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Where’s the beef?

November 15, 2010


Are you old enough, like I am, to remember the Wendy’s Hamburger chain “Where’s the beef” advertising campaign back in the 1980’s?  Go ahead, go look here and here, I’ll wait. 

These meat-free meatballs made me think of that commercial because well, they’re meat-free.  You won’t pull the wool over anyone’s eyes but, they really do have the consistency, texture and flavor of meatballs and are a perfect addition to a marinara sauce with pasta.  Just be careful not to let them simmer for very long with the sauce as they soak up a ton of the sauce and then will fall apart.  Better to add them to the sauce just before serving.

Lentil Meatballs
Adapted from Jennifer Perillo at Cuisinart
2 cups cooked lentils, pureed
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cups plain breadcrumbs
1/2  cup fresh ricotta
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp dried basil

Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl and mix very well.  This is one of those recipes that you can really get in there with your hands and mix it up.  Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight. 

Shape into 1-½ inch balls.  Heat about ½ inch oil in a non-stick frying pan, over medium heat.  Add the meatballs and brown on all sides.  The browning is very important as it adds a really nice “crust” to the outside, helping them to hold together after they’re cooked.  After they’re browned on all sides, remove from the pan to paper towels to drain excess fat.  Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.



3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 3, 2011 9:33 am

    WOW! They look like the real thing! Lucky for me, I dont like ground beef, so I wouldnt miss it. Im sure I would love these.

  2. November 16, 2010 5:50 pm

    These look great! What kind of lentils did you use- brown? Green? Obviously not the really quick cooking red ones.

    • November 17, 2010 6:13 am

      The lentils I used were green lentils (Goya brand). I simmered them, in 2 or 2-1/2 cups water to one cup dry lentils for about 25 – 30 minutes. Then drained and rinsed them well. If you try the “meatballs” let me know what you think.

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