Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Easy and Delicious "Meatless" Balls!

Little balls of protein packed goodness. These are just so great.

When I cook up some lentils for any recipe, I cook a couple of extra cups so I have an excuse to make "meatless" lentil balls. 

The key ingredient here is fennel. Do not leave out, substitute, or skimp on the fennel. You can use ground fennel, but I like to chop the seeds as I find it rather therapeutic. Little fennel seed shards flying everywhere while you chop away with your chef's knife. That's the stuff...

Anyway, in addition to being super easy to make, I love lentil balls because you can make them ahead of time and keep them in the fridge for spaghetti night. 

Tonight was spaghetti night here.  We took the boys sledding after school and needed a hot, quick and hearty meal when we got home. 

Easy and Delicious "Meatless" Balls

2 C. Cooked brown or green lentils
1/2 C. Rolled oats
1 T. Tahini, sunbutter or almond butter
2 Chia or flax eggs (2 T. of ground chia or flax mixed with 6 T. water)
2 t. Chopped fennel seeds or ground fennel
1 t. Garlic powder
1 t. Onion powder
1 1/4 t. Salt
1 t. Thyme, crushed between your fingers

Preheat your oven to 375 and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put lentils in your food processor and pulse about 10 times to break them up and start making a lentil paste. Add all additional ingredients and pulse again, about 20 times or until everything is incorporated and it becames dough like. 

Use your hands to roll 1" balls. You should get about 28 balls. 
Bake for 15 minutes. Flip the balls and cook an additional 10-15 minutes. 

Usually these just get added to some pasta. This time, however, I gave myself a little throwback to my meatball sub-obsessed days. I wrapped these babies up in a monstrous swiss chard leaf with the tomato sauce and was immediately transported back to 5th grade. It was weird. And super good. Also weird. But mostly good, so I'm most likely doing that again. 

If you're looking to spice up and bulk up spaghetti night, make these lentil meatless balls! 

I also really love making my own tomato sauce; but in this case I wanted something quick and easy that I could just heat up. If you are looking for a good jarred tomato sauce, I have been very impressed with Aldi's Simpy Nature brand Organic Tomato Basil. This stuff is oil free, has less than half the sugar of most jarred pastas, tastes great, and is only $1.99 a jar! 

Happy Spaghetti night!


  1. This is awesome! Thanks for sharing this. Have you tried freezing them or adding them to soup? My kids LOVE spaghetti but the Morningstar Farms "meat"balls are wrecking my budget!

    1. Thanks, Kristin! You can definitely freeze these. I cook them beforehand, then you just need to reheat them on the stovetop later. You can add them to soup, but I'd make them a little smaller (like 1/2" balls). I am actually kind of glad that faux meats are so pricey because that definitely prompts to make my own more often using whole foods. Let me know what you think if you make these!