As a non-meat eater, one of the few things that I miss is the classic spaghetti-and-meatballs dinner. It’s a classic, and a super comforting winter cheat meal.
After a fair bit of gluey and unfortunate experimentation, I came up with the perfect recipe for vegetarian “meat”balls. You’ll feel like you’re eating them straight out of an Italian grandma’s kitchen, except they’re super low fat, high protein, high fiber goodness. Don’t be afraid to try these even if you’re a carnivore—they’re so much better for you than the traditional veal/pork/beef/breadcrumb, parmeasan, and butter staple.
You’re gonna need:
1 cup of red lentils, dry
½ medium white onion
2-3 cloves of garlic (or at least a very generous shake of garlic salt)
2 tbs olive oil
Herbs de Provance
Salt and Pepper
1 c whole wheat flour (you can substitute oat flour if you’re on a gluten-free kick)
½ c quinoa flakes or raw oats
¼ c flax seeds
First off, you’re going to want to cook your lentils. Throw ‘em in a pot with a pinch of salt and about 2-3 cups of water, and bring them to a boil. You’ll want the boil to continue for about 40 minutes. It shouldn’t need it, but don’t be afraid to add extra water.
Now, you’re going to want to mash them up a wee bit. Luckily, I have the glorious gift from god known as the hand blender.
If you don’t, no biggie. You can mash them up pretty easily with a fork. I don’t go for the full monty, preferring to keep some of the lentils intact. It should end up looking something like this.
Now, grab a frying pan, pour your oil in, and sautee your garlic and onions. This should take about 3-5 minutes—cook them until it is really (wonderfully) fragrant. Pour this into your lentils.
Here is the fun part! Shake in as much spice as you like, at least a teaspoon of all that I’ve listed. Don’t be afraid of adding some salt, either. Give it a generous squirt of hot mustard, and stir it all up. Give it a test taste, just to make sure the seasoning is to your liking.
Add your flour, flakes/oats, flax, and egg. Mix all of it together. Let it sit for about half an hour.
Coat a frying pan with pam, turn your element to medium heat, grab a big spoon, and plop on some “meat” balls. Keep in mind, the shape doesn’t have to be perfect, so don’t stress. For a medium-sized one, it should take about 5 minutes on each side to cook.
I ate them with diced tomatoes, spinach, and a wee bit of brown rice, but they’re also awesome on a pasta cheat meal. Another great way to eat them and stay clean is to use one of my ‘trick pasta’ techniques—click here!