Lentil “Meatballs”

I am really enjoying learning how to cook more with lentils and beans, but always have that line from RENT in the back of my mind, “…two tofu dog platter and one pasta with meatless balls. Ew. They taste the same.  If you close your eyes. And thirteen orders of fries.  Is that it here?”  Nonetheless, we eat “meatless meatball” sandwiches once a week, so when I saw a recipe for Lentil “Meatballs” I figured we had to make it.  Like any new recipe, I was a little apprehensive at first, hoping my adventurous spirit didn’t spoil Monday’s dinner; however, after I mushed the lentils in the food processor, and started to put in all the ingredients, I was completely surprised how much the mixture looked like meat!  (It smelled great too)  We ate our salad, while they baked, and discussed how we would serve them – deciding to put Tomato & Basil sauce underneath, garnish with some parsley, and red pepper flakes.  They were great!  Scott really liked them, especially with the kick from the red pepper flakes.  I think this is a great base recipe, and I’m excited to test out with different seasonings.  We also came up with a few alternatives that might make them a little more moist and dairy-free (although you don’t even taste it).  Lastly, another thing I liked about this recipe is that it was easy for Scott to help with – and I like to have recipes on hand we can prepare together.

Some notes

  • I used lowfat Ricotta, because we already had some in the house.  I imagine full fat Ricotta will add more moisture.  We’re also pretty sure some sauteed onions would add more moisture and be able to replace the ricotta.  Another possibility is to bake them in a rectangular baking dish with a jar of tomato sauce.
  • I mushed the lentils with a food processor, but I think a potato masher would also work.
  • For the mixture, I used 1/2 tsp. salt, instead of 1 tsp. and I used 3 cloves of garlic instead of 1, but probably could have used more.
  • While we followed the recipe and used 2 lightly beaten eggs, I’m curious if using egg whites or 1 egg + 1 egg white would make them a little lighter.
  • I lined the baking sheet with a Silpat and scooped each meatball with an ice cream scoop.  Then we rolled them before we put them in the oven.  (I got 19 from the mix.)
  • We didn’t brush the meatballs with olive oil or make the Lemon Pesto Sauce, but I can see how the citrus would balance out the meatballs and the oil would add more flavor.

Lentil “Meatballs”

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