Whenever I am cooking for a meat-eater, this is one of my favorites. Do they taste like meat balls? Mmmm, maybe not exactly, but they definitely taste 'meaty', hearty and wholesome. I've had many requests for this recipe so I am happy to finally be sharing it. Serve these with noodles made from spiralized veggies or with your favorite pasta, or maybe even mashed into a baguette as a sandwich. I have included an easy recipe for a raw cashew alfredo sauce, but they great with a red sauce or pesto, too.
LENTIL MEAT BALLS
Yield: 20 balls that are about 3 tablespoons of mix each pre-cooked
>> 250 g dried puy lentils or brown lentils (you can also use a can)
>> 60 g yellow onion, diced small
>> 38 g rolled oats, pulsed in the blender to make a course flour
>> 15 ml olive oil
>> 30 ml tamari
>> 30 ml balsamic vinegar
>> 7.5 ml onion powder
>> 7.5 ml white pepper
>> 30 ml nutritional yeast
>> 2-3 tablespoons of coconut or olive oil (depending what you prefer)
COATING FOR BALLS:
>> 15 gm oats, pulsed into coarse flour
>> 20 ml fennel seeds
>> 15 ml nutritional yeast
>> 5 g white sesame seeds
>> 5 ml sea salt
- If you have time, soak the lentils overnight. This will make them cook easier and aid in digestion. If not, it's okay. It will just take longer. You can also just use a can.
- If using dried lentils, cook them in water until quite soft. Drain, and rinse them. If using a can, just drain and rinse. The rinsing can help with digestion as well.
- Transfer the lentils to a large mixing bowl. Allow them to cool, about 5 minutes. You want them to be cool enough to touch with hands, but still warm so they will be easier to mash.
- Add all of the ingredients except the ones for the coating to the bowl with the lentils.
- Using clean hands, mash the lentils while also mixing in the ingredients. I sort of grab big handfuls of ingredients in squeeze them repeatedly. You want a paste like texture to start to develop. It's okay if some lentils are still in tact.
- Once the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated, you should have a pretty sticky mixture that holds it's shape when you squeeze it. If it seems like it's not binding and is too wet, add more oats. If it seems like it's too dry add oil or water. The taste should be meaty at this point. Play around with the ratios of vinegar, tamari, and seasonings until you get it how you want it. The raw onions, lentils, and oats give it a nice texture once cooked.
- Form into balls, I think a size 16 ice cream scoop is helpful for this. You can make them whatever size you prefer, I like using about 3 tablespoons per ball.
- Once the balls are formed, combine all of the coating ingredients in a bowl or baking pan and add the balls to them. Swirl them around in the coating until coated. Sometimes adding a little oil or water can help them become coated.
- In a frying pan, melt your oil of choice. Once hot, add in the balls and swirl them around to coat in oil. Allow to fry until brown and crispy, swirling them around a few times or flipping them with a spatula. If they lose their ball shape, it's okay. You can put them back into the ice cream scoop for shape or once they are a little cooler mold with your hands.
- They can be eaten like this, or transferred to a greased cooking sheet and baked for 7-15 minutes in a 150 degree C oven until desired crispiness is reached.
- Eat them! With zucchini noodles, pasta, on a sandwich and with whatever sauce or pesto you desire. Below is a recipe for a super easy alfredo!
RAW CASHEW ALFREDO
Yield: 2 cups
This can be eaten raw or heated up!
>> 210 grams cashews (2 cups), soaked until soft (2 hours in warm temp water or 20 minutes in hot water)
>> 200 ml (1 cup) water
>> 5-10 ml sea salt, (1-2 teaspoons) depending on taste
>> 6 gram garlic clove (3-4 cloves)
>> 30 g shallot (1 tablespoon)
>> 30 ml nutritional yeast (2 tablespoons)
>> 20-30 ml lemon juice, (2 tablespoons) depending on taste
>> heaping pinch of black pepper
Drain the cashews
Add all ingredients to a high speed blender
- Blend until smooth
- Adjust to your taste