Friday, July 27, 2012

Week 2- Lentil Veggie Balls

I really wanted to try lentils because of their healthiness and how inexpensive they are.  I feel like I should eat lentils.  When I saw this recipe for veggie balls, I knew how I wanted to try lentils.  I'm sorry to say that while the flavor was quite delicious, the texture wasn't great.  They were grainy.  Brian thought the texture was just too similar-everything was soft.  I think doing a half lentil/half meat of some sort might work well.  I did modify the recipe slightly.

Lentil Veggie Balls
makes about 48 1 inch balls

2 cups brown lentils
1 large onion chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
7 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp (or so) dried thyme
2 tbsp fresh parsley
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
4 tbsp tomato paste
3 eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup combination of Panko bread crumbs and regular bread crumbs
1/4 cup combination of toasted almonds and toasted pine nuts, ground

Cook lentils in 2 quarts of water.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes until lentils are soft.  Drain.  Let lentils cool.

While lentils are cooking, heat olive oil in skillet.  Then saute onion, garlic, green pepper, carrots, thyme, salt and parsley in a large skillet.  Cook for about 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft but not brown.  Add tomato paste and cook the mixture until the liquid is absorbed about 10-15 minutes more.  Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature.

When lentils and veggies are cool, combine them together.  Mix together bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, nuts and eggs together.  Add this mixture to the lentil/veggie mixture and combine together using your hands. Let this mixture sit in the refrigerator for at least 25 minutes.

When you are ready to cook the veggie balls, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Use additional olive oil to coat the baking pans (2 9x13 inch pans).  Roll the mixture into 1 inch balls, making sure to pack firmly, and place in baking pans, leaving space in between.  Bake veggie balls for 30 minutes.  Serve with pesto.

*This is the recipe I followed.  I would omit the nuts as they did nothing to add to the flavor.  I would also do 1 cup lentils and 1 lb of ground beef or turkey.  I only ate about 4 of these lentil veggie balls so this recipe makes a lot!  You could easily cut it in half.  This was a great way to eat lots of veggies without tasting too much!

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