Lentil Meatballs, and Baby Balls too!

hat This is Asher’s “surprise” face.

finger OK so I know I share a lot of stories about Asher, but I also have this 6-month old sweet, gentle, observant, incredibly smiley little guy named Everett who is currently in the throes of trying new foods every day. It’s really amazing seeing a little person try new flavors, and especially gratifying when they devour the whole bowl with a wide open mouth. This time around we are opting to buy a lot of store-bought purees, but I vividly remember making all of Asher’s baby food and later pureeing a serving size of whatever casserole we were eating for dinner in the food processor, adding a 1/4 cup bread crumbs, and rolling it into a million “poop” balls as my husband lovingly called them for him to try. Then ta-dah! your freezer is full of balls that you don’t use within the recommended three months.

Speaking of food balls, a few weeks ago I tried a remarkable recipe for lentil meatballs and people have been asking for the recipe. These meatballs hold together beautifully and a have rich, herbal taste. Yes, they also freeze well. The recipe recommends serving them with a lemon pesto rather than the traditional marinara.

LENTIL MEATBALLS

1 cup lentils, rinsed
2 cups water
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup ricotta
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoons freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
Few pinches of fresh thyme leaves or dried thyme
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2/3 cup bread crumbs

Put the lentils in a pot with the water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until the lentils are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain the lentils and set aside to cool. Transfer the lentils to a food processor and pulse until it forms a chunky puree. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add the eggs, olive oil, ricotta, Parmesan, garlic, fennel seeds, parsley, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine well. Stir in the bread crumbs and let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the lentil mixture into 1-inch balls and arrange them on the baking sheet. Bake until the tops are golden brown, gently turning the balls over halfway through, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove to cool slightly.

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