This vegetarian meatballs (meat-less-balls) have a very good consistency that ends up being quite similar to the real meatballs.
The key of favor is in the sauce, in this case a carrot a white wine sauce. Another alternative could be just eat the balls dipping them on hummus or yogurt sauce for example. Here my recipe for fast hummus if you want to try
In case you prefer to make them vegan, you can substitute the egg for any egg replacement (such as ground flaxseeds).
Let me know if you try them and don’t forget to follow me on instagram at The Mediterranean Table.
Also if you want to learn more, continue reading!
- 360 g of lentils weight already cooked
- 75 g of almonds or other dried fruit
- 200 g brown rice or black rice or buckwheat weight already cooked
- A handful of spinach, parsley or coriander
- 1 egg
- Olive oil for frying or not if using the oven
- Nutritional Yeast or mushroom powder for flavour Optional
- 2 chopped onions
- 2 cloves of garlic crushed
- 50 ml of extra virgin olive oil
- 500 g carrot cut into small cubes
- 500 ml of sweet white wine muscat, white port, etc.
- Water or vegetable broth as much as needed for the desired sauce texture
- Cook the pre-soaked legumes and rice, until they are very tender. Drain and reserve. You can also used canned lentils.
- Clean and chop the spinach or herbs.
- In a bowl mix all the previous ingredients with the egg almond flour and the seasoning
- If the mixture is too runny, add some breadcrumbs.
- If, on the other hand, the mixture is too dry and does not stick, add an additional egg yolk. Note: it helped for me to mash the mixture a bit with a fork, or squish it with my hands.
- Shape into balls the size of a walnut. Coat the bottom of a skillet with olive oil and fry the meatballs in batches until golden brown. Otherwise bake in the oven until they are a bit browned (around 10-15min)
- Chop the onion, transfer it to a saucepan with the bottom covered in olive oil and sauté until transparent.
- Add the peeled and chopped garlic, give them a few turns.
- Add the chopped carrot, sweet white wine and water or broth. Cook it as necessary so that the carrots are tender (about 20 min)
- Blend with a mixer to obtain a more or less fine sauce. Correct seasoning and texture if needed.
- Combine the fried meatballs with the sauce in a saucepan and boil it all together over low heat for the last 10 minutes so that the balls take on the flavor, or simply serve the meatballs over the sauce.
Lentils are full of satiating fiber, good-quality protein, and health-promoting phytochemicals.
Importance of soaking legumes:
One clear advantage, is that legumes that are soaked take much less time to cook and absorbe less cooking water. In this manner is easier to calculate how much water to add
The second advantage is a nutritional one. Here is more information coming from Pick up Limes, one of my favorites plant based blogs.
Polyphenols have been recognized as the most abundant source of antioxidants in our diet. However, they bind to positively charged mineral and proteins, making them unavailable for absorption by the human body (see this, this, or this publication for more information). Reducing levels of tannins and polyphenols through soaking enhances the body’s ability to absorb minerals such as iron, zinc and calcium, as well as proteins in foods including chickpeas, mung beans, lentils and peas.