Spaghetti and meatballs, a classic for a reason. I’ve never been a huge fan of meatballs (I’ve never been a huge red meat eater), but I’m not one to turn down a bowl of pasta. This summer I decided to upgrade the classic, making a plant based healthier alternative, with lentil ‘meatballs.’ These lentil meatballs are packed with protein, fiber, micronutrients, and flavor. I was surprised by how tasty they turned out! While no, I wouldn’t say they taste like real meatballs, they are just (I would say more) delicious, and I bet you won’t be missing the meat!
Lentils? For meatballs?
If you haven’t tried lentils, you are missing out! They are a legume filled with protein, fiber, and complex carbohydrates. There are different types of lentils, but I would suggest red or green in this recipe. They can be a staple to a plant based diet, but should have a place in any diet! They can be a little bland by themselves but can soak up flavor and be used in a wide variety of recipes! Some other recipe ideas for lentils include my lentil and cauliflower curry, lentil soups, lentil bolognese, lentil veggie burgers, or even lentil tacos!
In this recipe, after they are cooked, the lentils are blended all up to create the bulk of the meatballs. Paired with zucchini, almond flour, nutritional yeast, olive oil, and spices, these bad boys are a serious upgrade over other freezer bought meatballs.
How to eat Lentil Meatballs
As stated above, my original intention was to create a twist on spaghetti and meatballs, and thus I ate them as such, with a big bowl of spaghetti and marinara sauce. That’s not the only way to eat these delicious patties though! You can pair them with spaghetti squash, zoodles, quinoa, rice, heck even sweet potatoes. They taste great with a red sauce, but also pesto or hummus! If you are feeling more Mediterranean vibes, you could pair these with some taziki and some rice or quinoa in a grain bowl. I have found they make a great meal prep addition. If you whip of a batch of these on Sunday, you can eat them throughout the week with a carbohydrate of choice, some veggies, and some sauce for a filling and satisfying lunch.
I can’t vouch that these lentil meatballs will take the
place of your grandma’s spaghetti and meatballs. But I CAN vouch that they are delicious
and nutritious, and you will not regret making them! Whether you are trying to
add more plant-based protein to your diet, looking to expand your creativity in
the kitchen, or want something new to switch up your weekly meal prep, these lentil
meatballs are for you! I hope you give these a try! If you do, snap a pic and
tag us @wholesomeandhealthylife on Instagram or comment below!
You won't be missing the meat in these tasty plant-based meatballs! Perfect on top of noodles, zoodles, spaghetti squash, or as the topping for the perfect grain bowl!
Cook the lentils according to package, until just before done (should be soft but not mushy).
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
On the stove top, saute the onion and garlic with a splash of olive oil until onions are translucent and fragrant
In a food processor, combine the cooked lentils, zucchini, onion/garlic mixture, and parsley. Pulse until the lentils have broken down and have a smooth consistency throughout
Pour the wet mixture into a large bowl. Add in the rest of the ingredient and mix until thoroughly combined. Feel free to taste the mixture and add more seasoning to your liking
Form golf ball sized balls/patties with your hands
Choose your cooking method: Bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes on a greased sheet pan, flipping half way and broiling for the last couple minutes to get crispy. OR pan fry in a little oil in a large pan over medium heat, being careful to get all sides exposed to the surface and not burned. Cook 10 minutes and then transfer to baking sheet and finish cooking in the oven (approx. 10 minutes)
Serve with your favorite pasta, zoodles, spaghetti squash, or by itself with your favorite marinara sauce!