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Italian Lentil Quinoa ‘Meat’balls

These vegan meatballs taste so similar to regular meatballs that you won’t even miss the meat!

They’re jam-packed with flavor and texture, they’re seriously delicious. They’re made of simple ingredients that taste delicious and are good for you!

What You Need

  • 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 Tbsp water (or you can use ground chia seeds)
  • 3/4 cup uncooked green lentils, rinsed & drained well
  • 1/4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained (I’ve also used cooked cauliflower in a pinch)
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds, ground to a fine powder (or pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats (or gluten-free bread crumbs)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Italian seasonings
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

What You Do

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cook the quinoa and lentils separately, set aside.
  3. Combine flaxseed and water in a small bowl, stir and set in the fridge to setup for 10 minutes.
  4. Blend the sunflower seeds to a fine powder.
  5. Add the cooked lentils, sunflower seed powder, onions, basil, Italian seasonings, oats, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and cooked quinoa to a food processor. Pulse it a few times until everything is combined. You want a chunky consistency, be careful not to blend the mixture too much.
  6. Pour the flax egg into the mixture and pulse it a few more times to mix it in.
  7. The mixture will be slightly sticky. I’ve found that the easiest way to mold the meatballs is to roll a heaping spoonful of the mixture in between your two palms. Try to keep your fingers out of the way because the mixture will stick to them and get messy. Form the mixture into 10-12 golfball-sized (or 24 mini) “meatballs.”
  8. Place the lentil meatballs on a parchment lined tray and bake for 15-20 (flipping once halfway through) or until both sides are lightly browned.
  9. Serve “meatballs” over pasta or zucchini noodles with your favorite marinara sauce.

Optional: I like to put the meatballs in a pan with marinara sauce over low heat to keep them warm. They absorb all the flavors of the sauce and taste even better!

Recipe Notes: Use gluten-free breadcrumbs or oats to make the recipe gluten-free.
Optional: Right before baking the meatballs, you can brush a light layer of olive oil over each meatball to give them a little more color while roasting. However, if you use the oil it won’t be considered plant-based anymore.

  • Sara Snelling, from All on the Table

    Nutrition Consultant & Culinary Educator

    Sara is a nutrition consultant and culinary educator with a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics. She has had a lifelong passion for culinary art, nutrition and the holistic sensory experience of food. Her expertise in the field of dietetics and nutrition includes extensive education, training and experience in culinary, agricultural, clinical and community applications. This broad and deep acumen provides the foundation for her practice. Her professional mission is to enable sustainable change in dietary lifestyle habits as a means to affect and improve physical and emotional well-being. She finds joy in exploring the wholly sensory experience of food.

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