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These Almond Pesto Lentil Meatballs are easier than you’d think—made with lentils, onion, garlic and parsley, they’re packed with flavor plus they’re gluten free!
I’m thinking today is just as good as any day to share these pesto lentil meatballs with you.
You know, lentils were never (and still sort of aren’t) a staple in my diet, but I want them to be! I like them a lot, I just sort of forget about them. You too? Let’s end lentil neglect ASAP by whipping up all the lentil recipes, starting with these lentil meatballs!
I know I shared my Easter Menu on Monday, but these meatballs would also be a great holiday meal for anyone vegan in your family! I pinky promise they’re not difficult to make and they’re vegan-approved. WOO.
So what are they, exactly? Welp, they’re made with cooked lentils that have been mashed with a fork, and then you add seasonings and thickeners like onions, garlic, gluten free flour, and breadcrumbs.
Note: Don’t forget the flax egg! To make one, simply combine 1 tbsp flaxseed meal with 2.5 tbsp water, stir, and let sit for about 10 minutes. The result will be a flax egg!
You’ll start by heating the onion, garlic, parsley, and thyme in a skillet for a few minutes, just to release the flavors. Then you’ll add them to the bowl with the mashed lentils and mix everything together. Thennnnnn you’ll add flour (you can use all purpose OR if you want to keep these gluten free, use arrowroot powder or coconut flour), breadcrumbs (regular or gluten free depending on your personal preference) and vegan parmesan, which isn’t completely necessary but does add more flavor to these balls.
OH and how could I almost forget the real star of the show: the almond pesto! It’s essentially regular pesto made with almonds instead of pine nuts, and I definitely recommend some vegan parmesan cheese for it because again, it adds a nice flavor.
Once the meatballs are formed, you can either throw the pesto on top or pour it in a dish for dipping purposes.
If you give this recipe a try, be sure to tag @thealmondeater on Instagram!
- 3/4 cups green lentils uncooked
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 cup yellow onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp parsley fresh or dried
- 1/2 tsp thyme fresh or dried
- 1 flax egg 1 tbsp flaxseed meal+2.5 tbsp water, mixed
- 2 tbsp flour all purpose or use arrowroot or coconut for gluten free
- 2 tbsp vegan parmesan cheese
- 3 tbsp gluten free breadcrumbs
- For the pesto:
- 1/4 cup raw almonds
- 1 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp parsley
- 2 cups spinach
- 2 tbsp olive oil*
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 tsp vegan parmesan optional
- For the meatballs: Combine lentils and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover pan with a lid and reduce heat to a simmer until water has absorbed and lentils are cooked.
- While lentils are cooking, combine onions, garlic and olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally. After about two minutes, add the parsley and time and stir. Cook until onions are soft but not quite brown yet; remove from skillet and set aside.
- Also while waiting, prepare the flax egg by combining flaxseed meal and water in a small dish. Stir and set aside for about 10 minutes, allowing time for the flax to absorb the water. At this point, you should also preheat the oven to 350°.
- Once lentils are cooked, transfer to a large bowl and mash them with a fork. This could take a couple minutes, so be patient! Once mashed, add onion mixture to the bowl and stir.
- Next, add the flax egg, flour, parmesan, and breadcrumbs and stir until everything is combined.
- Form the mixture into golf ball sized meatballs and set on a baking sheet.
- Heat 1-2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet and place the meatballs in the skillet, cooking for 3-4 minutes and flipping throughout until they're golden brown on the outside.
- Transfer meatballs back to the baking sheet and bake for approximately 15 minutes.
- While meatballs are baking, make the pesto. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until pesto has formed.
**Serving size varies depending on size of meatballs. Feel free to double the recipe if you need a larger serving size.