Healthy, easy Lentil Meatballs with buckwheat, fresh herbs and spices. Soft and flavoursome, perfect on a bed of spiralised zucchini.
We’re heading into spring now so I’ll be saying farewell to some of these hearty winter comfort meals soon, but not before enjoying this delicious plant-based take on the classic meatball.
So what makes a good plant-powered meatball? I feel it’s all in the spices, but you want to start with a nice mix of lentils with something to add a slight bit of texture. Red lentils were my pick for this because they are quick to cook and don’t really need to soak prior.
I literally threw them in the pot with an equal portion of rice, and the second time I made them, buckwheat. Turns out my partner prefers the rice version while I dig the buckwheat.
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Once the lentil/grain combo has cooked, you drain and rinse under cool water, and add to a food processor with all other herbs and spices. Roll into balls, bake for 15 minutes, and voila.
To complete the meal, you’ll need a good sauce. To save time, I opted for a pre-made organic pasta sauce, but you may like to try this recipe here. I also folded a good 100g or so of baby kale leaves throughout the sauce as it cooked, to get a serving of leafy greens in there.
Finally, you can make it hearty by cooking some spaghetti up (I have a gluten free amaranth, quinoa & rice number in the cupboards), or make it light by serving on a bed of freshly spiralised zucchini noodles, tossed in quality extra virgin olive oil, chilli flakes, pepper and sea salt.
This is another healthy meal that tastes fab the next day for lunch – you’ll get two dozen ‘meatballs’ out of the recipe – enough for two dinner servings + leftovers.
- Lentils and rice or buckwheat combine to provide a great source of quality plant-protein
- Lentils provide prebiotic fibre, feeding the good bacteria in the gut
- Chia and sunflower seeds add further protein and fibre
- Parsley is a nutrition powerhouse and a great source of iron
- A low GI, high fibre, mineral rich meal
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Easy Lentil Meatballs
Yields 24 meatballs.
- ¾ cup red lentils
- ¾ cup buckwheat groats
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- 1 large shallot
- 3 large cloves garlic
- 4 tablespoons ground chia
- 1 extremely packed cup parsley curly, chopped
- 1 heaped tablespoon tomato paste
- 1/3 cup semi or sundried tomatoes drained if oily
- 2 spring onions/scallions green parts, chopped
- 1 tablespoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon thyme dried
- Sprinkle of chilli flakes
- ½ teaspoon fine Himalayan salt
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- Pre-heat oven at 180˚C (355˚F) and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Place lentils and buckwheat in a sieve and rinse very well under running water. Transfer to a large pot, fill it ¾ full of water, bring to a boil, reduce heat a little, and cook for about 15 minutes or till just done. Drain and rinse with cool water.
- While the lentils/buckwheat cook, heat a little olive oil in a pan and lightly fry finely chopped shallot. Add roughly chopped garlic cloves and cook a little longer. Transfer to a food processor.
- Add ground chia, parsley, tomato paste, spring onions, sundried tomatoes, salt and spices to the food processor and pulse to combine.
- Add the cooled lentils/buckwheat and blitz to combine. Add the sunflower seeds last for one final pulse.
- Roll mixture into balls using a tablespoon of mixture per. Place on baking tray and bake for 15 minutes max (you want them to be a bit soft), turning half way through.
- Serve with marinara sauce and pasta/spiralised zucchini. I love to fold about 100g fresh baby spinach or kale through the sauce to get some greens in there.