Quinoa “Meatless” Meatballs

We’ve been trying to eat vegan a couple meals a week so I decided I wanted to try lentils.  I’ve never had them but thought I’d give them a try.  I found this ‘meatless’ meatball recipe here and thought it sounded pretty good.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup dry quinoa, pre-rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup cooked green lentils, well drained
  • ¼ cup diced red bell pepper
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup bread crumbs or whole wheat panko bread crumbs(add additional bread crumbs if the meatballs need to be firmer and aren’t holding together well)
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped flat parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon freshly chopped oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Sea salt to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper(I skipped because I’m not a fan)
  • 1 egg white (for vegan add 2-3 teaspoons water instead)(I did the vegan version)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

  • Add pre-rinsed quinoa and water to a medium pot, cover, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking 15 minutes or until water is completely absorbed.
  • In the meantime, in a large non-stick skillet add 1 tablespoon olive oil, heat to medium-low and sauté diced onions and bell pepper until tender about 4 minutes, add garlic, parsley and oregano and sauté one additional minute.
  • Remove quinoa from heat and allow to rest 10 minutes. Press down on quinoa with a paper towel to remove any remaining water.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine sautéed onion, garlic, parsley and oregano along with remaining ingredients, except oil. Use either a potato masher or fork and mash the ingredients until the lentils are well mashed. Using your hands, shape into 1 ½ balls, place in a large bowl, cover and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours. (I didn’t have time to chill, so I skipped this and they worked fine, just maybe didn’t stay together quite as well as they would have)
  • Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to a large non-stick skillet, heat to medium-low and add quinoa (meatless) meatballs. Brown meatballs, turn over and brown on the other side. Cook until browned and heated through, about 16 minutes. Remove from skillet and drain on a paper towel.

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  • If you plan to serve these (meatless) meatballs with marinara, add to the marinara sauce, gently turn to coat. Simmer until hot and serve over pasta.

TIPS:

  • For another vegan version:  Use vegan egg replacer or 1 tbsp of flaxmeal mixed with 3 tbsp water rather than the 2-3 teaspoons straight water.
  • Make sure you start cooking your lentils right away, I forgot about them until the end and they take awhile to cook.
  • We just ate ours by themselves covered in marinara sauce and they were delicious!

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