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BBQ Lentil Meatballs is made with simple plant-based ingredients of lentils, rice, mushrooms, and BBQ sauce. It’s a vegan protein packed dish! These lentil meatballs can serve great as a post-workout entree or as an appetizer for your party or game day events!
Updated with baking instructions July 2018. Originally posted July 27, 2017
These lentil meatballs are something I often force myself NOT to make all the time in order to prevent burn out. It is my favorite lentil meatball recipe. It was inspired by @Coach_Hope. She posted BBQ turkey meatballs and paired it with raw zucchini as a low carbohydrate dish. These lentil meatballs are a plant-based version of that idea.
Can you guess what gives these lentil meatballs a meaty texture? It's NOT a vegan mock meat it's an every day common plant based ingredient!
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS?
- Simple Ingredients. The ingredients are simple and plant-based foods you can find anywhere.
- Plant-Based Macro Nutrients. You’re getting both protein and carbohydrates in one bite without a lot of fat.
- Easy Meal Prep. You can make a HUGE batch ahead of time and freeze for a month.
- Inexpensive Dish. The ingredients are affordable.
- It’s YUMMY! They taste AMAZING (the lentil balls have a GREAT like the texture because of the rice).
How to Make These “Meaty” Plant Based Meatballs: (READ FULL RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR FULL INSTRUCTIONS)First saute your onions and mushrooms until they are cooked down. Next add your cooked onions, cooked mushrooms, lentils, seasonings, flax seed “egg” (read instructions below to see how to make this it’s SUPER simple), cilantro, and barbecue sauce to your food processor.
Second process your plant based ingredients being sure not to over process your mixture. You want to keep texture in your meatballs. Once process form your mixture into a meatball shape whatever size you desire.
Lastly heat oil in a pan and heat up your lentil meatballs until the meatballs caramelized and then add your barbecue sauce over lentil meatballs coating evenly as possible. Simmer for awhile to fully infuse the barbecue sauce flavor into the lentil meatballs.
Vegan With Curves Star Ingredient
Lentils are the Vegan With Curves star of this dish and are great for healthy vegan weight gain! For this dish I prefer to use BPA can lentils for an easier prep. Lentils contain such amino acids like valine (a BCAA that helps with muscle growth and muscle repair) and lysine (helps the body absorb calcium). Lentils are also a great source of fiber and are very versatile! You can make loafs, soups, spaghetti, sloppy joes, homemade burgers, or homemade breakfast patties.
How to make this Waste/Weight Release (Weight Loss) Friendly?
These lentil meatballs are not very high in calories alone but here are some ways to make them even more lower in calories as a full dish.
- Serve with large raw salad like my Hemp Cucumber Tomato Salad.
- Omit the barbecue sauce and use tomato sauce instead (it’s lower in sugar).
While you may or may not believe in this old southern tradition, the idea of giving your food intention before you consume it is always a bonus in my book. Enjoy!
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Tell me how it turned out for you! Was it a hit or miss? Tell me about it. Leave a comment below, rate it, and PIN IT! Also tag a photo @_VeganWithCurves and hashtag #VeganWithCurves on Instagram so I can see it!
BBQ Lentil Meatballs
- 1/2 cup dry brown basmati rice
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoon olive oil divided
- 1/2 cup onion chopped
- 2 cups chopped mushrooms
- 15 oz BPA free can of lentils (if using dried use green lentils yield 2 cups when cooked)
- 1/8 cup chopped cilantro (optional, tho I highly recommend)
- 1/2 teaspoon Pink Himalayan sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 2/3 cup old fashioned gluten free oats
- 2 -3 tablespoons BBQ sauce (more or less depending on your taste)
- 2 tablespoons vegan worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
- Cook brown rice according to directions and set aside. I use this brand HERE.
- Next you are going to make your flax egg. Take a small bowl, add flax seed, water and mix well. Set aside.
- Next add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large pan and heat over medium high heat. Add chopped onions and mushrooms. Cook until vegetables are fully translucent. Once cooked turn off heat and set aside.
- Open your can lentil, pour into a colander and rinse excess sodium off. Add to a food processor.
- Then add cook veggies, cooked rice, flax egg, oats, cilantro, salt, garlic powder, dried basil, 1 tablespoon of BBQ sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and liquid smoke to food processor. Blend in your food processor fully until mixture is completely combined. Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.
- If mixture is two wet, put mixture refrigerator for about 30 minutes so that it can stiffen up. (I would caution against adding flour. I have found that personally sometimes flour can give it a pasty like taste tho some have added flour to stiffen up this recipe with great success.)
- Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F. Start to form your lentil balls placing each one on a pan lined with parchment paper. Brush Barbecue sauce on each lentil ball (as much as you like to your liking).
- Place in oven for 20-25 minutes total. In about 10 minutes, once they start to crisped up, flipped them for an even cook. You can add more barbecue sauce if you like. Once fully cooked, take out oven and allow to cool. Serve with you favorite sides or as an appetizer.
PAN FRYING INSTRUCTIONS:
- Start to form your lentil balls placing each one on a pan lined with parchment paper. Place in refrigerator for one hour to help firm up.
- Once fully set, remove from refrigerator, grab a pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Once oil is hot place each ball in hot oil pan and heat all the way through for about 2 minutes on each side until the lentil balls form a caramelized coating on each side. Do not leave unattended.
- Add 2 tablespoon of BBQ sauce to pan and turn down heat. Make sure you coat every lentil ball and simmer for a 1 to 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let cool for 2 minutes. Serve with you favorite sides or as an appetizer.
- The original recipe called for breadcrumbs but some stated it did not hold as well as oats. You can use either breadcrumbs or oats whatever works better for you.
- Freezes really well! To freeze for later use, make a big batch, form your balls and keep in the freezer for a month. When you are ready to cook let them slightly thaw and bake and or pan fry.
- Try forming these into patties for a plant-based veggie burger...yummm
- You can make smaller balls so it can serve as an appetizer.
- Experiment with different sauces with these lentil balls! (A vegan gravy sauce or top over spaghetti!)
- The rice helps give it a hearty texture but you can substitute the rice with quinoa or walnuts
Equipment used for photos:
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