Lentil Neatballs

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Neatballs atop pasta and homemade marinara sauce, dusted with nutritional yeast (post to come about nutritional yeast)

I sit here as the sun has almost completely set and all I can think about is it possibly snowing tonight! Yesterday I had training for my serving job in a restaurant at a ski resort and we did this relay/team-building activity in which we had to zigzag around tables carrying a tray of four plates with rules that made the game way intense. Anyway, when the activity had ended the team that lost, my team, had to do a 1 minute “pray-for-snow” dance. WELL look at us now! Currently it’s raining and tonight will bring snow! Eeeeek! I’ve never been so excited for the snow, but it just means I will get to make more recipes instead of doing outdoor activities (minus skiing and snowshoeing of course!).

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Neatballs atop vegan, gluten-free focaccia (recipe to come)

Anyway, I grew up going to parties/potlucks where my mom made these delicious meatballs (not vegan) that always seemed to be the life of the party and my hankering for them got really intense when my boyfriend started buying meatballs (of the vegan variety) that I couldn’t have (made from seitan aka gluten). *sigh* Luckily, I made it a point to produce my own vegan and gluten-free and they turned out WONDERFUL; not to mention, they’re packed with different vegetables to increase the overall nutrients in the neatballs. Neatballs, such a silly name, but it fits with the recipe because it’s pretty neat that you can make meatball substitutes with lentils and beans. Speaking of which, lentils are the star of this recipe!

Guys, lentils are amazing!

  • A 1/2 cup of cooked lentils includes 11g of protein and 12g of fiber!
  • Lentils are high in manganese. What the heck is manganese you may think? Manganese is absolutely essential for bone formation and preservation, ie it has been shown to prevent osteoporosis. It’s also important in regulating blood sugar levels which is preventative in developing type 2 diabetes since it works to reduce the production of insulin.
  • Where there is manganese, there is iron which I got into in my last post! Here is a link to that post in case you wanted to know more about iron!

This recipe is so easy to make and a great thing to make for the upcoming holiday time spent with family!

Prep Time Cook Time Total Time
10 minutes 40 minutes 50 min

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Makes 18-20 neatballs

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups of cooked lentils

2 flax eggs, 2 tbsp flax meal

6 tbsp warm water

2 tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

5 crimini mushrooms, chopped

1/2 medium onion, chopped

2 carrots, shredded

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tsp oregano

1 tsp thyme

1/2 medium lemon, for the juice

1/2 cup rolled oats

Instructions

For the lentils:

  1. Begin by placing 3/4 cup dried lentils in a strainer and rinse thoroughly.
  2. Add to 1 1/2 cups water and bring to a rapid simmer
  3. Once simmering, reduce heat so that the simmer mellows out, but remains lightly simmering
  4. Cook uncovered for about 20-30 minutes (the less time you cook, the more dry they’ll be and will become mushier as you cook longer) until the lentils are slightly mushy
  5. Drain and set aside to cool

For the neatballs:

  1. Combine 2 tbsp flax meal with 6 tbsp of warm water and set aside
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper or tin foil
  3. Chop onion and mince garlic
  4. Add 2 tbsp olive oil to frying pan and set burner to medium heat.
  5. Once pan is warm, add the garlic and onion and cook for about 3 minutes
  6. While you wait, chop up the mushrooms and shred the carrots, then add to the onions and garlic
  7. Once the mushrooms are slightly cooked, turn off heat then add the mixture to a food processor
  8. Add the rest of the ingredients into the food processor minus the flax eggs (adding this to the food processor will ruin all the work it has done to produce an egg-like consistency)
  9. Pulse the mixture until in a minced consistency
  10. Place in a bowl and then add flax eggs, fold flax eggs with a silicon spatula into the mixture until well combined
  11. Roll mixture into balls and place on baking sheet
  12. Place neatballs in oven for 10 minutes, flip the balls, then bake another 10 minutes.
  13. Let cool, then serve with marinara sauce on pasta, or as a sandwich, or however you want!
    IMG_0666
    IMG_0668I know they look like oatmeal cookies, but these are savory, flavor-packed energy balls! 

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