Plant-based Meatball Recipe

Credit: @celenakinsey

Credit: @celenakinsey

From Thug Kitchen.

Makes about 2 dozen 1½-inch meatballs, enough for 6 people

2 cups dry brown lentils

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 large yellow onions, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

3 celery stalks, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

5 tablespoons tomato paste

10 ounces button mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced

½ cup bread crumbs

½ cup chopped fresh parsley

¼ cup finely chopped walnuts


1. Put 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 let them cool while you get to work on the rest.

2. Add the ¼ cup of olive oil to a large frying pan or wok and sauté the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, and salt over medium-high heat, stirring a bunch, for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and starting to brown. Add the tomato paste, stirring constantly, and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for 15 more minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Yeah, keep you gotta keep stirring to cook it all evenly. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and let cool.

3. When the veggies are cool enough to mix with your hands add the lentils, breadcrumbs, parsley, and walnuts, mix it all up with until everything is incorporated. Taste and add more garlic, thyme, salt, tomato paste, or whatever you think it needs. Place the mix in the refrigerator for 25 minutes to let the flavors mix.

4. While the mix is chilling in the fridge, warm up the oven 400 degrees F. Drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil into a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and use your hand to evenly coat the entire surface. Set aside. 

5. And now it’s go-time. Again using your hands, roll the mixture into round, golf-sized meatballs (about 1½ inches), making sure to pack the vegetable mixture firmly. Place the balls in the prepared baking dish, allowing ¼-inch of space between the balls. Keep rolling until you run out of room, meatball mix, or patience. Place the tray in the oven and roast those balled up b's for 30 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm and cooked through.

6. Allow the meatballs to cool for 5 minutes on the baking dish before serving. Add them to pasta, a sandwich, or put them out for dipping with your favorite marinara (*COUGH* our House Marinara from Book 1 or Blender Red Sauce from Book 2 *COUGH*). YOUR BALLS. YOUR RULES.