Veggie "Meat" Balls
Meat isn’t the only way to pack some protein into your next Italian meal.
2 cups lentils
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons tomato paste
8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
3 large eggs
½ cup grated Parmesan
½ cup breadcrumbs
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup finely chopped walnuts
Serves 6. Per serving: 480 calories, 18.5 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 112 mg cholesterol, 26 g protein, 55 g carbohydrates, 23 g fiber, 1,064 mg sodium
1. Bring lentils and 2 quarts water to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer and cook until lentils are soft, about 25 minutes. Drain and cool.
2. Sauté onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme and salt in ¼ cup of the olive oil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes. Add tomato paste and continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and stir frequently for 15 more minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and cool to room temperature.
3. Add the lentils, eggs, Parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley and walnuts to the mixture and mix by hand until thoroughly incorporated. Refrigerate for 25 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 400° F.
5. Roll the mixture into about 2 dozen round, golf ball-size meatballs and place in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish coated with 2 tablespoons olive oil, allowing ¼ inch of space between them.
6. Roast for 30 minutes, or until firm and cooked through.