Lentils Meatballs [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Yields: 20 Meatballs
Serves: 5 (*One serving =4 ‘Meatballs’)
Prep & Cooking Time: ≤60 mins (*Dependent upon skill and/or kitchen helpers!)
Type: Main meal or Snack
Tools: Sieve, non-stick pot, non-stick frying pan, food processor, silicone spatula, small bowl, chopping board, sharp knife, baking tray, silicone mat, mixing bowl.

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C & E, protein, carbohydrates, fibre, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and per serving is low in added salt, sugar and saturated fats!

 

Hi everyone! Here are some easy and delicious lentil meatballs that we made last November! 

So, the question is whether to use legumes or pulses?! Both make great plant-based meatballs, burgers, sandwich fillingsfalafels, koftes, meatloaf (more meatloaf!) and sausages (just to name a few!); all of which are tasty, hearty and healthful in their own right. However, we are still undecided as to what we prefer!

Which do you prefer lentils or beans? 

Overall, these little lovelies are great! The lentils, nuts and seasoning’s all provide a great meaty and savoury delight. Enjoy ‘a couple’ as a lovely savoury snack (perhaps with houmous or another tasty dip of choice?!) or as part of a healthful meal; with pasta, as a meze or in a wrap! We enjoyed ours with a homemade spicy tomato sauce and an impromptu (almost!) patatas bravas- we highly recommend it! 

 

A few good things to note include:

  • Process or finely chop the ingredients as small as possible. Any whole lentils, or large pieces of veggies will prevent the ‘meatballs’ from forming- you’ll have to them pull out and discard the culprit ingredient(s)! We had to discard a few lentils, pieces of herbs and onion!
  • The lentils make for a great ‘blank canvas’! Just adjust or adapt the seasonings to taste.
  • You can opt out of cooking dry lentils and just use a tin variety instead however, as you have a few other pieces of prep to do before the actual assembly, you might as well just cook some lentils in the background. The choice is yours!
  • Do not be tempted to ‘over bake’ them. Plant-based ‘meatballs’ will be never as firm as standard ones and a dry ‘meatball’ if just not worth thinking about!

Happy cooking everyone! 🙂

 

Ingredients

+++++++++++160g     Dried Brown Lentils (approx. 1 tin cooked lentils)
+++++++++++50g       Walnut pieces
+++++++++++2-3g     Cumin seeds
+++++++++++40g       Slice of Bread (1 slice) or breadcrumbs
+++++++++++140g      Red Onion
+++++++++++100g     Red bell Pepper
+++++++++++180g      Carrot
+++++++++++5g          Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley
+++++++++++5g          Fresh Lemon Thyme
+++++++++++2            Flax Eggs
+++++++++++1 tbsp    Extra Virgin Olive Oil
+++++++++++¾ tsp     Salt
+++++++++++              Ground Black pepper
+++++++++++ 2-3g     Garlic Salt
+++++++++++½ tsp     Asafoetida
+++++++++++2g          Mild paprika
+++++++++++20g        Plain GF Flour
+++++++++++12g         Sesame Seeds

Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

 

Directions

Wash the lentils in a sieve, remove any seeds and stones and then cook them according to the packet instructions.

 

In the meantime, heat a small, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. When hot, add the walnuts and cumin seeds. Dry-fry until lightly toasted/browned. Remove from the heat and transfer into a small bowl. Allow to cool slightly. Transfer into a food processor. Process until a fine mixture is achieved. Transfer back into the bowl.

 

 

If applicable, place the bread into a toaster or until a grill and toast. Remove and break it up into the food processor. Process the bread until breadcrumbs are achieved. Tip: if you do not have a food processor, toast the bread as hard as possible (without burning it) and then place it into a resealable kitchen baggie. Using a rolling pin, gently crush the bread to create your breadcrumbs! Transfer the breadcrumbs into the same bowl as the walnut mixture.

 

 

Wash, remove the stem and core and then roughly chop the bell pepper. Peel and quarter the onion. Place the bell pepper and onion into the food processor. Process until minced. Tip: You could also finely chop your veggies on a standard chopping board or grate your veggies using a cheese grater!  Transfer the mixture into a mixing bowl.

Larger pieces will have to be chopped or discarded!

