RECIPE – Lentil ‘meatless’ balls for tomato sauce
You will not even know this is made from lentils!
Ref. Picture below. OK, this is not spaghetti. But the phrase, ‘spaghetti and meat balls’ is so familiar that it is part of the lingua franca. This pasta is actually malfadine pasta, but it worked very well for me.
I happened to be browsing the internet looking for some food ideas when I came across this recipe, Italian-Style Lentil Meatballs from @connoissuerusveg.com.
With most recipes I find online, I looked them over then look at what I have in my cupboards and make something similar, my way. Someone coined this, “the Brennan Touch“. I tend to simplify recipes, because it makes my life easier and cooking faster, and I find fewer ingredients allows for better taste.
Serves 4 to 6 … depending on hunger!Lentil ‘meatless’ balls for tomato sauce
2 cups cooked brown lentils ( easy to cook – recommended – see below )*1 onion, finely chopped3 garlic cloves, minced½ cup oats ( made into flour with blender )2 tablespoons tomato paste1 tablespoon tamari soya sauce1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar3 teaspoons of mixed dried Mediterranean herbs ( or oregano & thyme )1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, METHOD
- Drain the lentils ( see details at the bottom )
- If you have a food processor, put everything in it and pulse it a few times,. You want a crumbly consistency and not mushy. If you do not have a food processor, you can mash the lentils with a fork, them mix the rest with it.
- Taste the mixture, you may want a little more salt. Also squash a bit together in your hands to see if it holds, otherwise a little water can be added.
- Make small balls with the mixture. I find smaller the better.
- Spread a very thin layer oil on a plate roll the balls to coat lightly.
- Bake in a hot oven (180C / 350 F) for 20 minutes, turn them and leave for another ten. You want them brown and a little crispy.
- Use them in a tomato sauce to have with spaghetti or malfadine or any pasta you like.
*Cooking your own Lentils … easy!
1 cup of dry brown lentils ( To get 2 cups of cooked lentil you will need one cup of dry ones.)
METHOD- Rinse the lentils under a running water then add 2 cups of water to the lentils and bring to the boil- Reduce heat and simmer for approx 20 minutes or until the lentils are softening but still firm. You do not want them mushy.- Set aside and allow to cool before using.- To make the lentil balls you will need to drain any liquid, keep it.
The liquid is full of flavour and wonderful nutrients. Sometimes when it is still hot, I add a little salt to it and have it like a little soup… I call this ‘Elixir du Chef’, a little privilege for the person cooking.