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French Lentil Meatballs

These "meatballs" made with French Lentils, parsley and ricotta cheese are a perfect stand-in for the real thing. The texture is perfect with a tender inside and crunchy outside. The fresh flavours in the lemony pesto are a wonderful compliment to the peppery lentils. Serve with pasta, sautéed greens or stuff into a pita. These would also be delicious with a tomato sauce.

Purchase our GRAIN French Lentils for this recipe here. 

French Lentil Meatballs with Lemony Pesto - from Sprouted Kitchen


2 cups cooked French lentils
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup ricotta
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. fennel seed, crushed
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh parsley
1 hefty pinch of dried or fresh thyme
1 tsp. each sea salt and pepper
2/3 cup breadcrumbs

Lemony Pesto

1 clove garlic
1/4 cup pinenuts
Zest and juice of one Meyer lemon
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 cup packed basil leaves
1/4 - 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp. grated parmesan
2 Tbsp. water to thin

Soak French lentils in water for 4-6 hours (this step is optional but recommended). Rinse lentils and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 25 minutes or until soft. Using a food processor, blend lentils until smooth. Transfer lentils to a large bowl and add eggs, ricotta, parmesan, garlic, fennel seed, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Stir in the bread crumbs and let stand for 20 minutes.

To make the pesto, add garlic, pine nuts, lemon zest and juice, and salt to a food processor. Pulse until smooth. While blending, add the basil and olive oil. Thin with water or more oil until the desired consistency is reached. Stir in the parmesan and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400º. Check the lentil mixture is the right consistency by rolling into a 1 inch ball. If it doesn't stay together add more breadcrumbs, 1 Tbsp at a time. Line up the rolled meatballs onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, gently turning the balls over after 10 minutes.

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