 

 

Peel, trim the ends and finely grate the carrot. Wash the parsley and thyme, remove the leaves from the stems and finely chop them. Place the carrot, parsley and thyme into the mixing bowl.

 

 

Drain the lentils. Allow them to cool slightly. Meanwhile, create the ‘flax eggs’. Place 16g of ground flax seed and 6 tbsp of cold water into a small dish. Mix until combined. Leave for 5 mins to set.

 

 

Transfer the lentils into the food processor. Add 1 tbsp of oil. Season with a little salt and black pepper to taste. Pulse until the lentils are mostly broken down and a coarse mixture is achieved. Tip: Alternatively place the lentils into a separate mixing bowl with the oil and mash using a potato masher or large fork!

 

 

Transfer the lentils into the mixing bowl. Add the breadcrumbs and walnut mixture, ¾ tsp salt, a few grinds of black pepper, 2-3g garlic salt, ½ tsp asafoetida and 2g paprika. Mix with a spatula until thoroughly combined (forming one giant ‘meatball’!).

 

 

Heat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF. Line a baking tray with a silicone mat or some parchment paper. Lightly spray it with a little low-fat cooking oil. Set aside a small dish with 20g GF flour and another one with 12g sesame seeds.

 

 

Gather some of the mixture between your hands. Tip: use a little flour to coat your hands if the mixture is a little tacky. Roll the mixture into a ‘golf ball sized’ ball. Dip and coat the ‘meatball’ into the sesame seeds. Place it onto the baking tray. Repeat until all the mixture has been used. NB: we created twenty! Place the tray onto the middle oven shelf and bake for 11 mins. Remove and carefully turn the ‘meatballs’ over. Place back into the oven and bake for a further 8 mins or until lightly browned and slightly firm.

 

 

 

Try serving them with some roasted veggies!

Baby new potatoes, celeriac and fresh thyme!

 

Remove from the oven. Allow them to rest on the tray for 5 mins before serving. Serve as desired. As mentioned, we went for a spicy tomato sauce and an (almost!) patatas bravas! Delicious! 😀

 

Leftover ‘bowls’ are great too!

 

Enjoy!

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in an air-tight and resealable container; reheat and consume within 3-4 days. As a guesstimate store, freeze, defrost and heat within one month; we didn’t freeze any of ours, these lovelies were ‘meal prepped’ and consumed within 3 days! If anyone freezes them, you’ll have to let us know how you get on. 🙂

Recipe updated: 19/02/16

Red Kidney Bean & Quinoa ‘Meatballs’ [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Healthy Recipes

Serves: 6-8
Prep, Cooking & Assembly: 75 Mins
Type: Main meal
Tools: Sieve, non-stick pots and lids, roasting tin, silicone mat, food processor, colander, silicone spatula, casserole dish, baking tray, parchment paper, ladle, blender

Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc and (per serving) is low in added salt, sugar and saturated fats! 

So we made this recipe a week ago. Al came home and asked if I had been ‘cooking meat’?! I burst out laughing and said, “Of course not!”…quickly followed by, “mission accomplished babe”!

This is a recipe that we have adapted from the days when we used to make turkey mince meatballs …so I guess I am not totally surprised that I received the reaction that I did; it’s funny how our minds perceive things…storing sounds and smells as triggers for certain memories, or in this case food! 

We’re very happy about how this recipe turned out. The meatballs are not dry and horrible ‘meat’ substitutes; they are lovely little ‘veggie balls’ that are packed full of protein, fibre, and plenty of vitamins and minerals! Obviously it’s another great recipe that can be adapted to your own personal taste and shared with your family and friends. 

I took the executive decision to use two tins of kidney beans instead of one… but other than that, the recipe went to plan and we are happy to be sharing it with you. We have also provided a recipe for a homemade marinara sauce, but feel free to use your favourite tomato-based sauce instead; if you plan on using a store bought variety, be mindful of the fat, sugar and salt contents! 🙂 

Quick Foodie Fact:

  • One serving of meatballs (based on 6 servings)* provides you with approx. 1 serving (of fruits/vegetables), towards your 5-A-Day; so make sure you have a veggie packed sauce (like ours) to help increase your servings!

 

‘Meatball’ ingredients; we used our homemade GF bread.

