I love the versatility of meatballs and in my quest to cook meals that don’t rely on meat, I’ve had to use my imagination a bit. I recently picked up Vegetarian Everyday from the library and was pleased to discover a bean based “meatball” recipe, perfect for the gluten-free vegetarian. The couple that created this cookbook is from Sweden (they have a lovely blog I follow called Green Kitchen Stories) and they call these tasty legume-balls, polpette (which is a fancy word for meatballs, as far as my research can tell me). But anyway, the words flows off the tongue in such a beautiful way.
The photo does not do justice to the deliciousness of this meal, in fact it makes it look rather unappealing, but we loved these! I served them over a bed of zucchini and carrot noodles (long julienned veggie that I blanched in salted water) and we topped them with a little marinara sauce and a little arugula pesto.
RED LENTIL BALLS
(from Vegetarian Everyday by David Frenkiel & Luise Vindahl)
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1 c. red lentils
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1/3 c. rolled oats (use gluten-free, if needed)
1 tsp paprika (I used smoked paprika)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
sea salt to taste
Rinse the lentils and place in a saucepan with 2 1/4 cups cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain well and cool slightly.
Mash the lentils with a fork. The consistency you want is mashed but still with some lentils left whole. Place in a mixing bowl, add the remaining ingredients and stir with a spoon until everything is combined. Place int he fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Form balls and place them on the baking sheet. Bake for 17-22 minutes. If you want, turn balls halfway through to get a more even shape and color.
Prepare pasta or veggie noodles and whatever sauce you want.