My cafe customers could hardly tell the difference between real mince meatballs and these delicious vegan babies, so I hope you won’t either.
The secret lies in a few simple ingredients most vegans have in their pantry. And I always have spaghetti and an organic pasta sauce at home to complete the meal. YUUUUUMMMMMMMM!
Vegan Lentil Meatballs Italian Style makes 25-30 walnut sized meatballs,
prep time 20 min, baking time 30 min
• 2 x 15-ounce tins Lentils, drained
• 2 flax egg = 1 Tbsp flax seed meal + 2.5 Tbsp ml water (or two eggs)
• 4 Tbsp olive oil, divided, plus more for frying
• 4 cloves garlic, chopped (brief frying is optional)
• 2/3 cup bread crumbs, panko or similar
• 2/3 cup fresh basil leaves (parsley is a substitute)
• 2/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (dry is better but not necessary)
• 2/3 cup vegan Parmesan cheese*, plus more for coating**
• pinch each sea salt
• 1 tsp hungarian sweet paprika to taste
• 2 Tbsp dried oregano (or handful fresh oregano, chopped)*
*Vegan Parmesan cheese: blend up before or put ingredients first in food processor, 3 rough handful of cashews, 5 tbsp Nutritional yeast, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp garlic powder. Add nutritional yeast & salt to your liking.
**Coating: 4 Tbsp vegan Parmesan cheese + 6 Tbsp bread crumbs
1. Stir up flax eggs in a small bowl and let gel up for 10 min (if you’re vegetarian just use two eggs instead)
2. Optional: Heat a large metal pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add some olive oil and minced garlic. Fry until slightly browned, stirring for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool slightly, then add to food processor.
3. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees (180 C) and prep your food processor (I wouldn’t recommend blender. The mix is too sticky).
4. Next add bread crumbs, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, vegan Parmesan cheese, salt, paprika, dried oregano, and olive oil. Pulse/blend until small bits remain, scraping down sides as needed.
5. Next add half of the rinsed lentils and flax eggs and blend/pulse until “dough” is formed, scraping down sides as needed.
6. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. blend then put all in bowl and add the rest of lentils and mix them in with your hands.
7. Scoop 1-2 Tbsp amounts of dough and gently form into balls – about 25- 30 in total. Use a bowl of water to keep your hands from getting to sticky. Last roll them in the additional vegan Parmesan cheese- bread crumb coating.
8. Add meatballs on a bare baking sheet, spray with cooking oil if you want them crispier, and transfer to the preheated oven to bake for 30 minutes. Rotate midway to crisp up evenly.
9. At this time, prep any pasta and sauce you want to serve with your meatballs. I like the simple Marinara.
10. Once meatballs have firmed up and became crispy, remove from oven. I sometimes fry them up in the pan for a minute.
11. To serve, top cooked pasta with marinara sauce and desired number of meatballs. Top with another sprinkle of vegan Parmesan cheese and fresh basil (optional).
NOTE: Leftover meatballs will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, though best when fresh. Fry up in pan. To freeze, fry meatballs in a pan, let cool then transfer to a container or freezer bag for up to 1 month. You can take out of freezer and fry up right away.
Enjoy, and let me know how it went…