Easy Lentil Meatballs
These easy lentil meatballs are amazing served with tomato sauce, pasta and fresh basil.
These lentil meatballs were seriously delicious. So delicious in fact, that I think you may need to edit the name of them to “Seriously Delicious Lentil Meatballs”! Let the people know what they’re getting!—Christy
Lentil “meatballs” make a delicious alternative to traditional meatballs and great way to include more nutritious plants foods in your diet.
Combined with mushroom and herbs, these meatballs have plenty of flavour too.
Enjoy with tomato sauce and fresh basil for a simple, hearty plant-based meal that’s sure to be a hit with the whole family.
If you enjoy these, you’ll have to try this chickpea meatloaf next, it’s one of my most popular recipes.
Complete ingredient list with amounts is located in the recipe card below.
- Lentils: This recipe is for brown or green lentils. Do not use red lentils, they’re too mushy.
- Mushrooms: You can use any variety of fresh mushrooms like portobello (remove gills), baby bella, white, shitake or cremini mushrooms. You can also use a mix of mushrooms for more depth of flavours. I do not recommend substituting the mushrooms for this recipe. The flavour cooks out if you’re not a big fan and they add a “meaty” texture and flavour to the final dish.
- Oat Flour: You can use store-bought oat flour or make your own by blending oats in a high-speed blender or food processor. You can substitute all-purpose flour or gluten-free all-purpose flour.
- Flax: Use ground flaxseed.
- Oil: You can use any variety of oil here. I don’t recommend omitting it as it adds moisture and helps with binding.
- Dried Herbs: You can substitute 1-2 tbsp fresh herbs for any of the rosemary, basil, oregano and thyme.
Variations & Additions
- Walnut : Add texture by adding 1/2 cup chopped walnuts with the rest of the food processor ingredients.
- Spicy: If you enjoy some heat, add up to 1 tsp red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper, or 2-3 tbsp minced jalapeños.
- Smoky For a barbecue twist use BBQ sauce instead of tomato paste. You can also add up to 1 tbsp liquid smoke.
- Sun-Dried Tomato: Add up to 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes for more flavour and texture.
- Cheesy: Add a cheesy flavour by adding 2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast or your favorite vegan cheese shreds into the mixture.
- Pesto: Mix in 2-3 tbsp pesto. You can also add 2-3 tbsp chopped pine nuts with the pesto.
- Onion: Cook up to 1 cup diced white onion with the mushroom.
- Serve with your favourite tomato-based sauce such as marinara or bolognese and/or any variety of pasta. I’d recommend the classic spaghetti and meatballs but you could also add them to this vegan one pot pasta, roasted red pepper pasta, vegan carbonara or vegan sun-dried tomato pasta. You could even double up on the lentils and serve them with this red lentil pasta sauce.
- They’d also be good in this lemon garlic orzo or quinoa roasted vegetable salad.
- Fresh basil and vegan parmesan make great toppings.
- For a low-carb option, serve with tomato sauce and zucchini noodles.
- Pile on a toasted bun with marinara sauce and parmesan to make a meatball sub.
- Try this this mashed cauliflower, mashed potatoes and mushroom gravy or miso gravy.
Before You Start: Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a baking tray with parchment paper. If you don’t have oat flour on hand, make some by blending a heaping 1/3 cup rolled oats.
Step 1. Cook the lentils according to package instructions, or bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan, add the lentils, cover, reduce to a light simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes until tender.
Quick Tip: Use half water and half broth for extra flavour when you cook the lentils.
Step 2. Add the olive oil and mushrooms to a skillet and cook over low to medium heat until the mushrooms have released all their moisture and are starting to turn golden brown.
Stir them often to prevent burning. This may take up to 15 minutes.
Step 3. Add everything, except for the oat flour, to a food processor.
Once the mushrooms and lentils are done cooking, add those to the food processor as well.
Pulse a few times to combine but avoid over-blending. Some whole lentils and larger pieces of mushroom should remain.
Step 4. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and stir in the oat flour very well. Let the batter rest for 10 minutes.
Step 5. Roll the batter into meatballs a little larger than golf balls.
You should get 12-15 meatballs. Place on the prepared baking tray and give them a light mist of cooking oil.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the tray after 10 minutes, until they’re firm and golden brown.
