Italian Lentil Meatballs with Simple Tomato Sauce

A meatless alternative to a dinner classic, these lentil “meatballs” are a delicious, healthy dinner that’s budget-friendly as well!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Healthy Dinner, Vegetarian
Servings: 4
Author: Kelli


For the Sauce:

  • ½ shallot diced
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Pin salt and pepper
  • 28- oz can peeled tomatoes crushed either with a masher or food processor
  • 1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes

For the meatballs:

  • ¾ cup dry green or brown lentils
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
  • Pinch salt and pepper
  • Optional: pinch red pepper flakes


  • Preheat oven to 400-degrees F. While oven is preheating, place dry lentils in small pot and add enough water to cover lentil by about an inch. Place on stove over high heat and bring to a boil. Boil uncovered for 20 minutes, or until soft but not mushy. Drain water.
  • Place cooked lentil, oats, tomato paste, 2 tsp Italian seasoning, vinegar, soy sauce, salt, and pepper in food processor. Pulse on high until combined, but not too mushy – there should still be a few whole lentils and oats. Roll into 22-23 balls and place on a baking sheet. Bake lentils for 22 minutes, or until browned.
  • While lentils are cooking, place butter and olive oil in medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Once butter has melted, add shallots, salt and pepper. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Gently simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until thickened.
  • Once lentils are cooked, add to tomato sauce and toss to combine. Enjoy with a salad or roasted vegetables and crusty bread for a complete meal!