Tuesday, April 9, 2013

2-on-Tuesday: Lentil "Meat"balls

Who'd have thought when the recipe arrived in my inbox from Shelly at Vegetarian Ventures that I'd be serving it to my family as a meatball sub and my son would like it! I liked it, too! Ummm...my hubby? Not so much. He'd prefer meat.

The recipe takes some planning because some ingredients must cool before the next step. I cooked my lentils a couple of days before and kept them chilled in the fridge until ready to proceed. The "meat"balls formed easily and baked perfectly on parchment. To serve, I stuffed several into a whole wheat hotdog bun, ladeled in some warm spaghetti sauce, sprinkled on a generous portion of shredded mozzarella (which added animal protein) and placed under the broiler until the cheese was melted. Not bad at all! And, any leftover "meat"balls were tossed into a baggie. I was gonna freeze them, but my son and I kept sneaking another one and another one and...

Lentil "Meat"balls

2 cups Lentils, cooked and cooled
1 tablespoon Olive Oil (I started off dry sauteing and decided to go with a little oil)
1 Onion, diced small
3 Carrots, diced small
2 Celery Ribs, diced small
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 tablespoons Fresh Thyme
1 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
3 tablespoons Tomato Paste
8+ oz Mushrooms, chopped
3 Eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, finely shredded
3/4 cup Breadcrumbs
Salt (I minced my garlic with salt and didn't add extra)

  • Prepare lentils with water until tender, but not mushy where they begin to turn into mush. Drain and let cool.
  • In large skillet heat oil and add onions, carrots and celery until tender and just beginning to brown. Add, minced garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes. Let cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Stir in tomato paste, cooking for a couple of minutes longer, careful of scorching.
  • Add mushrooms, cooking until the mixture is dry-ish.
  • At this point, either add veggies to cooled lentils or cool veggies until ready to proceed.
  • Combine lentils, veggies, eggs, parm and breadcrumbs...and let cool, again.
  • Preheat oven 400 degrees while forming 1.5-2 inch "meat"balls.
  • Place "meat"balls on a cookie sheet lined with Reynolds Genuine Parchment and bake for 30 minutes or until tops start to brown. Clean up is a snap!
These were perfect for a "meat"ball sub, but easily could be served as spaghetti & "meat"balls. OR, for those who like "meat"loaf, the infamous "meat"loaf sandwich is well within your grasp.

Either way... Lentils are a good protein, fiber and mineral rich FIT FOOD with no animal protein...unless you add the cheese!

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