quick + easy lentil meatballs
Mashing some of the lentils as well as the ground walnuts and the egg help bind the meatballs together. However, they will still be fragile so be sure to handle them with care.
3/4 cup dried green lentils, rinsed and picked through
3 cups low-sodium mushroom (or vegetable) stock
1 1/2 cup walnuts
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 medium onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 ounces baby bella (or cremini) mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Crushed red pepper flakes, to taste
1 large egg, beaten
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup nutritional yeast, plus extra for serving
1 32-ounce jar spaghetti sauce
Fresh chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley, for garnish, optional
Place lentils and stock in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover slightly, and simmer for 30-35 minutes until lentils are tender. Remove from heat (draining off any liquid if necessary) and set aside to cool. Once cooled, gently mash about 1/2 of lentils.
In a food processor, add walnuts and pulse until finely ground. Transfer walnuts to a large bowl and set aside.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly coat a large baking sheet with oil and season with salt and pepper.
In a large sauté pan, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and place over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add mushrooms and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for another minute. Set aside to cool.
Once everything has cooled, add lentils to bowl of walnuts along with onion/mushroom mixture. Add egg, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and nutritional yeast and stir to combine.
Using an ice cream scoop or by hand, gently shape mixture into balls, about size of a golf ball (meatballs will be wet and fragile so handle them carefully). Place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 25 minutes, turning once or twice, until lightly golden brown.
Meanwhile, place spaghetti sauce in a saucepan and heat until warmed through. Place meatballs on a serving plate and top with tomato sauce, nutritional yeast, and someparsley (if using). Serve warm.
Makes approximately 12-16, depending on size.