"Meatballs" don't need to contain any meat at all to be umami-rich and delicious — you just need to get a bit creative! The recipe below allows you to create meatballs out of a combination of protein-rich lentils and umami-rich mushrooms, for meatballs that are delicious served over pasta or on their own.
Of course, you'll need to add a few more ingredients to give these meatballs the pizzazz they need. Sun-dried tomatoes and Parmesan add richness and even more umami flavor, while breadcrumbs and egg give them the ideal texture. Consider cooking the lentils and mushrooms the day before so that all of your ingredients are cold when you begin; this will allow the meatballs to hold together even better.
Vegetarian Lentil and Mushroom Meatballs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup mushrooms, brunoise
1/2 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cooked brown lentils, cooled
4 sundried tomatoes, in oil, chopped
1 egg, beaten lightly
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
Heat the oil in a skillet, and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until they have released all of their moisture. Add the minced onion and cook until tender, about two to three minutes, then add the garlic and cook until fragrant, one minute. Set aside to cool.
Place half of the lentils and the sundried tomatoes in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth.
In a bowl, combine the whole lentils, processed lentils, and cooled mushrooms. Add the egg, Parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined.
Make small meatballs about the size of a golf ball and arrange on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.