Vegan lentil meatballs?? 😱 Yes!
So much of the way we eat comes down to traditions and habits. I love traditions, especially when it comes to food. But I get true inspiration from mixing the old and the new, the typical and the unexpected. There is so much excitement and creativity in putting a twist on something familiar.
Enter: spaghetti and meatballs. There are not too many dishes that actually have the word MEAT right in the name, but this is one of them. To me, that doesn’t have to mean stay away. It can mean something much more fun. Jump off from an old idea into something newer and better.
There is already a ton of plant-based pleasure to be had in a simple bowl of spaghetti with olive oil and basil and yummy red sauce, but a few lentil meatballs and a drizzle of walnut parmesan really take it to the next level.
Like so many other things you might have grown up eating—burgers, sausage, cinnamon rolls, pancakes—you can keep on enjoying meatballs as a vegan. And they’re still delicious!
Peep the video and the recipe below.
The Best Vegan Lentil Meatballs
If you want your vegan lentil meatballs coated in sauce (my preference), dip them in the tomato sauce to coat before you toss the spaghetti in the sauce.
- 1 clove minced garlic
- 2 cups cooked lentils (don’t use red lentils)
- 2 tbsp ground flax seed, mixed with ⅓ cup water
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- ½ tsp fennel seed
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Pinch of dried or fresh thyme
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp crushed red chili flakes
- ½-⅔ cup breadcrumbs
- 1 zucchini or yellow squash, thinly sliced in rounds
- 2 cups brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil
- sea salt and black pepper for seasoning
- ½ box of spaghetti
- 2 cups of Bertolli Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce or your favorite tomato sauce
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
- 1 cup walnuts, toasted or raw
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon mellow miso
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350° and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Combine the ingredients in a food processor, and pulse to combine. The lentils should retain some texture, and hold together when formed into a ball. If it is too wet, add a little more breadcrumbs.
- Form the lentil mixture into balls. Each should be about 2 tablespoons. Place them onto one baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, until they are slightly browned on the outside and tender inside.
- Toss the zucchini and brussels sprouts with 1 tablespoon of oil, then spread them evenly onto the other lined baking sheet. Sprinkle them with a little salt and pepper, then roast for 30 minutes, until tender.
- Transfer the roasted veggies to a medium sized saucepan, and add the tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer, and cook on low heat until you are ready to toss the spaghetti.
- Place the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until a chunky crumble is remaining.
- Transfer to a serving bowl to serve over the spaghetti.
Prepare the spaghetti
- Bring about 6 cups of salted water to a boil.
- Add your pasta and cook 8-10 minutes, until your desired thickness is reached.
- Toss the cooked spaghetti with the roasted vegetable tomato sauce.
- Place the spaghetti on plates, and top with the lentil meatballs and walnut parmesan. If you’d prefer the lentil meatballs to be coated in spaghetti sauce toss them in the sauce before adding the spaghetti to it.
- Drain and toss with 2 tablespoons of oil. Set is aside until the lentil meatballs, sauce, and walnut parmesan are done, and you are ready to plate the meal.