Lentil Meatballs Recipe

If you are like us, you may be trying to cut back on your consumption of meat. We've realized that not every meal needs to be meat focused. Recipe developer and health coach Miriam Hahn has some great meatless recipes, and this lentil meatballs recipe is the perfect example. "I love serving these with pasta and marinara," Hahn says. "They are also great over rice!"

Lentils are a form of plant based protein, according to Healthline, so they make a natural substitute for meat in meatless meals. We love lentils in vegan sloppy joes and lentil shepherd's pie, too. Without the fattiness of meat in these meatballs, instead using lentils, we wondered how the texture would turn out. Fortunately, Hahn notes that "this texture is very similar to traditional meatballs. The main difference is they are a little more delicate and do break apart more easily." She goes on to note that "when serving, I usually have my pasta and sauce mixed together and top with the meatballs versus having the meatballs stored in the sauce. This helps them stay together better." We appreciate the tip!

Gather your ingredients for lentil meatballs

To make these lentil meatballs, we need to start by gathering our ingredients. For this recipe, we will need ground flax seeds, water, brown lentils, red onion, mushrooms, Italian parsley, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, oil, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, garlic granules, salt, and pepper.

Blend everything up in a food processor

First, preheat your oven to 350 F. Now, most meatballs require a binding agent like an egg to be used to help hold their shape. In this recipe, Hahn uses a flax egg. To create the flax egg, start by grinding up flax seeds if they are not already groundup. Then in a small bowl, add the flax seeds and the water. Hahn advises to stir gently, but then allow this mixture to sit for "about 10 minutes and then it is gelled and ready to go."

Next, we will add the ingredients to the food processor. Go ahead and add the gelatinous flax egg, the cooked lentils, the onion, mushrooms, parsley, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt, and pepper. Pulse this mixture to combine. Be careful not to overmix or blend. Form the mixture into 25 to 27 small balls using a tablespoon measure or spoon.

Sear the meatballs in a pan

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining oil to the pan. Once hot, add the lentil meatballs and cook for about five minutes, making sure to turn regularly to brown all sides. Hahn notes that you may need to work in batches in order to have room for all of the meatballs.

Bake the meatballs and serve

Place the browned lentil meatballs on a large baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Once the oven is preheated, place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Remove them from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes in order to harden up further.

As Hahn noted earlier, these meatballs pair wonderfully with pasta or rice — vegetarian spaghetti and meatballs, anyone? As for leftovers, simply store them in a glass container in the fridge, and reheat them in the microwave when you want to enjoy them again.

Lentil Meatballs Recipe
5 from 40 ratings
If you want to enjoy meatballs without the meat part, this lentil meatball recipe will help you do it!
Prep Time
Cook Time
pasta with lentil meatballs
Total time: 45 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed (flax meal)
  • 2 ½ tablespoons water
  • 2 cups cooked brown lentils
  • ¼ cup red onion, diced
  • 1 cup mushrooms, diced
  • ¼ cup Italian parsley
  • 3 tablespoons panko or breadcrumbs
  • 5 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic granules
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. If you are using whole flax seed, grind it in an herb or coffee grinder. If you have ground flax seed (flax meal) you can skip this step.
  3. Add the ground flax to a small bowl and add the water. Stir and set aside. It will form a gel like substance.
  4. While that is forming a gel, chop the onion, mushrooms, and parsley.
  5. Now add the flax mixture, lentils, onion, mushrooms, parsley, panko, Parmesan, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt, and pepper to a large food processor. Pulse 5 or 6 times to blend the mixture but don't over mix into a paste.
  6. Using a tablespoon scoop or measuring spoon, form the mixture into 25 to 27 small balls.
  7. Heat up the remaining oil in a saute pan at medium high heat, and add the meatballs. Cook on medium high heat for 5 minutes, turning to brown all sides. You may have to work in batches.
  8. When they are done browning, place the meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 25 minutes.
  9. Let them cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. They will harden as they sit.
  10. Serve and enjoy. If adding to a sauce, handle delicately as they can easily break apart.
Calories per Serving 170
Total Fat 7.5 g
Saturated Fat 1.7 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 5.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 17.4 g
Dietary Fiber 6.2 g
Total Sugars 2.2 g
Sodium 260.6 mg
Protein 9.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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