While browsing through Natural Health magazine, I came across an interesting article about a meatball shop, actually The Meatball Shop, in NYC. Usually I would keep turning the page but this article was about veggie meatballs! I took a try at it and they are very tasty. Mine are a bit more rustic looking than the ones in the magazine article since my knife skill are a bit lacking and I formed mine quickly with a scoop, but they still taste so good. I sprinkled mine with celery salt and topped with a spinach pesto.
2 cups lentils
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons tomato paste
8 ounces button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
3 large eggs
1/2 cup grated rennet-free Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1. Combine the lentils and 2 quarts water in a medium
stockpot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer
until the lentils are soft but not falling apart, about 25 minutes. Drain the
lentils and allow to cool.
2. Add 1/4 cup of the olive oil to a large frying pan and
sauté the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme and salt over medium-high heat,
stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and
just beginning to brown. Add the tomato paste and continue to cook, stirring
constantly, for 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for
15 more minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Transfer the mixture to a
large bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. When cool, add the lentils to
the vegetable mixture.
3. Add the eggs, Parmesan, bread crumbs, parsley and walnuts
to the cooled vegetables and lentils and mix by hand until thoroughly
incorporated. Place in the refrigerator for 25 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drizzle the remaining 2
tablespoons olive oil into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and use your hand to
evenly coat the entire surface. Set aside.
5. Roll the mixture into round golf ball-size meatballs
(about 1 1/2 inches), making sure to pack the vegetable mixture firmly. Place
the balls in the prepared baking dish, allowing 1/4 inch of space between the
balls and in even rows vertically and horizontally to form a grid.
6. Roast for 30 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and
cooked through. Allow the meatballs to cool for 5 minutes in the baking dish