When you're in the mood for a homemade Italian dinner, the first question normally is: "Which meatball recipe should I use?" There are hundreds and thousands of different meatless meatball recipes on the internet and The Beet narrowed it down to one recipe that is delicious, easy to make, and plant-based.

These meatballs are made with lentils, a healthy source of plant-based protein. Other recipes can be made with soy, beans, chickpeas, and sometimes a mix of everything. Lentils are extremely easy to cook with and taste amazing made into a meatball because their small size makes a thick texture when they're combined into a ball.

After you make your homemade meatballs, serve them with pasta, cauliflower mash, in a sub, or simply by themselves, they taste delicious prepared any way you choose. Use nutritional yeast as fresh parmesan cheese and top your dish with fresh basil and a pinch of salt.

A Note from the Chef: The ultimate vegan lentil meatballs that are completely gluten-free, protein-packed, and full of Italian flavor! Made with only 7 simple ingredients!"

Recipe Developer: @thebananadiaries 

Why we love it: Meatless meatballs are delicious and a good source of vegan protein. They're easy to make and can be made in several other dishes like a sandwich, risotto, pasta, cauliflower mash, baked potatoes, and more.

Make it for: Lunch or dinner. Get creative with your dish and add your favorite red sauce and fresh herbs and spices.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 55 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Vegan and Gluten-Free Lentil Meatballs

Yields 4 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked lentils (about 3/4 cup uncooked if cooking from scratch)
  • 1 cup oat flour (homemade or store-bought)
  • 5 prunes
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 3 tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 cup marinara sauce, for cooking

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with tin foil. Lightly spray or coat the tin foil with coconut or olive oil to prevent sticking.
  2. In a large food processor, pulse all of the ingredients together until it’s a consistent batter. It should not be very clumpy, but rather smooth.
  3. Roll the lentil batter into 2-inch sized meatballs and place the meatballs onto the baking sheet. Bake the lentil meatballs for 25 minutes in the oven.
  4. When done, remove from the oven and let cool while you add 1 cup marinara sauce to a medium-sized saucepan.
  5. Add the meatballs to the pan, toss them in the sauce, then cover and set the heat to low/simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Serve with fresh pasta, cauliflower mash, or however you prefer!