On my quest to introduce more vegetarian recipes during the week, I've discovered lentils. These guys are so cool! First of all, I had no idea that they are so aromatic. When you cook them, by bringing to a boil in 3 parts liquid to 1 part lentils and then simmering until all the liquid is gone, they smell like they've been pre-seasoned. I can't quite place the smell, but it's yummy. As for taste, they are a similar consistency to peas or lima beans, and again, have sort of a natural herb-y flavor. I highly recommend trying them. If you don't know what to put them with, just try them first as a side dish! As always in finding healthy recipes that you'll actually eat, I can't tell you what you're going to like! You just gotta try things! So anyhoots, We first tried them as a side dish to some sautéed shrimp with a little barbecue sauce. Weird, I know, but it actually was pretty dang delish. I know that these little guys are pretty versatile, so after realizing we like them and wanted to do more meals with them, I started doing google searches for lentil recipes. I came across this one, which happens to be vegan. I do not plan on giving up cheese or eggs, even though I'm trying to reduce my cheese serving size from GOBS to something a bit more heart healthy, so I went ahead and adapted it to something that fit my tastes as well as what I had in my pantry. I'm not a huge cheffie, so I don't usually keep fresh herbs on hand. Dried ones do me just fine. The original recipe also called for a "flax egg" (i.e. vegan egg)...I'm gonna be honest, this type of fancy vegan terminology makes me nervous. I am not well versed in the kitchen or how things interact, so I have zero idea as to whether this is for taste, or to add the health benefits of flax, or if it's used as a traditional egg in meatballs would be used as a binder, so I just omitted it and decided to see what happened. The great thing about not adding a regular egg is that I could taste the mixture raw before forming it into balls without any fear of diarrhea...and it turned out damn delicious, so I didn't worry about an egg, flax or otherwise. Here ya go!
Cook 1/2 cup dry lentils in 1 1/2 cup either water or stock. (I used water)
Let cool enough so that you can handle them., then add to a food processor with:
1 diced shallot and 3 cloves diced garlic, sautéed. (To sauté, just plop it in a frying pan with 1 tsp olive oil until fragrant)
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1/4 tsp dried parsley
A few shakes of Italian seasoning
Salt/pepper to taste
Blend 'er up. Not pulverize. Just enough to get it blended together, as shown below.
Form into balls, obvi, then heat a frying pan over medium/hi heat and coat with about a tablespoon of olive oil. They aren't going to be super firm, so be gentle with them and once you set them in the pan, swirl them around just a tiny bit so that they don't stick. Sear on all sides. Again, they aren't meat, peeps,...they are going to be delicate :). Next time I may try them baked, but I'm gonna be honest, I really like the crispy outsides, so we'll see.
While all that's going on, get working on some Zoodles or healthy (i.e. not white) pasta and top it all with some pasta sauce and of course, more parmesan cheese. I used 100% whole wheat rotini and Newman's Organic pasta sauce. It had a buttload less sugar than the traditional store brand. Enjoy!
Hi! I'm Andrea Cummings. I am passionate about living a healthy lifestyle that I can MAINTAIN and that still lets me feel like I'm not being deprived. I like to exercise, but I also love to eat (nachos!). My main focus is to be healthy, not skinny, and to help others do the same! I love Jesus, but I also say fuck a lot, so if you're offended, I may not be the gal for you.