Monday, April 8, 2013

Lentil Meatballs Recipe- Vegan, Gluten Free, Grain Free, GAPS Legal

We've been eating more meat and animal proteins lately than my pocketbook would like to ideally, the reason being that as my husband is avoiding grains, and my kids decided they don't like beans or lentils, and my not eating eggs or dairy, its hard to find foods that I can serve everyone.
This meal is gluten free, grain free, dairy and egg free, and isn't with meat, but since it looks like meat, my kids are happier to eat this meal than a regular bean or lentil meal.
And not only do they look like meat, after eating this meal, my husband looked at me and said "These have meat in them, right?" He wasn't sure... and I take that as a compliment, that my husband, even knowing these were made from lentils, thought there was some meat in there because they tasted meaty...
These are on the somewhat softer end, aren't hard like standard meatballs, which is why I recommend you use 1 1/2 cups of flax seeds instead of the 1 cup that I used.

I topped mine with tomato sauce and served it over mashed potatoes, but you can top them with any sauce you'd use for meatballs, from mushroom sauce to white sauce, etc... especially if you need your food to be nightshade free.

Lentil Meatballs Recipe- Vegan, Gluten Free, Grain Free, GAPS Legal

2 cups brown lentils
3-4 cups water
1/2 cup chopped nuts or seeds, ideally including walnuts or pecans (because those give it a more nutty/meaty taste)
1 medium/large onion
1 cup (strained) canned or fried mushrooms
3 medium carrots- or about 1 3/4 cup ground carrots
1/4 cup soy sauce or coconut aminos
1/4 cup dijon mustard
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1-1 1/2 cups ground flax seeds

1. Boil lentils until just starting to get soft, but not mushy.

2. If there is any water left, strain it off well.

3. Blend up/process the lentils, mushrooms, onion, and carrots until as fine as you can get them. I usually have to do batches at a time.

4. Mix with ground nuts/seeds, ground flax seeds, garlic powder, mustard, and soy sauce/coconut aminos.

5. Grease a cookie tray.

6. Wet your hands and form little balls from the mixture. Don't worry about making them a perfect sphere as they loose their shape a bit.

7. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes, or until firm and they can be removed from the tray easily.

8. Let cool a little bit so they solidify some more.

9. Serve as you would meatballs, ideally with a very flavorful sauce.

Feel free to use a different blended vegetable instead of the carrots, like butternut squash or zucchini. 
If you want to leave out the nuts to make it cheaper, note that the taste will be changed somewhat, and you'll need to replace it with something else dry. Consider using oatmeal or gluten free flour (or regular flour) or instant mashed potatoes, or just more ground flax seeds.
You can also replace the ground flax seeds with 1-2 eggs and more flour or breadcrumbs- play around with it until you get a workable texture.
Note: Do NOT try to make these meatballs on the stovetop. You'll just have a whole big load of mush. Trust me on this one...

What is your favorite meatball type sauce? Are you a lentil fan? Have you ever made lentil meatballs? Does this look like a recipe you'd try?


  1. These look great! We are lentil fans around here, but I've not tried making meatballs with them. Thanks for the recipe!

  2. Lentil meatballs that taste meaty? That sounds like a winner to me.. I would eat mine over spaghetti squash..

    1. Listen, no promise about the meatiness. They taste yummy. As for meaty- my husband thought so, but thats for you to decide.

  3. I love lentils as a meat substitute. I used lentils in place of ground meat in chili, we make sloppy lentils and I have done lentil burgers, but never thought to make meatballs, so glad you did. I'm going to try your recipe with Chia seeds (because I don't like flax). I'll let you know what I find :)

    1. Thanks! Let me know how it works with the chia!

  4. This might be a dumb question: Are the carrots and onion pre-cooked as well? I'm thinking they would need to be so there wasn't extra moisture during baking?

    1. They werent pre-cooked, but in retrospect, that probably would be a good idea.

  5. I use lentils a lot as a meat extender but have never tried them to replace meat. May have to give these a try.

  6. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful recipe! I just made it for dinner and it turned out even better than my expectations! I wanted to keep eating even after I was full because the meatballs were so tasty! Here is a great companion sauce for those who are Tomato-Free: www.glutenfreedairyfreenj.blogspot.com/2011/07/tomato-free-pasta-sauce-recipe-gluten.html

  7. I will try this when I get some nuts. my suggestion is to bake these in the miniature muffin tins if you have them. this is quick esp if you have a small cookie scoop. we do that often when in a hurry and the mixture is soft.

  8. Hey, I don't like mushrooms. What can I replace them with? Thanks, Adina

  9. I have trouble finding brown lentils. Do you think green or red will work as well?

    1. Green lentils are usually brown. You can use green lentils. Black lentils would also work. Red arent firm enough, so not those.

  10. Love these meatballs. I make Japanese dumplings and I used your meatball recipe instead of the usual beef, pork, and shrimp based mixture. Because I'm not baking them, I had to cook the mixture down until it was fairly dry and crumbly before stuffing it into the gyosa wrapping to keep the filling from being too mushy. It's great.


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