Lentil Meatballs
5 from 2 votes
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This Lentil Meatballs recipe is an excerpt from Lauren McNeill cookbook The Simple Vegan Kitchen. Lauren is a plant-based registered dietitian and the creator of Tasting to Thrive. She holds a master’s of public health in nutrition with a specialization in women’s health. Through her social media platforms, Lauren shares easy and approachable plant-based recipes that are nourishing while still being delicious. She provides one-on-one nutrition counseling services virtually through her private practice and has created online programs to help people thrive on a plant-based diet.

If you think you don’t like lentils, try this recipe and see if it changes your mind. The lentil meatballs are bursting with earthy flavors from the Italian herbs and parsley, while the marinara sauce is perfect for dipping the warm, flavorful garlic bread. Originally, I thought this would be a red sauce pasta recipe, but I fell in love with the idea of serving the lentil meatballs with warm garlic bread to dip in the marinara sauce. The meatballs offer a great dose of plant-based protein and iron, making this dish super satisfying. Of course, you can still serve this recipe with pasta if you’d like, but I think it’s hearty and filling enough on its own. This recipe may look complicated, but I promise that it’s very straightforward and can easily be a weeknight dinner staple!

Ingredients You’ll Need

FOR THE LENTIL“MEATBALLS”

FOR THE GARLIC BREAD

  • Baguette
  • Vegan butter
  • Garlic
  • Italian parsley
  • Garlic powder
  • Salt

ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS

  • Marinara sauce

How To Make This Lentil Meatballs

Step 1: Oven Preheat and Baking Sheet Prep

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. To begin the lentil “meatballs,” in a small pan over medium heat, sauté the onion in 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil until it’s translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan about 2 minutes in, being careful not to burn it.

Step 2: Blend and Adjust Lentil ‘Meatball’ Mixture

  1. Add the sautéed onion and garlic to a large blender or food processor with the oats, oat flour, Italian parsley, lentils, Italian seasoning, nutritional yeast, tomato paste, chia seeds, salt, pepper and the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil. Blend them until the ingredients are well combined together, but not puréed. This took me about 15 seconds in my high-speed blender.
  2. Once the ingredients are well combined, assess the texture. The lentil meatballs should be the consistency of cookie dough: moist and easy to form into balls, but not too wet or dry. Add water or more oat flour 1 tablespoon (6 g) at a time to achieve the desired consistency, if needed.

Step 3: Shape and Bake Lentil ‘Meatballs’

  1. With wet hands to keep the dough from sticking to you, form the dough into balls, with about 2 tablespoons (18 g) of dough in each ball. You should have approximately 12 lentil meatballs.
  2. Place the lentil meatballs on a baking sheet and bake them for 20 to 25 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the lentil meatballs are golden brown and have firmed up.

Step 4: Prepare and Bake Garlic Bread

  1. Meanwhile, for the garlic bread, cut the baguette in half, then cut it again in half lengthwise. In a small bowl, mix together the vegan butter, garlic, parsley, garlic powder, and salt. Spread the mixture on both sides of the baguette. You may have some garlic butter left over.
  2. Place the garlic bread on a baking sheet, and once the meatballs have been cooking for about 10 minutes, add the garlic bread to the oven, too. Bake it for 10 to 15 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.

Step 5: Heat Marinara and Serve

  1. Meanwhile, in the same pan you sautéed the onion and garlic in, gently heat the marinara sauce over low-medium heat. Once the meatballs are golden brown, remove them from the oven and add them to the marinara sauce, mixing to coat the meatballs.
  2. Serve the lentil meatballs and marinara with the garlic bread on the side to dip.
  3. The garlic bread is best eaten fresh. Refrigerate any lentil meatball leftovers for up to 4 days.

Lentil Meatballs – Recipe Card

Lentil Meatballs

Herby Lentil “Meatballs” and Garlic Bread

5 from 2 votes
Try Herby Lentil 'Meatballs' with Garlic Bread – a flavorful twist on lentils. These savory 'meatballs' are loaded with Italian herbs and paired with warm garlic bread, perfect for dipping in marinara sauce. Quick, easy, and satisfying – a plant-based protein boost in just 35 minutes!
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Author: Lauren McNeill
Servings: 3 servings

Ingredients

FOR THE LENTIL“MEATBALLS”

