Lentil “Meat” Balls.

Though my husband and I have been together a long time, I have been a vegetarian for even longer. Over the years, we have managed to come up with a handful of meals we can share from start to finish. This is one of them! Lentils are packed with low-fat nutrition, and their meaty taste and texture make them a perfect meat substitute in a dish like this. We’ve made them into patties and fried them in oil on the stove and we’ve baked them; both ways taste great! I recommend making a whole batch and freezing part of it for later because this makes a TON!


2 c dry lentils, rinsed

2 carrots, shredded

1 zucchini, shredded

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 1/2 c ground oats

2 eggs

1 can tomato paste

1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning

2 tsp salt

Olive oil


In a large pot with a lid, combine lentils with 6-8 c hot water. Keeping the lid on the pot tilted (to allow steam to escape), bring lentils to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and continue to cook at a high simmer until lentils are tender, about 20-25 minutes. Meanwhile, saute carrot, zucchini, and garlic in 2 tbsp olive oil until softened, about 8 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasonings. Drain lentils and return to pot. Using a potato masher, mash lentils. In a large bowl, combine sauteed vegetables and lentils with tomato paste, ground oats, eggs, and 1 tbsp olive oil. Mix until well-combined (you may want to use your hands). Using well-oiled hands or a very small cookie scoop, form into 1″ balls and place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Serve simmered in marinara over a plate of pasta, or serve as an appetizer with pesto. Makes 4 dozen.


EDIT 6/4/2013: We really liked these and ate them as listed above, but something was missing. One day, when we were looking to reheat a batch of them, I decided to fry them up in some olive oil. Oh. My. GOD. That took them to a whole new level! So, now I bake them and then fry them up in batches when we’re ready to eat them. I simply coat the bottom of a small skillet with olive oil, place as many lentil meatballs as will fit, and turn them until they’re browned and crunchy on both sides. Since they’re round, they don’t brown uniformly, but that’s okay! They’re still good. Additionally, I will make them for dinner one night (the 3 of us will eat about 20 small meatballs at one meal) and freeze the rest. You can fry them up frozen anytime. Happy (meatless) cooking!


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