A meatless alternative to a dinner classic, these Italian lentil “meatballs” are a delicious, healthy dinner that’s budget-friendly as well!
Ever since I made these buffalo lentil meatballs, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of making an Italian version.
And it’s been a long process. Until the buffalo meatballs, which don’t need a whole lot of flavoring thanks to the flavor-punch from the buffalo sauce, these meatballs required just the right amount of Italian seasoning that for some reason I just couldn’t get right.
I tried various combinations of dried oregano and basil as well as paired the meatballs with different sauces, but something just kept tasting “off”.
Luckily, after looking over tons of meat and meatless versions of Italian-style meatballs, I decided to go with an Italian seasoning blend as well as add some tomato paste and soy sauce – yes, soy sauce.
And the result? Delicious!
These Italian-style lentil meatballs could not be easier! And most of the ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. As long as you have a food processor, you’ll be set to go!
I made a simple tomato sauce adapted from The Food Lab cookbook consisting of butter, oil, canned peeled tomatoes, a diced shallot, dried Italian seasoning, and a pinch of salt and pepper. For a totally vegan option, nix the butter and just use slightly more oil.
I also have a simple marinara recipe that would work perfectly as well!
When fresh tomatoes aren’t in season, you can still make a great tasting sauce using whole peeled canned tomatoes.
Why whole peeled?
Whole peeled tomatoes are softer and break down better than diced tomatoes, and have a more consistent texture, unlike crushed tomatoes which can be either more paste-like or roughly mashed.
I also find the taste of whole peeled tomatoes to be less aluminum-tasting. The key is to buy good-quality canned tomatoes, rather than just reaching for the cheapest can. Cento San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes are always a safe choice as well as Muir Glen Organic Whole Tomatoes.
Lentils are a staple of a healthy diet, not only because they’re budget friendly, but because they pack a serious nutrition punch for few calories.
As lentils are an excellent source of fiber, they can help reduce high cholesterol, promote a healthy digestive system, and stabilize blood sugar.
They’re also a lean source of protein as well as contain good amounts of folate and magnesium – both of which are key for heart health!
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I love lentil meatballs! These would be great as part of s meal prep
They’d be awesome for meal prep! Let me know what you think if you try them 🙂