Is there anything more comforting than a plate of spaghetti and meatballs?
(I can hear my Mother yelling NOOOOOO!!! from here).
Spaghetti and meatballs were staples in my house growing up. This dish was a of my Mother's and it always brings with it an extra little bit of warm, nostalgic comfort the way only your Mom's favorite dishes can.
BUT, despite all the momentary comfort they bring, the lingering digestive discomfort had me searching for a new way to enjoy an old favorite.
Enter these lentil - mushroomy balls of deliciousness.
A version that even my Italian Mother would love.
Lentils are often overlooked and are entirely underrated (in my opinion). They are inexpensive and will keep in the pantry for months, making them an easy staple to keep on hand.
They are high in plant-based protein and low in fat which will keep you feeling fuller for longer. AND they are packed with iron, folate and potassium which will help produce more red blood cells and leave you feeling more energetic, vivacious and charged.
These are easy (despite the semi-long list of ingredients) and go great on top of any gluten-free pasta, veggie noodles, or as a topping to your favorite veggie pizza, but they are also delicious on their own.
They've got it all baby.
Lentil Mushroom Meatballs
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp vegan butter
1 large shallot (chopped)
1/2 medium onion (chopped)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
1 flax egg (1 tbsp flaxseed meal and 3 tbsp water)
1 cup cooked lentils (cooled to room temperature)
1/2 cup chopped white mushrooms
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsley
2 tbsp dried Italian seasoning
1 tbsp tomato paste
5 tbsp vegan cheese
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 - 3 tbsp gluten-free flour
salt and pepper (to taste)
Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Next, make your flax-egg in a small bowl and set aside to allow to gel.
In a large skillet heat 1 tbsp olive oil and add shallot and onion and sauté until they start to appear translucent (about 3-4 minutes) then add garlic and continue to sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Then remove from heat and set aside.
In the same skillet, heat the vegan butter and sauté the mushrooms until slightly golden brown (roughly 10 minutes). Then remove from heat, allow to cool and set aside.
In your food processor, add all remaining ingredients (including the flax-egg, cooked mushrooms, lentils and onion-shallot-garlic mixture) and pulse together until well combined, adjusting the flavors as needed (adding salt, pepper or additional spices if needed).
This should be a dough-like consistency. If its too wet, add more gluten-free flour (1 tbsp at a time) and if its too dry add more olive oil (1 tbsp at a time).
To form the balls, take a large spoon and roll the dough into balls using your hands. Place each on the lined baking sheet. (Should make about 12 meatballs).
Next, heat your skillet again and add a tbsp of olive oil and gently brown the meatballs until they have a nice golden crust on each side (about 5 minutes). Once they are all browned, place the meatballs on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 15 - 20 minutes.
Pull them out of the oven and serve over gluten-free pasta, zucchini noodles, or just eat straight up with your favorite red sauce and some freshly chopped basil.