In our house we only eat meat about 3-4 times a week. So, sometimes you just have to get creative.
Did you know that lentils can be turned into burgers and meatballs? I found this out a few years ago and enjoyed switching it up with my other love, black bean burgers.
Now let me tell you. These lentil meatballs actually have fooled people in the past. I’ll watch, they’ll take a bite and eat it as if it’s a regular meatball. When they’re done, I’ll say, “You know that was vegetarian, right?”
Then they look at me like I’m a magician.
It is possible to eat less meat. And make it fun.
I use my Sweet Country Bread as the bun, by taking half the dough and rolling them into four dough balls and allowing them to rise and bake that way.
Sure. In the beginning, they look like they’re lentils.
But then you put them in some sauce and roll them around a bit and they look like the real deal.
This is a great make ahead meal. You can make the meatballs the night or morning before. When you’re ready to eat them, just stick them in the sauce and reheat on the stove top.
Here’s how to make it!
1 cup french (green) lentils
2 cups water
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 T garlic powder
1/2 cup crated Parmesan cheese
1/2-2/3 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp black pepper
1 can marinara sauce (26.5 oz)
1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
Prepare the lentils. I did this by cooking them in the crock pot on low for 3 hours. You can also do this by cooking it on a low simmer on the stovetop for 30 minutes, or until tender. To prepare the lentils, pour the lentils, water, onions and garlic powder into your crock pot or sauce pan. Cook until tender and water has been fully absorbed by the lentils.
Allow them to cool. I prepared them in the afternoon and let them sit in the refrigerator for an hour or so.
Once cool, mix egg, Parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce and pepper in a large bowl. Using hands, mush the mixture, completely mixing all the ingredients together. If the mixture isn’t fully combining, add more of the bread crumbs until it is more formed.
Preheat oven to 350.
Breaking off small pieces, roll into the size of a large golf ball. Place them into greased Pyrex pan. Line the meatballs up allowing space for baking.
Bake for 20 minutes, turning half way. (All this can be done the day or morning before and kept in the fridge until ready to use.)
In a large skillet, pour the marinara sauce and allow the sauce to simmer. Add the meatballs and continue to simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Place the bread on a cookie sheet and set the oven to low broil. Allow the bread to toast for a few minutes before adding the meatballs.
Once the bread is toasted, add the meatballs and sauce, sprinkling the Mozzarella over top. Put the cookie sheet back in the oven and allow the sandwich to broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden.