Lentil Meatballs, part one – in a skillet with passata and pasta

June 21, 2014

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Spaghetti and meatballs mean one thing to me and my food heart. Saturday night, on the couch with an episode of Mad Men and a never ending packet of tim tams glass of wine. My most favourite meatball recipe involves three kinds of meat, plus pancetta, plus anchovies, plus it’s good. Really, really good. But you know what? Lately I’ve been wanting to add more lentils to my life. So I decided to make some lentil meatballs.

I suppose they’re not really “meat”balls, as they certainly lack in meat (though I kept the anchovies because I’m a sucker for these salty, omega-3 rich beauties), but the name “lentil balls” just doesn’t sound as dainty. Or delicious. And though I have to say they’re not particularly dainty, they are rather delicious.

This recipe is lightly adapted from Sprouted Kitchen‘s lentil meatball recipe. I baked the balls (they really hold together better baked compared to pan frying) and then added them to a pan of olive oil sauteed onions. In goes a jar of quality passata and then it’s all popped into the oven. Cook your pasta and ten minutes later you have dinner. Vetta pasta sent me some of their high fibre pasta to sample and I must say I’m impressed with the fibre content, which is double that of regular pasta. The price is also comparable to other pastas on the market, but Vetta is Australian owned and use Australian wheat (and in the case of this high fibre variety, oat fibre). It also taste like it should, unlike other certain high fibre “noodles” out there. Nice. Thank you, Vetta!

I thought the wheat pasta tones and meatballs in the pan were a stunning contrast and compliment to the bricks, so I took them outside to be photographed. Actually, I got distracted deciding which books I want to order online for my birthday (in September, not even close!) and all of a sudden it was too dark inside to photograph this recipe inside. But hey, now I have books on order AND lentil balls. Who’s winning now?

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Part two of this lentil meatball business is coming up, as I found another way to serve these nutritious nuggets. I might even prefer this alternative way of serving them…though as long as there’s an episode of Mad Men and a glass of red wine involved, I’m happy.

Lentil Meatballs in a skillet with passata and pasta

Adapted from Sprouted Kitchen‘s Lentil Meatballs

Makes ~18 balls

Ingredients
1 cup Whole Green Lentils
2 & ½ cups Water
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon diced Anchovy fillets* (from a jar, in olive oil)
¼ cup Breadcrumbs
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
½ cup smooth Ricotta
2 Eggs, lightly whisked
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf Parsley
Zest of ½ a Lemon
A pinch of both Smoked and Sweet Paprika
A pinch Sea Salt and freshly Cracked Pepper

Sauce Ingredients
1/2 a Brown Onion, diced
1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 cups Passata

Pasta, to serve. I used Vetta‘s high fibre penne here.

*these are optional, though if leaving out you might like to salt your meatballs a little more keenly.
Method
1. Rinse the lentils in water, then place in a pot and add the water. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for ~15 minutes, adding more water as necessary to prevent it drying out. When fork tender, drain and allow to cool.
2. When cooled, puree the lentils in a food processor until smooth (I don’t mind some lumps).
3. Add the lentils to a mixing bowl with all the other ingredients (besides the onion, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and passata). Stir well to combine and leave the mixture to sit for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
4. Using moist hands, roll the mixture into balls then place on a plate and allow them to chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.
5. Place the balls on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned on both sides, turning the balls halfway through baking (note: for a crispier ball, brush with olive oil before baking).
6. Meanwhile put a pot of salted water on to boil for your pasta. Heat the oil in a large skillet that can go into the oven and sautee the onion with a small pinch of sea salt over medium heat for ~5 minutes until soft. Add the balls to the pan, turning them to allow ~20 seconds browning on each side, then add the passata. Give the pan a shake, then pop it all in the oven for ~10 minutes until the sauce is bubbly and thick.
7. Drain the pasta and serve with the lentil meatballs, passata and extra parmesan. Oh, and that glass of red wine.

Heidi xo

 

 

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18 Comments

  • Reply InTolerant Chef June 21, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    I’m a sucker for anchovies too Heidi- yummo!

    • Reply Heidi June 25, 2014 at 10:18 am

      So good, right? x

  • Reply Lisa @ BlitheMoments June 21, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    Oh, I’ve been thinking about how to get some more legumes into our diet, this looks fantastic! And definitely comfort food.

    • Reply Heidi June 25, 2014 at 10:18 am

      Excellent! & yes, most definitely comfort food x

  • Reply Kj June 22, 2014 at 7:52 am

    The sauce looks delicious!

    • Reply Heidi June 25, 2014 at 10:19 am

      & so simple! x

  • Reply msihua June 22, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Oooh anchovies in balls! What are the three kinds of meat pray tell? I shall try this lentil version on my next vegetarian day!

    • Reply Heidi June 25, 2014 at 10:22 am

      Pork, veal & chicken! Follow the link I posted & definitely give that meatball recipe a go, lovely. SO GOOD x

  • Reply Millie l Add A Little June 22, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    Yum! These look super delicious and love the sound of anchovies in them for that added umami flavour!
    http://youtube.com/addalittlefood

    • Reply Heidi June 25, 2014 at 10:23 am

      You know it! x

  • Reply Lentil Meatballs, part two – on mashed parsnip and butter beans with pesto - Apples Under My Bed - A food diary. June 23, 2014 at 12:05 am

    […] this is the other way I’ve come to devour my lentil meatballs… on a generous bed of mashed parsnip, swimming in a pesto pool. There’s a lot to love […]

  • Reply laurasmess June 23, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    I never would have thought to make meatballs from lentils! What a great idea. I like your wintry variation on Sara and Hugh’s original pesto-drenched lentil balls. I can definitely imagine eating this on a cold night with a glass of wine and a warm blanket (and television, of course. Aaron and I are catching up on Sherlock at the moment, so good!) xx

    • Reply Heidi June 25, 2014 at 10:24 am

      Oooh Sherlock, I haven’t even considered that series! Next on our list is True Detective x

  • Reply Iron Chef Shellie June 23, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    balls in a tomato based soup… I’m weak at the knees!! <3 x

    • Reply Heidi June 25, 2014 at 10:24 am

      Hahahahaha x

  • Reply Hannah June 25, 2014 at 9:25 am

    But what books did you order??

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