 

Ingredients

 Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂

 

Nutritional Info (‘Meatballs’ Only)

 

Directions

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F. Line a roasting tin with a silicone mat or some aluminium foil.

 

In the meantime, cook the quinoa. Place the quinoa into a sieve; rinse under cold running water for 30 seconds to help remove some of its bitterness. Cook according to the packet instructions. Remove from the heat.

NB: Cooked quinoa! Ours took 15 mins.

 

 

  • Meanwhile, start preparing the marinara sauce (unless you are using another sauce; just start preparing the ‘meatballs’ instead!). Wash the tomatoes, remove the stems and then chop them into halves. Peel and quarter the onion.
  • Place the tomatoes (cut-side up), onion and the garlic into a roasting tin. Drizzle over 15ml olive oil and 10ml of the balsamic glaze. Tip: If you do not have any glaze, use balsamic vinegar instead. Sprinkle over 1g dried basil (if desired). Season it with some salt and ground black pepper to taste.
  • Place the tray into the middle oven shelf. Roast the vegetables for about 25-30 mins. Remove and allow to cool. Do not turn off the oven.

 

 

In the meantime, line a baking tray with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Lightly spray it with some low-fat cooking oil.

 

 

Prepare the ‘meatballs’. Get out a large casserole dish. Wash, trim the ends and finely grate the courgette. Wash, trim the ends, peel and finely grate the carrot. Place the courgette and carrot into a casserole dish (or large mixing bowl).

  • Peel and chop the onion into halves; place it into a food processor. Pulse until minced. Remove and transfer into the dish.
  • Lightly toast the bread. Place it into the food processor. Pulse and process until bread crumbs are achieved. Place them into the casserole dish.
  • Open, drain and rinse the beans. Transfer them into the food processor and pulse until almost smooth. Transfer it into the dish.
  • Wash, dry and finely chop the basil; add it into the casserole dish. Fluff the grains of quinoa with a fork and add it into the dish.

 

Here’s what our casserole dish looked like…

Add 20g tahini into the casserole dish and sprinkle over 2g Italian seasoning and 2g sweet paprika. Season it with some salt and black pepper to taste. Using your hands, mix together the ingredients; until it’s fully combined-like a giant ‘meatball’! Divide the mixture into 8 pieces. Tip: We shaped three ‘meatballs’ out of each segment (so twenty-four in total). 

Dust your hands with a little bit of flour (if necessary) to shape them. Place the ‘meatballs’ onto the tray. Repeat this step until all of the mixture has been used. Lightly spray them with some low-fat cooking oil (if desired). Place them onto the middle oven shelf. Bake for approximately 15 mins. Remove.

 

 

In the meantime, cook the pasta according the packet instructions. Drain.

We recommend (and have used some) wholemeal pasta; if being GF is not of concern.

 

 

Meanwhile, finish preparing the marinara. Wash some basil. Remove the skins from the roasted garlic and discard them.

Garlic skins and a few bits of onion that were too crispy!

 

  • Place the roasting juices (if desired), tomatoes, onion, garlic, the remaining 10ml of balsamic glaze, basil, 20g tomato purée, 100ml water and 30ml lemon juice into a blender. Process until fairly smooth. Taste and season it with some salt and black pepper.
  • Transfer it into a small, non-stick saucepan over a medium-low heat and gently warm. Cover with a lid; keep it over a minimum heat until it’s served.

 

 

Once you have removed the meatballs after the initial 15 mins, increase the oven temperature to 200°C/400°F. Carefully turn the ‘meatballs’ over. Lightly spray them with some more low-fat cooking oil (if desired). Place them back onto the middle oven shelf and bake for a further 8 mins or until lightly browned. Remove. Allow to cool on the tray for 5 mins (if possible).

 

Serve warm. Transfer the pasta into a large serving bowl or lipped plate. Pour over the marinara (or sauce of choice!) and top with the ‘meatballs’. Garnish with some fresh basil or oregano (if desired) and enjoy!

See, it’s not dry and crumbly, just packed full of ‘goodness’!

 

Refrigerate any leftovers in a resealable and air-tight container; reheat and consume within 3-5 days. Alternatively, freeze in a resealable container(s); defrost, reheat and consume within 2 months.Tip: We covered ours with parchment paper and cling film before sealing it with its lid.

Recipe updated: 23/02/16