Lentil “Meat” 3 Ways, #1 Italian Style Neatballs

This lentil meat is very versatile and keeps well in the refrigerator for 7 days and will freeze well also. I have tried a few faux processed meats. They can be helpful as you transition to cooking vegan meals but they contain highly processed ingredients and I don’t like the tastes or textures. I challenged myself to create three different meals using the basic lentil meat recipe below.  Stay tuned for my Apple Breakfast Sausage and Asian Neatball recipes coming soon.

Lentil “Meat” Basic recipe

2 cups dry lentils

1 cup diced onions

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves 

1/2 cup diced carrot

4 tablespoons ground flax seed

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast 

1 tablespoon Trader Joe’s Mushroom Unami seasoning 

1 tablespoon smoked paprika 

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar or vinegar of choice

1/2 teaspoon salt, adjust as needed

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions:

Cook lentils in salted water for 30 minutes until soft but not mushy. Drain and cool. Microwave carrots in 1/4 cup of water for 3 minutes until soft. Drain.

Combine all ingredients and pulse in a food processor until the ingredients come together in a finely chopped consistency but not a paste. You want to see some formed lentils and bits of carrot. Makes about 4 cups.

Italian Neatballs

1 1/2 cups lentil meat

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

1 tablespoon crushed fennel seeds

1 tsp dried oregano

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Chill in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Form into 2 inch balls. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes or until crispy browned, turn once. If topping a pizza, make them smaller and leave them untoasted.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve with zucchini noodles or any pasta noodle and top with marinara sauce.
Sauté fresh tomato and basil in olive oil and toss with .
Serve as an appetizer or tapas with spicy chimichuri, red or green salsa.
Make a pizza! I used vegan almond cheese, sundried tomatoes and spinach. Use any combination of pizza sauce and thinly sliced vegetables or fruit.

I like this brand of almond cheese. Look closely at the ingredients on vegan cheeses. Some are made with oils and no natural foods. This brand has almonds and cheese culture as the prominent ingredients. Whole Foods, Raley’s and Nature’s Grocer carries this brand. Nature’s was the least expensive in Reno.

I’ve added new recipes to my Pinterest Vegan and Vegetarian Board.
So many ideas and so little time. Yum

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