Lentil “Meatballs” with Eggplant Pomodoro Sauce {Vegan} {GF}

To all you fellow vegetarians out there: How many times have you been asked the question, “How do you get your protein?”

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Too many to count, right?  I don’t mind the question though.  I like to share things about my lifestyle (which is probably pretty apparent considering the fact that I blog about it :)).

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Lentils are an excellent source of protein.  They contain the 3rd highest level of protein when compared with all other legumes and nuts.  Not to mention they are chock-full of soluble fiber, folate, magnesium and iron.  They are also low in fat and calories so they aid in weight loss.

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In my opinion, these lentil “meatballs” are even better than the real thing.  I know I’m not a good judge since I have made claims in the past that I wasn’t ever really a huge fan of meat but these little suckers are bursting with flavor and make for an exceptional replacement for the ground meat used in the originals.

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Baked and then immersed into a simmering pot of eggplant Pomodoro sauce and served over gluten-free pasta, these “meatballs” round out a nice vegan meal by giving it the dose of protein it was missing.

LentilMeatballsEggplanPomodoro

Lentil “Meatballs” with Eggplant Pomodoro Sauce {Vegan} {GF}

“Meatball” Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked Brown Lentils
  • 2 cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 2 Flax Eggs (2 TBSP ground flaxseed + 5 TBSP warm water)
  • ¾ cup Nutritional Yeast (or Parmesan Cheese if not Vegan)
  • 2 TBSP fresh Italian Parsley
  • 1 tsp dried Oregano
  • 1 tsp dried Thyme
  • 1 ¼ cup Whole Grain Oats
  • ¼ tsp Sea Salt
  • ¼ tsp Black Pepper

Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 TBSP Olive Oil
  • 1 medium Eggplant, peeled & diced
  • 3 cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 8 Vine-Ripened Tomatoes, diced (to yield about 4 cups)
  • 2 TBSP Red Wine Vinegar
  • ¼ tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • Sea Salt & Black Pepper to taste

Other Ingredients

  • 16oz Brown Rice Spaghetti

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Cook the spaghetti according to package directions.  Toss with olive oil and set aside.

In the meantime, combine the cooked lentils and garlic in a food processor and pulse until pureed.  Transfer to a large bowl and add the flax eggs, nutritional yeast, parsley, oregano, thyme, salt & pepper and stir to mix well.  Stir in the oats and let the mix stand for 15 to 20 minutes.

Shape the lentil mixture into 1-inch sized “meatballs” and place on a prepared baking sheet.  Bake until the “meatballs” are firm to the touch and are starting to brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.

For the sauce, heat olive oil in a large, flat-bottomed skillet over medium heat (you can use the same one you used for the meatballs).  Add the eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally until just softened, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly until fragrant, about one minute.  Add the tomatoes, vinegar, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.  Cook, stirring often until the tomatoes begin to break down, about 5 to 7 minutes.

When the sauce is done, add the cooked “meatballs” in the skillet and toss lightly to coat.  Serve immediately over spaghetti.

12 thoughts on “Lentil “Meatballs” with Eggplant Pomodoro Sauce {Vegan} {GF}

  1. Oh, how I love that protein question! I also love serving great meals, like the one you are sharing here, with my leery and skeptic guests. They then realize that eating vegan is not a scary thing at all! I have made tempeh “meat” balls, but not lentil ones. It’s funny, but my husband was recently talking about making those. I’ll pass on your recipe to him. 🙂 This dish looks awesome!

  2. Those look delicious!! I have been wanting to experiment with “meat”balls but they usually call for eggs or something – glad to see they can be made vegan!

  3. Wow, this is probably the best looking vegan meatball recipe I’ve ever seen! And funny enough, I think I’ve only ever been asked where I get my protein once… people usually ask me how I survive without bacon! But with recipes like these, I think I’m doing fine without it 🙂

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