How to Make Lentil ‘Meat’ Balls
When I made the Lentil “Meat” Balls, I served them with brown rice pasta with a simple marinara sauce. But we had so many left over, that the next time we ate them, we changed it up completely and served them with mashed potatoes and gravy. Equally scrumptious!
Lentil “Meat” Balls
2 cups dried lentils, rinsed and drained
4 cups water
Salt and pepper
Cooking spray or oil
½ red onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 zucchini, finely chopped
1 large carrot, grated
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 Tbs. fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup bread crumbs (or gf bread crumbs or corn flake crumbs)
2 tbs. ground flax seed
3 Tbs. gf Vegan Worcestershire sauce OR2 Tbs. soy sauce plus 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. each paprika, garlic powder, Italian seasoning
2 Tbs. chickpea flour plus 2 Tbs. water
Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the lentils and a pinch of salt and return to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and cook for about 20 minutes until the water is absorbed. Let cool and move the lentils to a large mixing bowl. Mash them with a fork, potato masher or your hands until they are completely mashed.
Heat a large skillet and add the oil or cooking spray. Sauté the onions for about 4 minutes until translucent. Add the zucchini, carrot, celery, garlic, salt and pepper. Sauté about 5 minutes until the veggies are tender.
Add the hot veggies to the lentils in the bowl. The heat will help soften the lentils. Add the parsley, bread crumbs, flaxseed, Worcestershire sauce (or soy sauce and vinegar), and spices. In a separate little bowl or cup, put 2 Tbs. of chickpea flour.
Add 2 Tbs. of water and mix into a loose paste. This will act as a binder. Add the flour and water mixture to the bowl.
Mix everything well. Hands work best. If the mixture seems too loose, add more bread crumbs. If it feels too dry and tight, add water or non-dairy milk.
Heat the large skillet again with a tablespoon of oil. While it’s heating, form the lentil mixture into little balls. Wet your hands, scoop up about 2 Tbs. worth of the mixture (more or less depending what size you like your balls) and roll between your open hands until it is shaped like a ball. Let them rest for awhile (you can even refrigerate them) so they will hold their shape better.
Raw Lentil “Meat” Balls
Put the balls into the skillet and fry on medium heat for about 8 minutes. Turn them carefully with tongs or a thin spatula so that they brown on all sides. Cook them long enough to be sure they get cooked all the way through (that’s a great excuse to steal one and taste it Remove from the pan and serve however you choose.
(1) instead of frying them in a pan, other ways to cook them include baking them in the oven or dropping the balls gently into a pot of tomato sauce and letting them gently cook. That’s the way I always used to make meatballs and they were always very soft and tender.
(2) if you want the balls zestier, you can change up the spices to include chili powder, Cajun seasoning or hot sauce. For an extra decadent treat, stuff the lentil mixture with some Vegan cheese while forming the balls. Then when you bite into one, you’ll get a mouthful of yummy, gooey cheese.