I have never been perfectly happy with my vegetarian meatballs. The texture and flavor has never been quite exactly as I would like, although nice enough.
This recipe, adapted from Oh My Veggies, was a major improvement over the usual veggie meatball. They hold together nicely in the sauce. They have a meaty color and flavor, although not quite the chewy texture of meatballs. I have tweaked the recipe a bit more, swapping tempeh for the mushrooms to improve the texture, but if you don’t want to use tempeh, these are lovely.
Lentil Mushroom Meatballs
Adapted from Oh My Veggies Lentil Mushroom Meatballs. I left out the bay leaf, red wine, vegetable broth and Italian seasoning. I added in barbecue sauce and minced onion, plus upped the amounts of garlic and oatmeal. Also, I made my meatballs smaller and cooked them a shorter amount of time at a higher temperature.
1/2 cup lentils
1 cup water
8 ounces white mushrooms, chopped
1 Tbl. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, minced
2 Tbl. soy sauce
2/3 cup (2 ounces) oats
salt and ground pepper, to taste
2 Tbl. barbecue sauce or ketchup
Cook the lentils in water, brought to a boil in a small pot, for ten minutes. The lentils will still be quite firm, not really tender–this is ok. Drain the lentils well and cool them thoroughly. When the lentils have cooled, process them in food processor with the mushrooms until finely chopped but not pureed.
In small frying pan, heat the olive oil and cook the garlic and onion until tender. Add the mushroom/lentil paste and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt, pepper and soy sauce.
Process the mixture in the food processor with the oats and some barbecue sauce or ketchup. Shape the mixture into small balls (you should get about 2 dozen small meatballs).
Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and place the meatballs on the sheet. Spray the top and sides of the meatballs with cooking spray. Bake them at 400 degrees for a half hour, or until browned and firm.
Asian Meatball Sauce
2 Tbl. soy sauce
6 Tbl. barbecue sauce
2 Tbl. molasses
1 tsp. sesame oil
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
4 Tbl. sherry or lime juice
1 Tbl. vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, minced
sliced scallion, for garnish
Saute minced garlic in oil in frying pan until light gold. Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour over the minced garlic. Add the meatballs and saute until the sauce thickens and clings to the meatballs and the meatballs are heated through. Garnish with sliced scallion.