Main Dish · Recipes · Vegan · Vegetarian

Vegan Lentil “meatballs” with marinara sauce

Spaghetti bolognese/meatballs is the ultimate.  Anytime I ask Mr P “what do you want for dinner?” the response is always, without a doubt, “spaghetti bolognese/meatballs”.  “Great… Again?!  Are you sure? Sure you don’t want to venture out a little… something Asian maybe?” (is my usual, come ONNNN response). Nope, no venturing. Bolognese/meatballs it is.  Again.

Well guess what, I’m too lazy to go to the shops for meat and we have a whopping great pile of lentils…  so lentil meatballs it is.  Hehe, got you this time with these vegan bad boys..!!! “Meat” balls hehehe (insert evil face).

Lentil “meatballs” with marinara sauce

makes 24 golf-sized meatballs


3 large mushrooms
2 medium carrots
1 large brown onion
4 cloves garlic
2C (+1C) cooked lentils (I used red but any will do)
1/2C nutritional yeast
1C (may need extra 1/2C) whole wheat or GF bread crumbs (I used multi-grain)
1C chickpea flour
2TB balsamic vinegar
Juice of 1/4 lemon
rind of 1/4 lemon
1tsp smoked paprika
1TB paprika
1TB oregano
1TB fresh thyme
1TB fresh basil
1tsp salt
cracked pepper to taste
1/2C shredded cheese or ricotta (optional)
2TB grapeseed oil

Marinara sauce
1kg ripe tomatoes
1 bunch fresh basil
3 cloves crushed garlic
1TB grapeseed oil
1/2tsp salt

IMG_2800 IMG_2784 


1. Preheat oven to 180C fan-forced.
2. Roughly chop onions, mushrooms, carrot and garlic. Heat 1TB oil on a non-stick frying pan over medium heat and fry gently until onions are translucent and carrots are soft (10-12mins).
3. Transfer to a blender and add all remaining ingredients except 1TB oil, bread crumbs and chickpea flour (and reserve 1C of the lentils). Pulse until well combined (does not have to be completely mushy, in fact I personally prefer it a bit chunky).
3. Transfer blended mixture into a large bowl and add remaining 1C lentils, chickpea flour and 1C breadcrumbs. Mix well. You may need to add up to an additional 1/2C of breadcrumbs but do so gradually. The mixture should be sticky enough but not such that your hands are all stuck!
4. Form golf-sized balls and place on baking paper lined baking tray. Brush tops over with the remaining 1TB oil and bake for 25-30mins. Check the meatballs to see if they are cooking evenly (my oven was a bit slow, so after 30mins I upped the temperature to 190C fan-forced and kept the meatballs in there for an additional 15mins to get them crispy (which I know is weird for meatballs but hey!)). Remember the crispier they are, the drier they are so pick one way or the other.
5. Serve meatballs atop of your favourite pasta (or alone), topped with marinara sauce (and cheese for non vegans).

Marinara sauce
1. Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan. Add garlic and cook over medium heat until translucent (about 3mins). Add chopped tomatoes, salt and torn fresh basil, lower heat, cover the pan, and cook gently for about 10mins (until tomatoes form a sauce!).


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