Do you love meatballs? Who doesn’t love a meaty mouthful of spicy tender meat? Believe it or not – You can get that same thrill with a meatball made with lentils! Yup, lentils. Here’s an easy recipe to conquer your meatball cravings. Plus, a bonus recipe for easy tomato sauce.
(And Nancy should know – the Atlanta Journal Constitution featured her meatballs in last year’s article Mastering the Meatball: https://www.ajc.com/things-to-do/food-and-recipes/recipes-mastering-the-well-rounded-meatball/47GD5M44FBCRHAABCQYDILGIOQ/)
These yummies are packed with flavor and one reason they are is the addition of oregano. It’s an amazingly good anti-bacterial agent because of phytonutrients which can help fight infections. Oregano is loaded with antioxidants, fiber, Vitamin K, Manganese, Iron, and Vitamin K. When oregano is combined with other high antioxidant rich veggies and fruits, it provides a good dose of health benefits for your whole body. Who doesn’t love that?
Delicious “No Meat” Meatballs
Americans love meatballs! This comfort food classic is made “better-for-you” by using lentils instead of ground beef or turkey, walnuts also add texture to the mix. Super meaty tasting and flavorful with the spices and veggies.
- 1 Cup Brown Lentils
- 2 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Cup Minced Red Onion
- ½ Cup Minced Celery
- ½ Cup Minced Carrots
- 2 Grated Garlic Cloves
- 1 TB Dried Oregano
- Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
- 2 TB Tomato Paste
- Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
- ½ Cup Chopped Toasted Walnuts
- 1 Large Egg
- ¼ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
- ¼ Cup Panko, (Whole Wheat if possible)
- Perfectly Easy Tomato Sauce, (recipe follows), OR your favorite pasta sauce
- Chopped Parsley for Garnish
Cook the lentils as the package describes, drain and set aside to cool
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oi and sauté the onions, celery and carrots for about 10 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic, spices and sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cook and stir for about 1 minute, add the tomato paste and cook for another minute.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Remove the pan from the heat and add in the walnuts and cooled lentils. Fold in the egg, cheese and panko. Place in the fridge for about 30 minutes until the mixture firms up.
Using your hands, (and gloves if you’d like), form the mixture into golf ball or smaller balls. Don’t pack the balls, just make sure they hold their shape. Place on a parchment lined sheet tray and bake for 30 minutes or until meatballs are browned on the outside.
Perfectly Easy Tomato Sauce
- 2 TB Olive Oil
- 2 Cups Chopped Red Onion
- 1 TB Italian Seasoning
- 1 Grated Garlic Clove
- 1 Cup Dry White Wine OR Veggie Broth
- 2 Cans (15 oz) Fire Roasted Tomatoes
- Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Preheat the oven to 350F. Heat the oil in a sauté pan and cook the onion with the Italian Seasoning over medium heat until soft about 5 minutes. Add the garlic clove and cook and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the wine and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, oregano and a healthy sprinkle of salt and pepper, cook over medium heat for 20 – 30 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.