Vegan Lentil Meatballs with Penne Marinara

 

Happy Meatless Monday! I partnered with two of my favorite brands, Salba Chia and Banza pasta to come up with a meatless meatball recipe that's not only high in fiber and protein, but that tastes just like the real deal! Be sure to enter my Instagram contest to win some Salba chia seeds or Banza chickpea pasta of your own! 

 Ingredients (serves 4; makes about 12 meatballs)

Ingredients for Pasta:

  • 1 box Banza penne pasta
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • 2-3 fresh basil leaves

Ingredients for Meatballs:

  • 2 cups cooked lentils (about 1 cup uncooked)
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  •  1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons Salba chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. Cook lentils according to package. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. While lentils are cooking, heat up 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil in a large pan on medium-low heat. Add onion, garlic, and mushrooms, cooking for 5-7 minutes until onions are translucent and mushrooms are soft. 

3. In a large bowl, combine cooked lentils with the onion, garlic, and mushroom mixture. Add the Dijon mustard, chia seeds, flaxseed meal, and spices to the bowl. Mix together, and then transfer to a blender. Blend together until mixture is smoother, but still has texture. You don't want the meatballs to be too blended, so it's okay to have chunks of lentils or onions in your meatball mix. 

4. Spread aluminum foil on a baking sheet, and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Form lentil mixture into 2 inch balls, and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes until meatballs begin to get firm. The outside should be crispy, and the inside should be soft, but not mushy.

5. While meatballs are baking, cook pasta according to package. Rinse and drain, and add back to the pot. Turn heat onto low, and add in marinara sauce. Toss pasta in the sauce until evenly coated, and transfer to plates or bowls.

6. Finely chop basil, and sprinkle over pasta. Top with meatballs, and serve warm.