Hearty vegetarian “meatballs” with just the right amount of spice. Serve with ample marinara sauce or pesto, on their own or on a bed of pasta. These make great leftovers (they taste even better a few hours later).
1 cup dried brown lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 bay leaf
2 cups vegetable broth (or water)
8 ounces cremini mushrooms (or white mushrooms), sliced
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried terragon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium white onion, chopped
3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup red wine
1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce (optional)
sea salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine lentils, bay leaf, and vegetable broth/water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. (Don’t worry, you want the lentils to be a little undercooked.) Remove from heat, drain and let cool for a few minutes. Discard the bay leaf.
In a food processor, combine the mushrooms, oats, lentils, parsley and spices (oregano, red pepper flakes, thyme and tarragon). Pulse/blend until the mixture is pretty well pulverized but not mush (see photos).
In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil, then add the chopped onion and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until onions are translucent and turning golden at the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Stir in lentil-mushroom mixture and cook until browned, about 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add red wine and soy sauce to skillet. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and, if you’re using a pan that retains heat like cast iron, transfer the mixture to a heat-safe bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow the mixture to cool until it is comfortable to handle.
In a small bowl, whisk together two eggs, then thoroughly mix the eggs into the lentil and mushroom mixture. Use your hands to scoop up one small handful of the mixture at a time, shaping it into a golf-ball sized ball (about 1 1/2-inch diameter). Place each “meatball” onto the baking sheet, leaving an inch of space around each one (you should end up with 15 or more meatballs). Bake for 35 minutes, or until golden brown.
Vegans: You can omit the eggs here, but they act as a binder, so the meatballs will fall apart once you break them with a fork.
Gluten-free eaters: Make sure your oats are certified gluten free. Tamari is typically wheat/gluten free; other soy sauces are not.
▸ Nutrition Information
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