Spaghetti and Lentil Meatballs- A delicious and vegetarian spin on a comforting Italian classic. Find out why I started using healthy lentils in weeknight meals!
A couple of months ago, my husband Frederick started going through a vegetarian and vegan phase. He has limited meat to the bare minimum, and it has been really impressive to watch. I have tried to get involved here and there by making more meatless meals that will help him stay on track.
I decided that there had to be a million different recipes I could develop that would assist him on this path. Lentils definitely fit the ticket as an ingredient that would be perfect for recipe experimentation. I have always loved lentils in every possible form.
Because I’m now entering my third trimester of pregnancy, lentils has been on my weekly grocery list without fail. Baby Cakes and I are getting such an incredible boost of protein and folate with every single serving. It is also an insanely high source of fiber but also happens to be low in fat and calories. It is the ultimate nutritional win if you ask me. If you have some gluten free peeps, lentils are the way to go since they are naturally gluten free.
Another plus is lentils only takes 15 minutes to cook. No need to do the super long soak method you may be used to with other pulses. You can make a decision to cook lentils on the fly and come away with a dinner on the table all in the same night.
I have been known to eat several bowls of lentil soup in one sitting or devour a plate of lentil curry without a thought. Those are the tried and true recipes, and we probably know them well. However, I knew there had to be more inventive ways of introducing lentils into more classic meat filled recipes that would not only taste as good as the original, but might even taste better.
Enter my Spaghetti and Lentil Meatballs recipe, which needs to be the very next dinner recipe you make. These meatballs are seriously everything!! I begin by cooking my lentils in vegetable stock to really start infusing them with a ton of flavor. Then I grind them with sauteed mushrooms, onions, and garlic. The taste is unreal. Next, I get all those incredible italian flavors in the mix so they taste like real meatballs.
This recipe makes a ton of lentil meatballs so if you have a bunch left over, freeze them and unthaw for another dinner later in the week. Toss these on top of your favorite marinara sauce and pasta, and you are in for the most comforting spaghetti dish you have ever had. Trust me when I say you won’t miss the meat. I’m a true blue carnivore, and I can totally vouch for that.
Disclosure: I partnered with Lentils.org for this Spaghetti and Lentil Meatballs recipe post, but all opinions expressed here are my own. Thank you for the partnership.
- 2 cups green lentils
- 4 cups vegetable stock
- ⅓ cup olive oil, divided
- ¾ cup white mushrooms, chopped
- ½ chopped onion
- 2 cloves chopped garlic
- 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
- 2 large eggs
- Marinara sauce, spaghetti pasta and parsley for serving
- Add lentils and vegetable stock to medium sized pot over medium high heat. Bring to boil then reduce to low and cook for 15 more minutes. Drain and set aside.
- Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to large pan over medium heat. Next add mushrooms and onions and saute until tender then add garlic for 45 seconds to cook then remove from heat.
- Add lentils, mushrooms, onions, and garlic to food processor and pulse on high until well blended and lentils have broken down somewhat (be careful not to over pulse until it turns to mush).
- Pour lentil mixture into large bowl then stir in breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, worcestershire sauce and red flakes until well mixed. Next add eggs one at a time to moisten mixture then form meatballs with your hands.
- Add remaining olive oil into pan over medium heat and cook meatballs browning on each side. Remove from oil to drain on paper towels then serve over marinara sauce and pasta and garnish with parsley.