Enjoy easy and delicious Lentil Meatballs over pasta any day of the week! They're made with lentils, garlic and breadcrumbs, are both vegan and gluten free and are great for meal prepping.
As much as I love my lentil bolognese (and I do love it a lot), I wanted to provide another option for using lentils. Insert: lentil meatballs!
- An easy "Meatless Monday" recipe that you can prep ahead of time
- Delicious when paired with marinara sauce, on top of salad or with pesto
- Ready in under 30 minutes!
Lentils - Green or brown
Flour - All purpose/gluten free all purpose/arrowroot/any sort of neutral tasting flour
Breadcrumbs - Preferably seasoned. I used gluten free Italian breadcrumbs and they worked great!
Step 1: Cook the lentils. Be sure to rinse the lentils first--simply pour them into a mesh strainer then run water over them--then place them in a saucepan along with the water. Bring them to a boil, then place a lid over them and reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer them for 15-20 minutes or until the water has absorbed.
Step 2: Sauté. While the lentils are cooking, you need to do two things: First, make a flax egg by combining flaxseed meal and water. Second, sauté the onion and garlic for a couple minutes, then add the dried parsley, thyme, salt, and red pepper flakes.
Step 3: Mash and form meatballs. Once the lentils are cooked, transfer them to a large bowl and use a potato masher or fork to mash them for 1-2 minutes. Then, add the flax egg, sautéed onion mixture, along with the breadcrumbs, flour and vegan parmesan cheese and stir to combine. Use your hands to form the mixture into 12 meatballs.
Step 4: Sauté the meatballs in a skillet with a little oil until they're golden brown on the outside. Serve them with your favorite marinara sauce, or your sauce of choice (pesto would be delicious as well!).
Tips and FAQs
- I like to wet my hands before forming the lentil mixture into meatballs, which not only helps them stick together better, but keeps the mixture from sticking to my hands.
Do I have to use marinara sauce?
Of course not. Besides using a delicious store-bought marinara sauce, my other recommendation would be my homemade almond pesto, which pairs perfectly with these and some pasta.
What should I serve these with?
So many options, but I'd go with either pasta or over top of veggies. The other day I ate these as leftovers with some sautéed kale, and it was delicious!
More vegan dinner recipes
If you made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!
- ¾ cups green lentils rinsed
- 2 cups water
- ¼ cup yellow onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 flax egg 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal+2.5 tablespoon water, mixed
- 2 tablespoon flour all purpose or arrowroot for gluten free option
- 2 tablespoon vegan parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoon seasoned breadcrumbs gluten free
- 1 ½ cups marinara sauce optional
- Add lentils and water to a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then place lid over top and reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the lentils have absorbed the water and are cooked.
- While the lentils are cooking, make the flax egg: stir 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal and 2.5 tablespoon water together and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Next, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat, then add the onion and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until the onion is soft. Add the parsley, thyme, red pepper flakes, and salt and stir for 1 more minute; remove from heat and set aside.
- Once the lentils are cooked, transfer them to a large bowl and use a potato masher or fork to mash them (this should take 1-2 minutes). Then, add the onion mixture to the bowl and stir to combine. Last, stir in the flax egg, flour, breadcrumbs, and cheese.
- Use your hands to form the mixture into 12 meatballs. Add the remaining oil to a skillet, then sauté the meatballs for 3-4 minutes, or until they start browning on the outside. If you're adding sauce, remove the skillet from the heat (or turn heat down to low) and pour the sauce over top.
UPDATE NOTE: This post was originally published in April 2017. It was updated with new text and photos in July 2020.
Your photography is so GORGEOUS. So happy I found you!
Thank you so much!! That means a lot.
Leo Sigh says
These look amazing. And I have bags of lentils so need to start using them 🙂
Just need to figure out which of the vegan markets sells vegan parmesan here in Vienna 🙂
These look amazing! I'm recently dairy-free so I've been on the hunt for new dinner ideas. Definitely trying this! Two questions. Is vegan parm the same as nutritional yeast? And in the pesto, is it fresh or dried basil & parsley? Thanks!
1) No--you can find vegan parmesan with the other vegan cheeses in the refrigerated section (looks the same as regular shredded parmesan but says "dairy free") and 2) It doesn't really matter--I used dried because I didn't have fresh on hand, but fresh will work if you have them. Let me know if you try them! 🙂
Lauren Grant | Zestful Kitchen says
Stunning photos! I can't wait to give these a try!
Kim | Unrefined RD says
Absolutely making these! I haven't tried lentil meatballs, but I know without a doubt I will love them 🙂
Let me know if you try them!
Casey the College Celiac says
I've never cooked with lentils but this recipe has me dying (correction: drooling) to try!
They're pretty neutral tasting (you know, like rice and quinoa) and something I too need to eat more often!
Sarah | Well and Full says
Oh my gosh... that shot of the almonds!! SO gorgeous and detailed!
Thank you Sarah! 🙂
Amanda Dal says
I LOVE pesto everything! And the addition of almonds sounds awesome!
Julia Mueller says
You just reminded me I don't eat nearly enough lentils, either. I do love them and am 200% game for these balls! Bring on that almond pesto!
Right?! I don't know why I don't eat them more. Let's change that!
I'm with you...veggie meatballs and burgers don't have to be complicated. These look especially tasty. I know a pesto fiend who would be all about these.
Exactly! Easy veggie balls are the best.
Ashley | Fit Mitten Kitchen says
Ah you make vegan meatballs look SO good. I love pesto anything so I am I would love these. My bestie also loves lentils so I'll have to share this recipe with her!
(p.s. this is terrible of me but I just noticed your new logo! I love it! )
It's not terrible! I'm SO bad at keeping up with blogs anymore, but thank you so much!