My mom makes the best meatballs. I mean I was spoiled growing up by all of her good cooking. So I knew I needed to figure out something to substitute her meatballs. I made a meatball recipe a long time ago and they were okay I wasn’t crazy about them. I think this recipe is much much better. These are easy to make, soy free, nut free and easily made gluten free.
I found black beans and lentils give this a meaty texture with a pretty neutral flavor. Once you add in all the spices and cook it with pasta sauce you don’t really taste anything but that. I used green lentils so it would be brown but if you want to use red lentils that would be okay. Keep in mind it will change the color. They may end up looking more like chicken meatballs. If you are gluten free, you ca either use gluten free breadcrumbs or even oat flour.
I use two kinds of vegan parmesan in this recipe. The first one is a blend I found at the store of almonds, nutritional yeast and salt. You can always just use nutritional yeast. The second is from Follow Your Heart and that is for topping the meatballs and I find it melts nicely.
1 cup of green lentils + 1/2 tsp salt for cooking
1 can (16 oz) black beans
1/3 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
2-3 sprigs of fresh parsley, chopped
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 tsp black pepper
1-2 cups tomato sauce
20 small cubes of vegan mozzarella
Vegan parmesan and parsley for sprinkling on top
- Rinse and drain lentils and black beans. Boil lentils in 1 1/2 cups of water and 1/4 tsp of salt for about 20-25 minutes or until soft. While the lentils are cooking you may need to add more water. In the last 5 minutes of cooking add in lentils. Should be very very soft.
- Dice up onion and garlic. Add to pan with a bit of olive oil about 1/2 tsp. Cook for 5-10 minutes on medium heat, until fragrant.
- Chop up fresh parsley into small pieces.
- Once lentils and black beans are soft you can put them into a bowl.
- Using the back of your spoon, gently mash the lentils. You want some texture but it should be mostly smooth.
- Into the bowl add vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast, cooking onions and garlic, seasonings, parsley and breadcrumbs.
- Mix until well incorporated. Taste mixture and see if you need to add anything else.
- Preheat oven to 450F.
- Cut out small cubes of vegan mozzarella.
- Take 1 spoonful of the meatball mixture, form a patty and add the cheese cube inside. Roll into a ball. Repeat until all of the mixture is used.
- In a pan add olive oil (1 tsp) and cook on stove for about 10-15 minutes on medium heat to get meatballs crispy.
- Drizzle with extra olive oil about 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp and transfer into the oven. Cook for 15-25 minutes until tops look dried out and you should be able to pick the meatball up.
- Add tomato sauce of choice on top of meatballs. Top with vegan cheese of choice. Place back in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
- Once the cheese is melted and the meatballs have absorbed some of the sauce you know it is done. Let it cool for 5 minutes before eating.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and more vegan cheese. Enjoy alone, with pasta or on a hero.
Will make 20 meatballs depending on size you make them.
**If you decide to do this on a baking sheet. You can bake them in the oven first for about 30 minutes and then place them into a pan and do the same as step 13.
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