Date and Lentil Meatballs Recipe from The Flourishing Pantry
These Date and Lentil Meatballs make a perfect Meat Free Monday recipe that’s packed with protein. When I want a change from meat or fish, lentils are a great alternative. For added flavour I recommend you cook them with stock rather than just boiling water.
Dates add a delicious sweetness to these ‘meat’ balls, balanced with the savoury flavours of basil, oregano and parsley. Served with wholewheat pasta and a simple tomato sauce, these meatballs also freeze really well making them perfect for a batch cook.
– 1 white onion, diced
– 3 garlic cloves, crushed
– 1/2 cup (50g) walnuts
– 1 cup (180g) lentils (I used green lentils, you can grab them at Buy Wholefoods Online*), cooked to packet instructions
– 1/2 cup (80) dates
– 1 tsp dried basil
– 1 tsp dried oregano
– 1 tsp fried parsley
– 1 tbsp flaxseeds (optional)
– salt and pepper to taste
– 1 red onion, diced
– 2 garlic cloves, crushed
– 1 can chopped tomatoes
– juice of 1/2 lemon
– 2 tsp mixed herbs / Italian seasoning
– Wholewheat spaghetti or pasta – 75g per portion
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a baking sheet with baking paper and set aside.
2. Put the dates in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to soak for 5-10 minutes, while you’re doing the next couple of steps.
3. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan over a medium head. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes until soft. Remove from the heat.
4. Place the walnuts in a food processor and blitz until they’re broken down into small chunks. It doesn’t have to be even, a few different sizes is fine!
5. Into the food processor add the cooked lentils, onion, herbs and a grind of salt and pepper to the walnuts. Drain the dates and add these too. Pulse in the processor (or do it in a bowl with a hand blender) until you have a paste but with a little bit of texture.
6. If the mixture doesn’t look like it’s going to hang together, add your flaxseeds a little at a time to thicken it up. To check, use your hands to form a ball of the mixture.
7. When you think the mixture is ready, scoop out a table spoon at a time and form it into balls. To make sure mine are all the same size I weigh the mixture and then use a calculator to divide it by the number of balls I want to get. But you can do it by eye just as easily.
8. Arrange the balls on the baking sheet. Put in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, turning at the half way point.
9. While the lentil balls are baking, make your tomato sauce. In a frying pan (you could use the same one as before) add your garlic and onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add the tomatoes, lemon juice, herbs and salt and pepper to taste. Leave to simmer over a low heat until everything is cooked through.
10. Cook your spaghetti or pasta to packet instructions. Drain and put back into the empty saucepan. Pour the tomato sauce over the pasta and stir through until well coated.
11. Serve the spaghetti in a bowl, and place 3-4 of the lentil balls onto the top of spaghetti. Top with fresh basil for a little green garnish. Enjoy!
Vicky is a coach, retreat host and award-winning blogger helping busy entrepreneurs find healthier ways to eat and live. Her blog The Flourishing Pantry offers recipes, inspiration and tips on living a healthy life whilst building a business through blog posts, videos, interviews, one-to-one coaching and an online course. Vicky co-hosts The Reset retreats in Ireland and abroad with Nutritional Therapist Lauren Healy.