Happy Monday! This week is a good week: it’s my last week of classes as a Sophomore. I can’t believe I’m almost halfway done with my college career. Time really does fly. In celebration, I’m not afraid to say that this dish is one of the best I have cooked since I started Stovetop Story. Though I don’t usually have a set of preferred recipes, this may be one of the best culinary surprises I have had so far.
As mentioned in the title, these “meatballs” have no meat, but are made with cooked lentils instead. And as surprising as it may sound, you do not miss the meat when you eat them. And trust me, I love meat! But I try to limit my carnivorous consumptions, and honestly this dish just doesn’t need any. The “meatballs” recipe comes from Sprouted Kitchen, one of the best food blogs out there in my opinion, and the sauce was pure inspiration from what was left in my fridge. I absolutely love it cold, as it gives you a wonderful mix of textures and flavors with the warm rest of the dish. If you’re still skeptic about these meatless “meatballs”, go ahead and try them for yourself! They are well worth the work and you won’t want to go back to regular ones any time soon. Bon appétit!
Total time: 50 minutes
Ingredients for the “meatballs”:
- 1 cup cooked lentils
- 6 tbsp ricotta
- 2 tbsp grated parmesan
- 1 egg (lightly beaten)
- 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
- fresh parsley
- fresh thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
Ingredients for the Tomato-Pepper Sauce:
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- a drizzle of olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Using a food processor, mash the lentils until you reach a “paste-like” consistency.
- In a large bowl, mix the lentils, ricotta, parmesan, egg, herbs, and salt & pepper. Add the breadcrumbs and let the mixture sit for about 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Meanwhile, make the Tomato-Red Pepper sauce. In a blender (or food processor), put the tomatoes, diced red pepper, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Pulse until the mixture becomes smooth and foamy (if you don’t like the vegetables’ skin, you can pour the sauce through a sieve).
- Next, form the “meatballs” by rolling the batter between your hands. Place them on a baking sheet previously greased, or lined with parchment paper. Brush the “meatballs” with olive oil and bake for about 20 minutes, turning them around half-way through.
- A minute before they are done, heat up the cooked quinoa in the microwave. To serve, pour some sauce in a plate, add the quinoa over it, and top with “meatballs”, another serving of sauce, and fresh parmesan and parsley. Enjoy!
TIP: You can also serve them with pasta, mashed potatoes, or mixed greens. Additionally, they are delicious with pesto!