Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Parmesan Ricotta Lentil "Meat"balls

Alright, get ready for not the prettiest pictures I've ever taken.  I hope you'll trust me when I say these were absolutely delicious, or at least follow the link to "The Sprouted Kitchen" blog and hopefully her beautiful pictures will convince you to try these.  While they don't taste like meat, they do taste so indulgent with the parmesan that I didn't even miss it!  I served these over spaghetti squash with marinara, topped with melted mozzarella and it was delicious!

Parmesan Ricotta Lentil "Meat"balls
via the Sprouted Kitchen

2 Cups Cooked Lentils (I used the pre-cooked lentils sold at trader joes in the produce area)
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 Cup Ricotta
1/4 Cup Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Large Clove Garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. Fennel Seed, crushed (I skipped this)
2 Tbsp. Finely Chopped Fresh Parsley (I skipped this)
Hefty Pinch of Dried or Fresh Thyme
1 tsp. Each Sea Salt and Pepper
2/3 Cup Breadcrumbs (fresh or panko, preferably)

In a food processor, pulverize the lentils into mostly mush. Put them in a large mixing bowl.
Add the beaten eggs, ricotta, parmesan, garlic, fennel seed, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper and stir to mix well. Stir in the breadcrumbs and let the mix sit for 20 minutes (I used it right away).

Preheat the oven to 400'. Check the lentil mix by rolling a 1'' round ball between your palms, it should hold together fairly well. If it seems pretty wet and it falling apart, stir in another Tbsp. or two of breadcrumbs until the ball with stay together.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the mix into balls and line them up on a baking sheet (they don't need lots of space between, they won't spread). If you like a bit more of a crust, brush them with olive oil.

Bake on the middle rack for 15-20 minutes until the tops are golden brown, gently turning the balls over halfway through baking. Remove to cool slightly.

Serve with your favorite noodles, on a bed of sauteed greens, or simply on their own (I served over spaghetti squash with marinara and topped with melted mozzarella, see below).

Spaghetti Squash with marinara and mozzarella

Spaghetti squash
1 jar marinara
about 1-2 cups shredded mozzarella (optional)

Cut spaghetti squash in half, scoop out seeds, place in baking dish with cut side down and add about an inch of water.  Cover with foil and roast for 45-50 minutes until tender.  Use a fork to pull away from skin.

Combine squash noodles with marinara and place in baking dish.  Top with desired mozzarella.  Bake or broil until cheese is melted.

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