Serve the meatballs with tomato sauce and fresh basil, on top of your favourite pasta recipe or on a meatball sub.
No problem! Pop some rolled or quick oats into a blender or the food processor before you start and blend into a fine flour. You’ll need a little more than 1/4 cup to make 1/4 cup of oat flour. You can also substitute all-purpose flour.
The meatballs are naturally gluten-free, just be sure to use gluten-free certified oats if needed.
Yes, you can use canned lentils to save time. Make sure to drain and rinse them thoroughly before using. However, cooking dried lentils from scratch gives you more control over the texture and flavor.
Absolutely! Once cooked, let the meatballs cool completely, then place them on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze. Once frozen, transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag. They can be reheated in the oven or stovetop.
Yes, you can air-fry the meatballs for a crispy texture. Preheat the air fryer, spray the meatballs with a little oil, and cook in batches at 380 F until they’re golden and heated through.
Lentil meatballs are great for meal prep! You can cook a large batch, portion them out with your favorite sides, and store them in the refrigerator for a few days or freeze them for longer-term meal prep.
- Fridge: Let them cool then store in a sealed container in the fridge for 5-6 days.
- Freezer: Let cool then freeze on a baking sheet before transfer to a storage container or freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge.
- Reheating: Reheat in a pan on the stovetop, in the oven or in the microwave until heated to your preference. Can be enjoyed cold too, try adding them to a salad!
More Lentil Recipes
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Scroll down to the comment section to leave a star rating and review.
Hearty, “meaty” vegan meatballs made with lentils and mushrooms! Enjoy these delicious plant-based meatballs with pasta and your favourite tomato sauce such as marinara or bolognese.
- 1 cup dried brown lentils (190 g)
- 8 oz baby bella or cremini mushrooms, diced small (125 g)
- ¼ cup oat flour (30 g)
- 2 tbsp ground flax (14 g)
- 5 tbsp warm water (75 mL)
- 1 tbsp olive oil (15 mL)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste (28 g)
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped (10 g)
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (15 g)
- 2 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried rosemary leaves
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp ground thyme
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp coarse black pepper
- Cook Lentils: Rinse and cook lentils according to package directions. Drain. If you don’t have instructions, bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium sauce pan. Add the lentils, cover and simmer lightly for 15-20 minutes until tender. Drain off any excess water and set aside.
- Prepare to Bake: Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cook Mushrooms: Add olive oil to a saucepan and cook the diced mushrooms over low to medium heat until they have released all moisture and turn golden (about 15 minutes). Stir often to prevent burning.
- Blend Ingredients: Add the remaining ingredients except for the oat flour to a food processor.
- Add Lentils and Mushrooms: Once mushrooms and lentils are cooked, add to food processor as well. Pulse several times until it resembles ground meat. Avoid overblending into a paste. Some whole lentils and larger pieces of mushroom should remain for texture.
- Mix with Oat Flour: Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the oat flour very well. Let rest for 10 minutes for flour to absorb moisture.
- Roll Meatballs: Roll into balls a bit larger than a golf ball and spread out on baking sheet. You should get 12-15 meatballs. Mist with a light coating of olive oil cooking spray or use an oil mister to spray with a light mist of any cooking oil.
- Bake: Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the tray after 10 minutes, until they are firm and golden brown.
- Serve: Serve with your favourite tomato-based sauce and/or pasta of choice, gravy, on a meatball sub or any other way you’d enjoy meatballs.
Serving: Serve with tomato sauce, pasta or zucchini or carrot noodles and fresh basil. Try them on a toasted submarine with marinara sauce or bolognese sauce and vegan parmesan. Enjoy warm or cold on salads.
Storing: Cooked meatballs can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months. If frozen, thaw overnight in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave, stovetop in a pan or in the oven until heated to your preference.
- Serving Size: 1 meatballs
- Calories: 77
- Sugar: 1 g
- Sodium: 170 mg
- Fat: 1.4 g
- Carbohydrates: 12 g
- Fiber: 2.3 g
- Protein: 5 g
Keywords: vegan meatballs, lentil meatball recipe
Originally published December 16, 2020.