[This post is sponsored by my wonderful friends at Bob’s Red Mill! We’re using their Whole Ground Flaxseed Meal for these Sun Dried Tomato Vegan Meatballs.]
Okay, not meatballs. They’re lentilballs! But even as a vegetarian-almost-vegan, lentilballs sounds weirder than meatballs.
So vegan meatballs are happening! And I am just so excited.
Remember we were doing the whole being obsessed with carbs thing? Yeah, still happening. So vegan meatballs were inevitable.
Growing up in an Italian American household, meatballs were an absolute staple. Spaghetti + meatballs + red sauce = best meal ever as a kid. Actually, my favorite meal as a kid was pasta for this very reason. I used to love running home after school knowing we’d be stuffing our faces full of spaghetti and meatballs in just a few short hours.
I think it was because it always made me feel so FULL. A bowl full of carbs and protein…pretty sure it’s one of the most filling meals ever.
Luckily, as a vegan or vegetarian, we can still have all of that carby-protein goodness. And we can have it via epic Sun Dried Tomato Vegan Meatballs.
I’m just so excited about this recipe. I’ve seriously grown to love veggie burgers and veggie meatballs. While I’m seriously not a fan of manufactured fake meat, I’m a firm believer that you can make meat substitutes that are full of whole, healthy foods and that are 100% undeniably delicioso.
These vegan balls (still trying to find the right word for these things) are awesome. And they’re seriously simple to throw together! The base starts out like my Lentil Pecan Taco Meat with…lentils and pecans! The lentils are chewy, and the pecans give a little texture to these meatballs. I h a t e when I get a veggie meatball and it’s complete mush on the inside. So not my idea of a good vegan food experience. That’s why I always add some sort of nut to my veggie burgers and/or balls.
As for the flava: sun dried tomatoes, parsley, garlic, shallot, and oregano. So like, a lot. There’s a lot happening here, but it works together perfectly! Sun dried tomatoes are super sweet – I swear they’re like candy -, so a little goes a long way. And this is a great time of year to use up the rest of your summer herbs, so fresh parsley is a MUST.
And to hold it all together? Ground. Flax. Yep, super hippy stuff, but it works so well. I use and recommend and love Bob’s Red Mill’s Whole Ground Flaxseed Meal because it’s super fresh and gels beautifully for maximum binding power. I love the stuff for veggie burgers and balls! We’ll also use some breadcrumbs. Totally optional, but the balls really do stay together better when you add them.
Idea! If you have a loved one away at college right now (or maybe some younger kiddos in school), I couldn’t imagine a more delicious way to show that you love them than with a big ol’ bowl of spaghetti and vegan/veggie/lentil/veg/meatballs. Yum yum.
Sun Dried Tomato Vegan Meatballs
|Prep:||Cook:||Yield: serves 3-5 people||Total:|
Tender vegan meatballs made from lentils and pecans! Easily made gluten free, and a quick, filling, and healthy dinner option!
- 1 Tbsp. Bob's Red Mill Ground Flaxseed
- 5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 2 shallots, minced
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 cup green lentils, cooked according to package instructions*
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- salt + pepper
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 small handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped
- 2 Tbsp. sun dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 5-6 Tbsp. breadcrumbs**
- for topping: vegan parmesan, fresh parsley, and a jar of your fave tomato sauce
- Mix flaxseed with 3 Tbsp. warm water in a small bowl. Set aside for about 10 minutes, stirring once or twice in that timeframe.
- Meanwhile, add 1 Tbsp. olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat (you'll use this skillet for browning the meatballs later). Add shallots and garlic (and optional red pepper flakes), and sauté until fragrant and cooked through, about 2 minutes. Add to a food processor.
- Add lentils, chopped pecans, oregano, parsley, sun dried tomato, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, salt, and pepper to the food processor as well. Pulse until the mixture resembled ground meat - you want it a little chunky and not processed into mush (see post for a picture).
- Add that mixture to a bowl and mix in the flaxseed mixture and breadcrumbs. The mixture should be wet, but you should easily be able to form balls with damp hands. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary.
- Form 10-15 meatballs with the mixture, and place them in the fridge to set up for 40-50 minutes.
- After they've chilled, add 1 Tbsp. olive oil to your skillet over medium heat. Add your meatballs and brown them on each side, taking care not to burn. You can add another Tbsp. oil if needed - I actually used an olive oil sprayer which worked really well.
- If you're ready to serve immediately, cover with sauce and serve with hot pasta. Otherwise, store your meatballs in an air-tight container in the fridge until ready to serve. You can heat them in warm pasta sauce or in a skillet with some oil.
*For additional texture and preventing the all-too-common "mushy" veggie ball consistency, I like to undercook my lentils so that they're al dente.
**Use gluten free breadcrumbs if necessary. Also, this is optional but hiiiiighly recommended. The meatballs stay together way better with it.
A special thanks goes to Bob’s Red Mill for sponsoring this post! Check out more delicious healthy recipes, snag coupons, and find stores near you at BobsRedMill.com!
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