Lentil Meatballs in Creamy Tomato Sauce

lentil meatballs

Sub freezing temps in the city are calling for warm comfort food. Specifically, "meat"balls. But, post an absolutely lovely, and absolutely delicious, family holiday in Nashville, we're craving some green. Lentils to the rescue. 

 

These lentil meatballs are hearty and savory, topped with the creamiest coconut-based tomato sauce, and spiced with smokey paprika and turmeric for a rich, deep flavor and an immune boost to boot.

 

🍝 🌿 

 

Ingredients

 

SPICE BLEND

  • 1 tsp coriander seeds

  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder

 

BALLS

  • 2 cups cooked green or French lentils (about ¾ cup raw)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 box mushrooms, sliced
  • ½ cup carrot, grated
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 2 tsp tamari (or Liquid Aminos)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • Black pepper to taste

 

SAUCE

  • 28 oz can of fire roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 14 oz can of light coconut milk 
  • a dash of coconut sugar 
  • 2 pinchs of sea salt
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp ground corriander
  • 1 tsp dried (or fresh) parsley
  • 1 tsp corn starch (thicken to taste)

 

SERVE

  • over brown rice (or quinoa, or whole wheat pasta)
  • with fresh parsley, chopped

 

 

Instructions

 

  1. Toast coriander, fennel and mustard seeds in a skillet on low for a few minutes, (careful not to burn them). Once you can smell them, let cool and transfer to a food processor/coffee grinder/pestle and mortar (whatever you have). Grind the seeds, then add the smoked paprika and turmeric. 

  2. Heat olive oil in a big skillet over medium. Add onions and mushrooms and cook down, about 5 minutes. Add in grated carrot and cook a minute more. Turn off burner and let cool.

  3. In a food processor/blender, grind sunflower seeds, cooked lentils, mushroom mixture, garlic, flax, Liquid Aminos (tamari), apple cider vinegar, sea salt, black pepper, and 2 tsp of the spice mix.

  4. Blend, keeping some bigger chunks for texture. Add in more vinegar/tamari or salt to taste.

  5. Like cookies, scoop out the mixture and roll into balls (about 25-30 total).

  6. Chill lentil balls in the fridge for about 15 minutes to firm up before frying (instructions below).

 

FOR THE SAUCE

  1. While the balls are baking, place crushed tomatoes in a medium saucepan and warm over low heat. Add remaining spice mix, coconut sugar and salt, plus additional spices listed (to add a bit more depth and complexity in the flavor). Stir in coconut milk, and let simmer until warm.

  2. Blend entire mixture in a blender on high. We used the "hot soup" setting to make it thick and creamy.

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COOK & SERVE

 

  1. Heat olive oil in your large skillet on medium. Once hot, cook the meatballs, turning them often until all sides are browned, about 5-7 minutes.

  2. To serve, top your rice, (or other grain) with a few meatballs and pour over the creamy tomato sauce. 

  3. Sprinkle with fresh parsley. 

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