I may not eat meat anymore, but that doesn’t mean I don’t miss certain things about eating it! My mother is Italian, so spaghetti and meatballs was a big part of my diet growing up.
This recipe for lentil “meat” balls solves my problem! They have the same flavor profile as my mom’s meatball recipe, and the same meaty-like texture, but without the meat!
And since I don’t eat gluten that much anymore (my stomach isn’t a fan), I tend to serve these “meat” balls over a bed of spaghetti squash pasta. It’s a win-win all around!
Here is what you will need for the “meat” balls:
2 cups cooked lentils (if using raw lentils, cook 1 1/4 uncooked lentils in 4 cups of water – let simmer with the lid tilted for 20-25 minutes or until tender)
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 handful (1/2 cup) fresh parsley, roughly chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1-2 tsp EVOO
1 medium onion, chopped small dice
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp flax seed meal
6 tbsp water
1. Place the flax seed meal in a bowl with 6 tablespoons of water. Stir it around and place it in the fridge to gel.
2. Heat up your EVOO over medium high heat. Saute your onions in the pan until translucent (about 10 minutes). Add the garlic and saute for another minute. Turn off the off and set aside.
3. Place cooked lentils into a food processor along with the cashews, sunflower seeds, parsley and spices. Pulse until half the mixture forms a paste, and half the mixture is still course (you’re trying to get the consistency to be like ground meat).
4. Pour the lentil mixture into the pan with the onions and garlic. Add the flax seed meal gel, and stir to combine.
5. It’s time to make your “meat” balls! Using an ice cream scoop (if you have one), scoop out some lentil “meat” and form a ball. Place it on a baking sheet lined with either a silicone mat or parchment paper. Repeat the process until you finish off the mixture.
6. Bake the “meat” balls at 400F for 15-20 minutes, or until browned on the bottom.
7. Serve over pasta or spaghetti squash with your favorite pasta sauce, or serve them any way you’d like!