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Lentil Mushroom Meatballs

Lentil Mushroom Meatballs Recipe

Lentil Mushroom Meatballs
Yesterday I was browsing through my pins on Pinterest and I came upon a corn recipe.

Corn. It looked so good. So fresh. Yellow. Delicious. I wanted to cry a little. I could almost taste it, but the almost part made it even worse–almost, but not really.

We’re on the cusp of winter, which means that summer is six months away. It is not going to be corn season anytime soon. No, it’s winter–winter, the time to eat… well, I guess the same things we’ve been eating since fall? More sweet potatoes? More winter squash? Mushrooms and broccoli and all those things that might have a season, but don’t really have a season because we buy them year-round?

Lentil Mushroom Meatballs
Lentil Mushroom Meatballs have been on my recipe to-do list since last spring, but somehow they seem appropriate for winter. If a big bowl of spaghetti topped with marinara sauce and meatballs could have a season, it would be winter, right?

These meatballs took a lot of trial and error. The first time I made them, I used French lentils. The meatballs were almost perfect, but needed a little adjustment in the seasoning department. So the second time, I used brown lentils. Disaster! The meatballs were mushy in the center, although the seasoning was right this time.

Lentil Mushroom Meatball Mixture
Lentil Mushroom Meatball Mixture
Lesson? The lentils need to be undercooked. I didn’t want to call for French lentils in the recipe since they’re not available at all supermarkets. So in order to use brown lentils, I cooked them for a shorter amount of time than you normally would. After cooking, they get pulsed with mushrooms in the food processor until the mixture is coarsely chopped. This mixture is then browned in a skillet before forming the meatballs. (Does this sound complicated? I swear, it’s not!)

I also baked the meatballs instead of frying them, so in order to help them keep their shape, I put them in mini muffin tins. Oh sure, they get a little flat on the bottom, but don’t they look like perfect little meatballs on top?

Spaghetti with Lentil Mushroom Meatballs
Chris loves the frozen soy meatballs and I think I’ve finally come up with a good alternative–well, at least, according to him, I have. They’re savory and delicious and made with real, whole ingredients like lentils, mushrooms, and oats. Although they are perfect in a big bowl of spaghetti, they’d also make fantastic meatball subs or sliders.

I guess winter isn’t so bad, huh? Maybe I can wait that six months for corn…

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Lentil Mushroom Meatballs

Lentil Mushroom Meatballs Recipe

Baked meatless meatballs made with oats, mushrooms, and lentils. The perfect addition to a bowl full of spaghetti!

  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 12 meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. dried brown lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 c. water
  • 8 oz. white mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. red wine
  • 1/2 c. vegetable or mushroom broth
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce (or liquid aminos)
  • 1/2 c. old-fashioned oats
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • oil mister or cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Combine lentils, bay leaf, and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. (Yes, the lentils will be undercooked–don’t cook them for the time indicated on the package!) Remove from heat, drain, and cool slightly. Discard bay leaf.
  2. Add mushrooms and lentils to food processor. Pulse until coarsely chopped.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about 30 seconds), stirring constantly. Stir in mushroom-lentil mixture. Cook for about 4 minutes or until browned, stirring constantly.
  4. Add red wine to skillet and cook until evaporated. Stir in broth, soy sauce, oats, and Italian seasoning. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste and allow to cool.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Once mixture is cool enough to work with, shape it into 12 uniformly-sized meatballs. Place each in a mini-muffin tin that’s been coated in oil or cooking spray. Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden brown.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 3-4 meatballs

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145 Comments

  • Reply
    Kathleen
    July 30, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    I made this for the first time the other day and 3 out of 4 family members really enjoyed them. My husband is all about meat and he found these delicious and the baby, 15 month, really liked them as well. The recipe came together quickly and easily enough and the flavors were wonderful, but I will add egg to the mix in the future to help them stay together better. Thanks for the mini muffin pan tip, that’s a great idea!

  • Reply
    Rachel
    January 5, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    These are AMAZING!!! I didn’t have any wine on hand, but these were still delicious and so easy. I made the mixture last night so today all I had to do was form them and pop them in the oven. Can you freeze these?

    Also, I have been a vegetarian for 14 years, and ever since I discovered this blog a year ago, I have literally cooked almost exclusively from it! I have yet to find anything I don’t like! My husband loves everything as well and he’s not a vegetarian. Thank you!!!

    • Reply
      Alissa
      January 6, 2017 at 9:33 am

      Hi Rachel! Glad you enjoyed the meatballs, and glad you’re enjoying all of the recipes! We haven’t tried freezing these, but I think it would work. Another option would be to freeze the mixture, and then thaw, roll, and bake. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    Patsy Phillips
    September 11, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    Hi Rachel & Alissa,
    I just made these meatballs! They are ready to roll and bake! I prepared them for freezing since I wanted to use mushrooms before going to NC for my Granddaughter’s wedding! Will let you know how the freezing works with them! They look Delish!
    Thank You, Patsy

    • Reply
      Alissa
      September 12, 2017 at 7:54 am

      Thanks Patsy! I hope you enjoy them and I’d love to hear how freezing them works out!

  • Reply
    Stefanie
    January 8, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    Instead of a mini muffins tin, I used my cake pop tin. Made 12 perfectly round “meat”balls πŸ™‚

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