From Spaghetti and Meatballs, to Vegetarian Lasagna and Risotto, these meatless lentil meatballs are so easy and delicious, they’ll be stars amongst your dinner rotation ideas.
Everyone’s Looking for New Ideas for Dinner
How about a new twist on an old classic. Spaghetti and Meatballs is known to be a crowd pleaser, but more and more people are becoming acquainted with a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. Or how about that guest who is on a keto-diet?
Have no fear, lentils are here. Lentils are a delicious and easy substitute for meat and cheap too. In additon to being a great source of protein, lentils are also rich in iron, folate and relatively low in calories.
Meatballs without the Meat
Although canned lentils are fine for ready to eat food, I recommend using dried lentils for this recipe. Dried lentils are better for cooked foods like soups and stews, whether cooked in a traditional pot or in a crock pot.
Dried lentils are easy to use. Just rinse them well and cook lentils like rice, one cup of lentils to two cups of water. Each cup of dried lentils yields approximately two and a half cups of cooked lentils. Another benefit of using dried lentils is that you control the salt/sodium content in your food.
Alongside rice, lentils should be a staple in everyone’s pantry, whether you are new to cooking or very experienced in the kitchen. Lentils come in many varieties and can be seasoned in a myriad of ways, making them an ideal addition to your cooking, from a simple meal to an extravagant one.
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Real Life Meatball Story:
This story has become one of my children’s favorites.
Before we got married, my Italian husband and I were speaking on the phone. Hearing the pots clanking and the water rushing from the faucet, he asked what I was up to in the kitchen.
In his Italian accent, he started the conversation with:
Him: Are you cooking?
Me: Sure am.
Him: And, what are you going to cook for dinner tonight?
Me: I’m making Spaghetti and Meatballs.
Me: Spaghetti and Meatballs
Him: What’s that?
Me (concerned): What do you mean?
Him (questioningly): You’re having pasta and then you are having meatballs as the main dish?
Me: No, just the classic Spaghetti and Meatballs.
Him: Um…..classic? How does that work?
Me (puzzled): What……..?
Him: Like, are you going to eat it all at once, everything together?
Me: Um, yesss..…
Him: What do you do, put a meatball on top of the pasta?
Me: No, they are small. Some on top, but most mixed into the spaghetti.
Him: Interesting…..we don’t usually eat the meatballs mixed into the spaghetti.
And so, there you have it! American girl meets Italian boy and now he loves my Spaghetti and Meatballs! Especially when it’s with these meatless lentil meatballs.
Meatless Lentil Meatballs
- 1/2 cup lentils
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup sliced onion
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 egg
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Rinse lentils well.
- Add lentils and water to pot.
- Bring water to a boil, then simmer for 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, saute onion until carmelized.
- Add shredded carrots and continue to saute’ for 5 minutes.
- Combine cooked lentils with onion and carrots and add remaining ingredients, except the egg.
- Preheat oven to 425 F / 220 C
- Pulse with immersion blender (or food processor).
- Add egg and pulse a bit more.
- Form meatless meatballs and bake on a baking sheet.
- Brush with extra virgin olive oil.
- Bake 25-30 minutes. (depending on your oven, you may find it useful to rotate the vegetarian meatballs halfway through cook time).
- These meatless meatballs are great with spaghetti, as a meatball sandwich or as a Vegetarian / Vegan pate’, similar to refried beans.
You May Also Like…..
If you like these Meatless Lentil Meatballs and Italian cooking in general, then you’ll love my Bisse Italian Biscotti recipe.
What other ways do you incorporate vegetables into your meals? Waiting to read your responses in the comments below!
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