Here is another wonderful “mommy” meal that I made this past week. It’s also a great “meatless Monday” meal. I saw this recipe a few weeks back on Sprouted Kitchen and I have been dying to make it for some time. I loved my chickpeas burgers so much that I wanted to try another meatless dish that is usually made with meat. When you hear the word meatball you think of meat, right? Well, these are lentil meatballs so there is no meat in them. Maybe lentil balls would be a more fitting name for these. It just sounds weird, so I think I will keep the name meatballs.
I loved these lentil meatballs and I wasn’t even missing the meat. They were flavorful and dense like meatballs and they really satisfied my craving for a meatless meatball. Combine them with the lemon pesto and you have yourself a wonderful & healthy vegetarian lunch or dinner. I promise you, you will not miss the meatballs here.
This dish was not to popular with my kids, but I wasn’t expecting it to be either. I was really just creating this recipe for myself. My kids liked the pesto, but did not care to much for the meatballs. I ate the meatballs and fed them some quinoa pasta with the pesto sauce. I believe in cooking one meal for the family so I accomplished my goal here.
- 2 cups cooked black lentils – 1 cup dry lentils equals 2 cup cooked
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup ricotta
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 cup freslhy grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed – I used my coffee grinder here
- 2 tablespoons, finely chopped fresh parsley
- Heafty pinch of dried or fresh thyme – I used fresh thyme here
- 1 teaspoon each sea salt and pepper
- 2/3 cup breadcrumbs (fresh or panko, preferably) – I used whole wheat panko breadcrumbs from Ians
Once your lentils have cooled down for a bit, measure out 2 cups and put them in a food processor.Pulverize the lentils into mush and then put them in a large mixing bowl. Add the beaten eggs, ricotta, parmesan, garlic, fennel seed, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper and stir to mix well.Stir in the breadcrumbs and let the mix sit for 20 minutes.While the lentil mix is resting, pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees and proceed to make up your lemon pesto (see recipe below).
Note: they don’t need lots of space between them as they won’t spread. If you want them to be crusty, then brush the meatballs with olive oil. I wanted them to be brown and crusty so I brushed the entire meatball with olive oil. Here is a photo of the meatballs after they have been brushed in olive oil. See how nice and shiny they are!
lemon pesto sauce:
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- zest and juice of 2 meyer lemons
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt
- 2 cups packed basil leaves
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
- 2-4 tablespoons water to thin sauce