Guess who has lots of lentils hanging out in the pantry, begging to be used? ::raises hand::
It was time to use them and get my fiber and protein back on track, so I decided to go for a delicious, not-so-much chopping, easy vegan lentil meatball recipe to serve over a huge pile of whole wheat pasta. Because…why not?
These meatballs were incredible filling and nicely textured. Sometimes I’ll throw in walnuts into something like this, but your girl is trying to watch her wallet. So, no walnuts in this easy vegan lentil meatballs recipes. But don’t be fooled, this recipe is just as delicious without them.
By the way, this recipe is gluten-free, vegan, meatless (of course), and nut-free. So hopefully that opens it up to many of you out there. It’s pretty easy to whip up, but there are some useful steps. All of them, of course, have a purpose. For example, cooking the lentils meatless balls golden before adding the sauce will yield a firmer ball and will bring out more flavor.
If you’re not interested in having this recipe with your traditional pile of pasta, you can totally go for white rice, Puerto Rican yellow rice, or throw them into a sandwich. No rules here on how you wanna use ’em.
Let’s get dinner started – easy vegan lentil meatballs it is!
- Feel free to add less or more of any of the seasonings (fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, salt). Adjust to your liking and taste. I personally love fennel seeds, so I am a bit heavy handed on the stuff.
- When you get to the part where you combine all of the ingredients, you want to make sure that the vegan lentil meatless balls are dry and cool enough to handle. If the mixture is too wet, add more oat bran.
- The consistency of the mixture should be crumbly and have an easy hold when rolled into a ball.
- This recipe makes about 25 meatless balls.
- If you do not have oat bran, you can use oat flour.
- Use whatever mushrooms you like. I used brown cremini mushrooms.
- Make sure your worcestershire is indeed vegan. Some might have anchovies.
- If you have a cast iron pan to fry up your meatless balls, even better. They’ll distribute the heat evenly.
- 1 cup green lentils
- 2.5 cups water
- 1 cup oat bran
- 8 ounces mushrooms
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups pasta sauce
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
- Rinse lentils and pick away any foreign pieces or dirt.
- Combine lentils and water to a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Once at a boil, reduce heat to low and cover with a lid. Simmer until tender for about 35-40 minutes.
- In the meantime, roughly chop the mushrooms.
- Over a medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of oil to a non-stick pan and throw in the chopped mushroom.
- Add 1 tablespoon of worcestershire sauce and cook mushrooms until liquid has been cooked off and they have turned golden.
- Once the lentils are done cooking, drain any remaining liquid.
- In a large bowl, add the lentils, mushrooms, oat bran, seasonings, tomato pasta, Italian seasoning, salt, and fennel seeds. Combine well.
- Allow the mixture to sit for at least 10 minutes to cool off and to allow the oat bran to soak up the moisture.
- Using your hands, roll meatless balls until smooth and compact. Set aside and repeat until you’ve used the entire meatless ball mixture.
- Once all of your balls have been formed, set a non-stick pan over medium high heat.
- Pour some olive oil to the pan and fry the balls on each side until golden and firm.
- Once all golden, reduce heat to low and add pasta sauce.
- Allow the balls to simmer and cook in the sauce for about 5-8 minutes.
Pro-tip: If you want to add something on top of your meatballs, go for nutritional yeast, or nooch. This will add a nutty, savory, and slightly cheesy flavor.
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