Things have been a little quiet around here lately, as I’m investing all of my energies into some exciting things behind the scenes (including a whole new branding, website design, aaand another secret project I’m pouring my heart into!). I can’t wait to reveal it all to you, so stay tuned, I’ll have some exciting updates to announce very soon!
We’ve been having an unseasonal heat wave this past week and a half, but the temperatures have finally dropped down to normal a couple days ago, making it appropriate again for me to share the recipe for these cozy lentil/veggie “meatballs”.
I’ve been playing with vegan meatballs for a little while, experimenting with different veggies, grains, nuts and seeds, to finally settle on this tasty version. The ball has a nice meaty texture (oh hey mushrooms!) and is packed with flavours. The simple tomato and coconut sauce is the perfect little coat to dress these babies up. The sauce is lightly creamy and so comforting. The tomatoes alone are super flavourful, but the addition of a few toasted spices makes it even more special.
You’ll see very few store-bought ingredients in the recipes I share on this blog, as I try to make most of them from scratch whenever I can. But one that I’ll probably always buy is canned tomatoes. I admire those who do it, but for me, the project of canning my own tomatoes seems way too ambitious, especially when I know that there are some high quality, organic ones available out there. Let’s face it, they’re super convenient and totally help minimize prep time.
I’ve been using Muir Glen’s products for years now and they’re my go-to for any recipe that calls for diced or crushed tomatoes. They’re rich, super flavourful, and made from 100% organic ingredients. I particularly love their fire-roasted tomatoes – which I use in my favourite butternut squash chili. I usually buy them at Bulk Barn, but you can also find them in the natural foods section at all Sobeys and Whole Foods, and in most Loblaws stores too.
I hope you enjoy. Happy October, friends! xxThis post is sponsored by Muir Glen Organic. All opinions are my own, and I truly love their products. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make The Green Life possible!
Notes: The lentil mixture can be prepared a few hours or even a day before, and the balls cooked right before dinnertime. This recipe is a great way to use up leftover cooked lentils in the fridge.
UPDATE (February 25, 2018): After a few readers mentioned that they had trouble forming the balls, I re-tested the recipe again to make sure it was foolproof. I noticed that I had initially forgot to mention that the lentils should be completely cooled (not hot) before using. If you cook your lentils right before making these meatballs, run them under very cold water to make sure they’re cold. If you’re still having trouble forming the balls, you can add a bit of flour (such as oat or chickpea flour), breadcrumbs, or more sunflower seeds.
Lentil Veggie "Meatball" with Tomato Coconut Sauce
For the spice mix
- 1 tsp coriander seeds
- ½ tsp fennel seeds
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
For the balls
- 2 cups cooked and cooled green or French lentils (about ¾ cup raw*)
- 2 tbsp coconut or olive oil for cooking
- 1 onion diced
- 8 oz cremini or white mushrooms sliced
- ½ cup grated carrot
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- 2 cloves garlic roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp psyllium husks or ground flax seeds
- 2 tsp tamari
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- ¾ tsp sea salt
- Black pepper to taste
- Optional: A couple tablespoons of breadcrumbs/panko or oat flour or chickpea flour
For the sauce
- 1 28 oz can (796 ml) Muir Glen Organic Crushed Tomatoes with Basil
- 1 cup coconut milk (a little more than half a can)
- 2 tsp coconut sugar or other type of sugar (optional)
- A big pinch of sea salt
- Your choice of accompaniment (brown rice, quinoa, pasta or spiralized vegetables)
- Fresh parsley finely chopped
Place the coriander, fennel and mustard seeds in a small skillet and toast on low heat for a few minutes, until fragrant (be careful not to burn them). Let cool slightly and transfer to a mortar and pestle. Crush the seeds, then add the smoked paprika, turmeric and cinnamon. Set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions and mushrooms. Cook and stir until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms slightly golden, about 5-6 minutes. Press the grated carrot in a tissue paper to remove excess moisture. Add it to the pan and cook about 30 seconds more. Remove from the heat and let cool.
In your food processor, place the sunflower seeds, cooled lentils, mushroom mixture, garlic, psyllium or flax, tamari, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, black pepper, and 1 ½ tsp of the reserved spice mix.
Pulse a few times until everything is combined, but keeping some bigger chunks for texture. Taste and adjust seasoning by adding more vinegar/tamari or salt as needed. If the texture is still too wet/soft, add more sunflower seeds or oat or chickpea flour, or breadcrumbs.
Using a cookie scoop, scoop out a bit of mixture and roll into balls. You should get about 25-26 balls total.
Place balls in the fridge to set for at least 15 minutes. (You could form the balls and cook them right away but I find that placing them in the fridge beforehand makes them hold together better).
For the sauce
Place the crushed tomatoes in a medium saucepan and warm over low heat. Add the remaining spice mix, sugar and sea salt. Stir in coconut milk, and let simmer until warm.
Cook and serve
Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the meatballs, turning them often until all sides are browned, about 7-8 minutes total.
To serve, top your grain, pasta or veggies with a few meatballs and pour over the tomato-coconut sauce. Sprinkle with fresh parsley. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.
*To cook the lentils: Place ¾ cup of lentils in a strainer and rinse under running water. Place lentils in a saucepan and cover with fresh water (water should reach about 2 inches above the lentils). Cover and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils and tender, about 15-20 minutes (try not to overcook them, you don't want them to be mushy). Strain and let cool completely.