I’m really not fond of the word ‘meat substitute’ because ‘substitute’ conjurs up the meaning of inadequate or not quite as good as the real deal. I like to think of lentils as a plant-based protein superstar; definitely not a substitute or alternative. Heck I even like these better and they are packed with fiber. These lentil ’meat’ balls are sure to win you over.
I used pretty much the same recipe as the lentil mushroom patties I’ve made before and then formed them into balls. I decided to leave out the gluten free bread crumbs this time for a grain free option and they turned great. They were a little harder to handle but still came together really well.
I baked them in the oven at 400 for 40 minutes turning half way through and I also sauteed a few of them in some coconut oil until golden on each side. Both methods worked well. Baking them took a little longer but they didn’t have to be handled as much. The avocado sauce is pretty much a staple in our house for pastas, spaghetti squash, spiralized zucchini, and a dip if we’re feeling dippy. It is very versatile and better than any store bought tomato sauce. Creamy and delicious!
We use brown rice pasta when we are feeling like pasta because it is the only gluten free pasta I’ve found that still has a springy bite like regular pasta. I am not a fan of quinoa pasta.
Avocado Pasta with Lentil Meatballs
Keywords: entree gluten-free healthy choice vegan vegetarian soy-free lentil avocado pasta
Ingredients (Serves 4-6)
For the balls:
- 1 cup dried green lentils (2 1⁄4 cups cooked)
- 2 1⁄4 cups water
- 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1⁄4 cups finely chopped onion
- 3⁄4 cup finely chopped walnuts
- 2 cups fine bread crumbs (I used 3 slices of GF bread in a food processor; optional)
- 1⁄2 cup ground flax seed (flax seed meal)
- 3 cups finely chopped crimini mushrooms (pulse in food processor)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon herbs de provence
- dash of cayenne
For the avocado sauce:
- 2 avocados, 1 half cubed
- 1 teaspoon of herbs de provence
- 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 2-3 tablespoons of good quality evoo
- 2 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar or lemon/lime juice
- bing handful of fresh chopped basil, optional
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
For the balls/patties:
In a small pot, bring the lentils, water, 1 garlic clove, and 1⁄4 cup of the onion to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 35 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the lentils are soft.
While the lentils are cooking, combine the walnuts, bread crumbs, and flax seed in a bowl or food processor to pulse. Add the nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, herbs and and mix well.
Sauté the remaining onion, remaining garlic and mushrooms in the oil for 10 minutes, then set aside. Remove the lentils from the heat, add the aminos and mustard, and mash with a potato masher or pulse everthing in a food processor until thick and chunky.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the lentils and bread crumb mixtures, and mix well. Cool in the refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes or more.
Using your hands, form ‘meat’ balls or burger patties to your desired size and place on waxed paper. Lightly fry in a seasoned skillet, broil, or grill until lightly browned and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes on each side. You can also bake at 400 F for 40 minutes, flipping half way through (for balls). Extras can be frozen on wax paper in plastic bags or wrapped.
These also make great patties.
For the sauce:
Mix all the ingredients together, except for the 1/2 avocado, cubed. Blend that in last just before serving to give it some texture.
Mix the sauce with some cooked brown rice pasta (or your pasta of choice) and then top with ‘meat’ balls and some red chili flakes.
They are also great for leftovers or a nice snack!
What have you been up to? Did you enjoy the Super Bowl if you watched it?
I’m not a fan of football; usually just enjoy the company of parties We kept it low key this year and Chris watched the game while I tried to find other things to do lol I’ve been cooking up a storm on the weekends, prepping away and trying new recipes.
I recently tried this Coconut Butter Bread and it is fantastic! It is grain-free, gluten-free and actually stays together really well. Score! I love it with a nice slab of ghee on top. Coconut is the bomb.
Let’s see what else….
I tried my hand at a cauliflower pizza crust but didn’t have any good sub for the cheese since we don’t do much dairy. It turned out ok but not the best, so I decided to use up our leftover almond pulp and make an almond pulp pizza crust! Having leftover almond pulp is another great reason to make homemade almond milk. Next up is almond pulp brownies
I made it pretty thin so it dehydrated quickly in about 5.5 hours. This would be great for crackers too. Here it is before going into the dehydrator.
We are going to grill up some marinated portabella mushrooms for a topping.
It takes a little time and planning but it’s so fun to experiment in the kitchen! Hope everyone has a great week!
What are you cooking up lately? Any good eats for the Super Bowl?