and salt over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and just beginning to brown.
- Add the tomato paste and continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. When cool, add the lentils to the vegetable mixture.
- Add the eggs, Parmesan, and bread crumbs to the cooled vegetable mixture and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated. Place in the refrigerator for 25 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Coat a 13X9 baking dish in cooking spray
- Roll the mixture into round, meatballs (about 2½ inches), making sure to pack the vegetable mixture firmly. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish in even rows.
- Roast for 30 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through.
- Allow the meatballs to cool for 5 minutes in the baking dish before serving.
- I served mine with sun-dried tomato pesto but any sauce will do
recipe adapted from The Meatball Shop Cookbook
This healthy vegetarian meal was a welcome addition to my life after all the vacation binge eating and drinking I’ve done over the last month. Next week I have a round-up of super nutritious vegetarian meals planned for my features section. Summer is the ideal time to get your veggies since everything is fresh. If you want to fill up on hearty meats during the winter, fine. But try to take advantage of bountiful fresh produce while you can!
If you have an awesome vegetarian dish you’d like me to try, leave a comment and let me know what it is!