these tender baked lentil “meatballs” utilize pre-steamed lentils so they come together in a matter of minutes making for an easy meatless dinner or lunch the whole family will love.
The last time I was at Trader Joe’s I grabbed a box of pre-steamed lentils. These were one of my favorite affordable protein options during grad school and it had been ages since I last had some!
More than just an excellent source of protein, lentils are also rich in fiber, iron, folate and potassium. Not too shabby for an affordable and easy to prepare option, right?!
While I have no problem just tossing these lentils into pasta, salads and even grain bowls, I wanted to do something a little different this time around.
In particular, I wanted to do something hand held that maybe had a little veggie snuck into it so that I could utilize these for Owen as well as myself.
Out of that was born these deliciously easy baked lentil meatballs. I took my favorite turkey meatball recipe and with a few slight tweaks, made it a delicious meatless option.
The longest part of pulling this dish together is the 15 or so minutes that they’re baking in the oven. If that alone doesn’t make you excited about these, then the incredible aromas wafting up as you pull them together will.
Lightly sautéed garlic and shallots combine with traditional Italian flavors like oregano and parmesan for a meatless dish that will definitely measure up to even the best Italian grandmother’s high standards.
I even managed to get a minced carrot in there so if you decide not to serve this over a bed of carrot and zucchini noodles, you’re still getting some veggies!
Top with your favorite marinara sauce and some fresh parmesan cheese and you’ve got yourself a filling weeknight meal that’s loaded with nutrition!
baked lentil “meatballs”
- 1 1/2 cups steamed lentils (I used Trader Joe’s)
- 1 shallot, peeled & roughly chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled & roughly chopped
- 1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
- 1 large egg
- 1-2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 3-4 tablespoons favorite marinara sauce
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil
- Optional: carrot & zucchini noodles, marinara sauce, fresh parmesan and minced fresh oregano for serving
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- Add a drizzle of olive oil to a sauté pan over medium heat and place minced shallot and onion in, sautéing for ~2 minutes or until fragrant and lightly browned.
- Add sautéed garlic and shallots to a food processor along with carrot and process until minced.
- Add lentils, egg, oregano, marinara, breadcrumbs, cheese, a sprinkle of salt & pepper and process until well combined.
- Using a cookie scoop (my favorite meatball making trick!), scoop out lentil mixture lightly tapping into a ball (note that mixture will be very tender so do the best you can) and place onto parchment lined baking sheet. Continue until you have used up the entire lentil mixture.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until lentil meatballs are browned and firm to a gentle touch.
- Serve over your favorite pasta or up your veggie intake even more with some carrot & zucchini noodles. Top with your favorite marinara sauce, a sprinkle of fresh parmesan cheese and freshly chopped oregano.