I try to make a vegetarian meal probably about once a week. Even though my husband is a good sport about it, and likes the vegetarian meals, I still get a little worried when I make them. I started out planning on just making Lentil Balls, but then feared that he would want some more meat. We had some leftover ground sausage in the fridge so I thought, I might as well add some to the mix as it would lend some good flavor. When Raymond got home and asked me what was for dinner that night I panicked and just said, "uh...balls". I don't think he was really sure what to think but his reaction was priceless. In the end these turned out fantastic, we both really loved the flavor, and I'm pretty sure we both would have enjoyed them even without the sausage.
1 cup dried lentils (or substitute 1 can)
3/4 cup almonds
2/3 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup onion, chopped
4 oz Ground Italian Sausage
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 jar (24-28oz) marinara sauce
Place lentils in a pot with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil for for 2 or 3 minutes, then reduce heat to simmer till done. The length of cooking time will vary depending on how old your lentils are. Green and brown lentils will need about 45 minutes, red lentils will take about 25 minutes.
Meanwhile grind oats and almonds into a powder. This should make about 1 cup of oat/almond meal. Add a bit more oats if necessary to reach 1 cup.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees-F.
Drain and roughly mash the lentils with a fork.
Combine the lentils, sausage, onions, egg, oat and almond meal mixture and mix well.
Add garlic salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes.
Form mixture into small balls. I ended up with 17.
Coat the bottom of a baking dish with your favorite marinara sauce.
Place the lentil balls in the dish and drizzle or spritz with olive oil. You don't need a lot, just add a bit to prevent the lentil balls from drying out.
Bake in oven for about 25 min or until the sausage and lentil balls are firm and the sauce has reduced.
While the sausage and lentil balls are cooking, cook your favorite pasta al dente. Let the sausage and lentil balls rest for about 5 minutes after you take them out of the oven, then serve over your favorite pasta and top with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
Leftovers make great meatball sandwiches as well! :)
Not including sauce or pasta, for 1 ball: Calories - 68.2, Fat - 3.3g, Sodium - 61.7 mg, Potassium - 89.4mg, Dietary Fiber - 1.6g, Sugars - 0.2g, Protein - 4.0g