These hearty “meat”balls are a great new classic twist to your favorite recipes. Whether you are looking for a healthier alternative or trying to sneak some veggies into your kids dish. They make a hearty addition to a bowl of spaghetti and are great topped with tomato sauce and a bit of grated parmesan cheese. As an alternative, try the meatballs in a pita with some shredded lettuce, drizzled with tzatziki or tahini sauce.
1 Pound lentils, rinsed (any type of lentil is fine)
3 Cups vegetable stock
1 Medium onion, peeled and diced
2 Cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons olive oil
20 Ounces sliced white mushrooms
1/2 Teaspoon kosher salt
1 Cup breadcrumbs
1/2 Cup tomato sauce
2 Teaspoons vegetarian friendly Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil or (1 tablespoon dried)
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or (1 ½ tablespoons dried)
3 Ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated
2 Eggs at room temperature, beaten
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
- Place the lentils and the stock in a medium pot, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, cover and allow to simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed.
- While the lentils are cooking, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a sauté pan. Over medium-high heat, sauté the onions and garlic in the oil until they begin to soften, about 4 -5 minutes. Add the sliced mushrooms and salt, and mix to combine. Cover and cook until the mushrooms have softened, about 5 minutes more. Drain off any excess liquid, and allow them to cool briefly.
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade, add the mushroom mixture and breadcrumbs. Pulse the mixture until it begins to clump. It will not be completely smooth, but you should not see any large pieces of mushroom. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Place half of the cooked lentils in the food processor, and pulse until mostly smooth. Transfer both the processed and the whole lentils to the bowl with the mushroom mixture. Add the tomato sauce, Worcestershire, basil, parsley, grated cheese, and the eggs, and mix gently to combine fully.
- Using a small ice cream scoop or damp hands, scoop the mixture and roll into balls that are approximately 2-inches in diameter. Place onto the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake about 20 minutes, until slightly firm to the touch.
- Broil for 5 minutes to brown the tops slightly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool briefly before serving. The meatballs will firm up as they cool.