Italian seasoned mashed lentil quinoa meatballs look and taste just like real meatballs, perfect for pairing with your favorite tomato sauce and nestling into a big bowl of warm noodles. Vegan, soy-free, gluten-free.
Now that my husband and I are both vegan, I’ve tried to recreate all of our favorite meals– vegan style.
When I saw my husband popping lentil quinoa meatballs into his mouth right out of the skillet when he thought I wasn’t looking, I knew this recipe was a keeper!
These vegan meatballs taste so similar to regular meatballs that you won’t even miss the meat! They’re jam-packed with flavor and texture, they’re seriously delicious!
Italian lentil quinoa meatballs are really easy to assemble, they’re packed with protein, and they bear a striking resemblance to real meatballs. They’re delicate, with big Italian flavor and baked to toasty perfection.
Once you’ve assembled the ingredients in a large bowl, you absolutely have to dive in and mix with your hands– just like with regular meatballs. If you close your eyes, the consistency is very similar to mixing real meatballs. Don’t forget to take off your rings!
Lentil Quinoa Meatballs: Substitutions
I’ve also made these lentil quinoa meatballs with almond flour or pumpkin seeds in place of the blended sunflower seeds. The almond flour gives them a delicious nutty flavor, but sunflower seeds are very inexpensive so I usually will pick those up instead of the almond flour. We’re on a budget after all.
I served the lentil quinoa meatballs with linguine and tomato basil sauce, but you could use them for “meat” ball subs, or shape them into bigger patties for lentil burgers. I’ll definitely be using the leftovers to make some quinoa lentil meatball sandwiches this week.
These lentil quinoa meatballs definitely satisfied my craving for spaghetti and meatballs, and Travis really loved them, so this recipe is definitely going into my meal plan rotation. I hope your family loves them just as much!
- 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 Tbsp water (or you can use ground chia seeds)
- 3/4 cup green lentils, rinsed & drained well
- 1/4 cup dry quinoa, rinsed and drained (I've also used cooked cauliflower in a pinch)
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds ground to a fine powder (or pumpkin seeds)
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, minced
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp Italian seasonings
- 1/4 cup fresh basil
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 1/2 tsp Sea salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Combine flaxseed and water in a small bowl, stir and set aside to setup for 10 minutes.
Use a food processor to blend the sunflower seeds to a fine powder.
Cook the lentils and quinoa separately according to package directions. Add both to the food processor with the sunflower seed powder.
Saute onions in olive oil in a large pan over medium heat for 5-8 minutes. Add the onions to the food processor.
Add basil, Italian seasonings, bread crumbs, garlic powder, flax mixture, salt and pepper to the lentil mix. Pulse until you have a fine crumb and all ingredients are combined.
Form the mixture into golfball-sized "meatballs." If the mixture feels dry, add 1 tbsp olive oil to the mixture and pulse a few times.
Place the lentil meatballs on a parchment lined tray and bake for 15-20 (flipping once halfway through) or until both sides are lightly browned.
Serve "meatballs" over pasta or zucchini noodles with your favorite marinara sauce.
- Use gluten-free breadcrumbs to make the recipe gluten-free.
What’s your favorite veggie for meat swap recipe? Let me know in the comments!
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