The Best Meatless Meatball Recipe, made from French lentils, quinoa, mushrooms, veggies, nuts and a kick of Chipotle seasoning, is for everyone.
Healthy Meatless Meatballs For Everyone
A healthy meatless meatball, is not just for vegetarians or folks on a special diet, they are for anyone who enjoys food with flavor and substance.
Even a meat lover will be fooled by these healthy meatless meatballs because they take on the dense texture from lentils, which when ground look like meat.
Meatless For The Health Of It
Several years ago my daughter stopped eating meat because she had developed some digestion issues and decided to give her body a break.
Who’d a thought the meatless meatballs would disappear first, and no… she didn’t eat them all!
WHAT IS A MEATLESS MEATBALL?
I’m always amazed that nearly every country around the world has some form of a meatball, seafood-ball or legume-ball.
When I discovered how substantial legumes could be, when cooked with lots of herbs and spices and then ground, they looked almost like ground meat.
A meatless meatball is not just made with veggies, it’s just not made with meat, and it is loaded with texture, flavor and nutrients for healthy heart conscience folks.
HOW TO MAKE VEGETARIAN MEATBALLS
Once a legume is chosen to use as the substantial ingredient, the rest is just like making any other meatball.
I often use French lentils, simply because they cook fast and when ground they really look like any ground meat.
The addition of walnuts in the mixture adds another layer of texture and meaty flavor to the lentils.
You might also like using red kidney beans for making the meatballs, particularly since they resemble the color of beef or lamb.
However, when using red beans, they do need a little more prep-time cooking, so just make a big pot, save half for your chili and the other half for meatless meatballs, or buy canned.
Making Meatless Meatballs Has Three Easy Steps Before Assembling:
- Cook the lentils – or use canned kidney beans.
- Saute the vegetable.
- Puree the legumes and vegetables together and shape.
WHAT SAUCE GOES WITH MEATLESS MEATBALLS?
While a sauce is not really necessary with these yummy veggie meatballs, it sure does increase the many ways you might want to serve them.
A sweet and sour sauce would be great, then serve the meatballs over rice.
A favorite tomato sauce, then serve the meatballs with pasta.
Definitely consider tossing the meatless meatballs with a pesto and serving them over a pizza dough.
WHAT MAKES A VEGETARIAN MEATLESS MEATBALL HEALTHY?
As much as meat is loved by most, myself included, meat really is more difficult for the body to digest and process.
I learned this from observing the struggles my daughter has had with digesting meat.
Children also would benefit to be introduced to healthy plant based options while they are young.
Their little taste buds are educated early, and it will become easier to sneak healthy veggies in that meatball too.
Healthy meatless meatballs are loaded with herbs, vegetables and lots of flavor.
Making this a great choice for ‘meatless Monday’, and a good practice to adjust to while young.
For sure, as we age, our bodies will eventually tell us we should have been doing this long ago!
Meatless Meatballs and Their Cost
It’s a no brainer, when it comes to softening the blow to a grocery budget, that meat is pricey, even ground meat.
At an average of $4.99 per pound (2019), for most ground meats (now as high as $11.99 for ground lamb since 2020), it’s a good time to make a few adjustments.
Comparatively, an 8-ounce bag of dried lentils costs under $3.00, and makes double the amount of meatballs.
Now that, is just plain smart!
- Vegetable broth
- French lentils
- Quinoa or oats
- Olive oil
- Tomato paste
- Fresh herbs
- Chipotle seasoning
- Egg substitute or an egg
- Cutting board
- Food processor – even a small, affordable one makes the grinding of ingredients and the need to puree, fast and easy. This is one I sent to each of my kids when they started their own kitchens.
- Chopping knife
- Measuring cup
- Measuring spoons
- Pot with a lid
- Slotted spoon
Best Meatless Meatballs
- Sheet pan
- Food processor or blender
- 2-3 cups Broth store bought or homemade
- 3/4 cup French lentils dry not canned
- 1/4 cup Quinoa or Oats uncooked
- 1/4 cup Olive oil
- 1 Onion, medium finely chopped
- 1 cup Carrots finely chopped
- 1 cup Mushrooms finely chopped
- 2 Garlic cloves crushed
- 1 tbsp Tomato paste or Beet Ketchup
- 2 cups Corn canned or frozen/thawed
- 1/4 cup Fresh Parsley or Oregano
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 tsp Chipotle seasoning
- 1/4 cup Walnuts
- 1 Egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute
- Place broth, lentils, grain (quinoa or oats) and seasoning in a pot and simmer covered for about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. Make sure the lentils don’t dry out while cooking. Just before they are done, add the tomato paste, stir and cool. Puree in a food processor or blender.
- In a saucepan, place the olive oil, onions, mushrooms, carrots and garlic. Simmer on low until the veggies start to soften. Do not fry. Spoon 1/4 cup of the lentil puree into the veggies, cover and simmer until everything is soft. Cool.
- Place the cooled, cooked veggies in a food processor or blender with the corn, walnuts and herbs. Puree.
- Combine all of the pureed ingredients into a large bowl. Add the egg (or egg substitute), and seasonings. Stir well until the mixture comes together and can hold a form. Shape into balls, place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet (lightly oiled).
- Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
- Smoked salts or pepper add a lovely depth of flavor to the vegan meatball mixture.
- A sprinkle of vegan cheese or dairy cheese adds another element of flavor to the mixture.
- Meatless meatballs are delicious on a sandwich, atop a pizza, with a favorite pasta or eaten alone.