I was pretty happy with the lentil mushroom meatballs adapted from OhMyVeggies, but I wanted a meatier texture. I decided to change around the recipe some more, swapping the mushrooms for tempeh to see if that helped. In the end, I fused together this recipe with the Lentil Mushroom Meatballs recipe.
The resulting meatballs did have a firmer texture, with chewy, nubbly bits that made them seem meatier, somehow.
Lentil Tempeh Meatballs
1 cup water
1/2 cup dried lentils
2 medium or 1 large onion, minced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
olive oil, enough to coat bottom of pan
8 ounces tempeh, cut in 1/4″ cubes
salt, pepper, to taste (start with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper)
2 Tbl. soy sauce
1 tsp. dried oregano
pinch poultry seasoning
2 Tbl. red wine
1 cup oats
2 Tbl. ketchup
Boil lentils in water for ten minutes, then drain. The lentils will not be tender–that is ok.
Saute the onion in oil in large pot (6 qt Dutch oven) until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic, salt and pepper, and keeping cooking for another couple of minutes while you dice the tempeh. Add the tempeh and keep cooking, stirring often. A fond may form on the bottom of the pot (you know, that carmelized brown stuff that accumulates on the bottom of pots when you saute). You want the tempeh to brown a little, but most of the browning may be on the bottom of the pot. Add the soy sauce (just 1 Tbl. at first) to deglaze (dissolve the brown stuff from the bottom of the pot). If the carmelized gunk on the bottom of the pot sticks stubbornly, add a couple of Tbl. of water and stir to dissolve the stuff off the pot bottom and then boil off the excess liquid. Add the other seasonings: oregano, poultry seasoning, and more soy sauce as needed to salt to taste. Add the wine and boil off the alcohol. Off heat, stir in the lentils, oats and ketchup. Adjust seasoning to taste.
Puree the mixture in a food processor. The mixture is not supposed to be completely smooth, but a little chunky–you want some texture.
Shape the mixture into small meatballs. Place the meatballs on a greased baking sheet and spray the tops and sides with cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for a half hour. You can heat the meatballs in sauce at this point, although I think the texture of the meatballs is even better when they are allowed to cool and rest in the refrigerator for a while before being reheated in the sauce.
For meatballs and spaghetti, heat tomato sauce in a medium pot until hot, then add the meatballs just to heat through. Serve over spaghetti.