In a Nutshell
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Images and recipe by Alphafoodie
*Servings 30 ball
*Total time 45 minutes
- 2 cups cooked lentils
- 1 onion
- 260g mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic,
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 1kg/Or about 2.5 lbs of fresh tomatoes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tbsp oregano
- 1/2 tbsp sage
- Handful of parsley (optional)
- Start by making the tomato sauce. First, blend the tomatoes in the Nutramilk processor. They don't have to been too finely blended but if you prefer a very smooth sauce, you can also sieve them.
- Add the tomato juice to a saucepan and bring to a soft boil. Leave it to simmer until for about 30 minutes (keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn at the bottom). During this time, it will thicken and reduce (If you want to turn your sauce into a simple marinara then add some garlic, onion and some Italian herbs- voila).
- Add the lentils to a saucepan and pour in 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat, covering the pan with a lid and simmering for 15-20 minutes or until the lentils are soft and the majority of the water has soaked up (it's best to use a lid that you can see through if you're not sure of exact timings. However, I just simmer them for around 15 minutes then remove the lid to check them and cook for longer, if required).
- Meanwhile, dice the onion and garlic and add to a large frying pan with some olive oil. Sauté lightly for a couple of minutes, to soften.
- Add the mushrooms to the pan, along with the various herbs and spices and mix, to combine thoroughly.
- Lightly fry the mushroom mix for around 10 minutes, till the mushrooms are cooked through completely. Once the lentils and mushrooms are cooked then remove them from the heat and leave to cool for a few minutes.
- Once cooled, blend the mushroom mix and lentils for a few seconds, to begin breaking them down. Add the almond flour to the blender and continue to blend until you have a thick, coarse mixture (Make sure the texture is quite 'coarse' still, so it doesn't turn into a puree. If that happens you won't be able to form the mixture into balls. However, note that if the mixture is slightly too wet then you can fix this with a little extra almond flour. Just be careful or else the meatballs will find it harder to hold their shape and become crumblier).
- Once the mixture is blended, you're ready to form the meatballs: Scoop about 1 tablespoon of the lentil mixture into your hand and form a ball. I was able to make 30 balls with this mixture.
- Place the lentil meatballs on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 175ºC (fan-assisted). You can also drizzle/ spray the meatballs with some oil and it will help them become crispier in the oven (which I prefer). Once the meatballs are ready, they will be crispy on the outside and soft in the inside - so basically the perfect texture.
- These meatballs can be frozen before and after they're baked. I've only ever frozen them for a couple of weeks at a time, so I don't know exactly how long for but I would say up to two months should be fine.
- If storing in the refrigerator then keep in an airtight container for 4-5 days.
- Or add the meatballs to the tomato sauce and mix. Sprinkle with a pinch of chopped parsley and serve hot.
- Serve with zucchini zoodles, spaghetti (with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast or vegan cheese), within a sub etc.