  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 2 tbsp 30 ml olive oil, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • ¼ cup 20 g large flake oats cup (60 g) oat flour, plus 2 tbsp (10 g) as needed
  • ¼ cup 15 g fresh Italian parsley, packed
  • 1 cup 198 g cooked lentils (I used canned brown lentils, drained and rinsed)
  • 1 tbsp 6 g Italian seasoning
  • 2 tbsp 22 g nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp 14 g tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp 10 g chia seeds
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

FOR THE GARLIC BREAD

  • ½ large baguette
  • cup 80 g vegan butter
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp 4 g fresh Italian parsley, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • tsp salt

ADDITIONAL INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups 480 ml marinara sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • To begin the lentil “meatballs,” in a small pan over medium heat, sauté the onion in 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil until it’s translucent, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic to the pan about 2 minutes in, being careful not to burn it.
  • Add the sautéed onion and garlic to a large blender or food processor with the oats, oat flour, Italian parsley, lentils, Italian seasoning, nutritional yeast, tomato paste, chia seeds, salt, pepper and the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of olive oil. Blend them until the ingredients are well combined together, but not puréed. This took me about 15 seconds in my high-speed blender.
  • Once the ingredients are well combined, assess the texture. The lentil meatballs should be the consistency of cookie dough: moist and easy to form into balls, but not too wet or dry. Add water or more oat flour 1 tablespoon (6 g) at a time to achieve the desired consistency, if needed.
  • With wet hands to keep the dough from sticking to you, form the dough into balls, with about 2 tablespoons (18 g) of dough in each ball. You should have approximately 12 lentil meatballs
  • Place the lentil meatballs on a baking sheet and bake them for 20 to 25 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the lentil meatballs are golden brown and have firmed up.
  • Meanwhile, for the garlic bread, cut the baguette in half, then cut it again in half lengthwise. In a small bowl, mix together the vegan butter, garlic, parsley, garlic powder and salt. Spread the mixture on both sides of the baguette. You may have some garlic butter left over.
  • Place the garlic bread on a baking sheet, and once the meatballs have been cooking for about 10 minutes, add the garlic bread to the oven, too. Bake it for 10 to 15 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.
  • Meanwhile, in the same pan you sautéed the onion and garlic in, gently heat the marinara sauce over low-medium heat. Once the meatballs are golden brown, remove them from the oven and add them to the marinara sauce, mixing to coat the meatballs.
  • Serve the lentil meatballs and marinara with the garlic bread on the side to dip.
  • The garlic bread is best eaten fresh. Refrigerate any lentil meatball leftovers for up to 4 days.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Reprinted with permission from The Simple Vegan Kitchen by Lauren McNeill. Page Street Publishing Co. 2023. Photo credit: Toni Zernik.

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The simple vegan kitchen

About The Cookbook

A registered dietician guides beginners through adopting a vegan lifestyle with 60 recipes and plenty of tips to help readers get the nutrition they need and reach their health goals.

Get the Nutrients You Need and the Flavors You Crave the Simple & Plant-Based Way The Simple & Plant-Based Way Nothing beats a homemade meal that comes together easily with pantry ingredients, fuels your body, and tastes amazing! Registered dietitian and creator of Tasting to Thrive Lauren McNeill knows that nutritionally balanced food sustains daily wellness long-term only when it’s yummy enough to eat every day. Lauren prioritizes flavor in her recipes without sacrificing a proper mix of plant-based protein, carbohydrates, and fats alongside key nutrients like iron, calcium, and omega-3. A few of her delectable vegan dishes include:

  • One-Pan Mushroom Gnocchi
  • Herby Lentil “Meatballs” & Garlic Bread
  • Peanut-Miso Tofu Noodle Bowl
  • Barbecue Chickpea Wraps
  • Edamame Crunch Salad with Peanut Dressing
  • Carrot Cake Overnight Oats White Bean, Balsamic & Rosemary Dip
  • Lemon-Coconut Energy Balls

With her evidence-based, balanced plate approach to eating, Lauren will guide you each step of the way in preparing varied, nourishing dishes while building a lifelong healthy relationship with food. Plus, with a 30-day sample meal plan and gorgeous full-page photography with every recipe, this cookbook will quickly become your daily source of inspiration for simple, delicious, and satisfying plant-based eating.

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lentil ‘meatballs’

More Vegan Recipes You Might Like

If you enjoyed this Lentil Meatballs recipe, you might also like this Raspberry, Chocolate & Almond Chia Pudding from the same author. Click here to get the recipe.

chia pudding

Connect with Lauren on Instagram and at tastingtothrive.com

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