These plant-based “meatballs” made with lentils, quinoa and Beyond Meat ground “beef” served with creamy polenta, red chard, tomato sauce & oregano will satisfy the omnivores in your family enough for them to request more.
As I’m a lifelong vegetarian-turned-vegan, it’s easy for me not to crave meat, however that said, there were a few rare times that I did. Yes, I’ll admit, after delivering my second child I demanded a steak to eat. (I didn’t actually have a steak, however I did order all the latkes from the deli nearby and completely devoured them.) Also, way back when, after a year of eating only a raw vegan diet, I had too much wine and, while quite soused, scarfed down my boyfriend’s entire lamb burger. Oh, it took me several days to feel better after that one.
I can assure you, these plump little “meaty” cuties made with plant-based “beef” and lentils will make anyone as happy as a free range cow at a vegan farm.
Just in case you’ve been confusing “plant-based” eaters with “vegans” — there is a difference.
Plant-based is eating mainly vegetables, fruits, and “plants” and foods made with whole unprocessed ingredients that are not derived from animals. There are plant-based eaters that do also eat meats, animal products, and seafood.
Vegans eat only plants (fruits and veggies) and absolutely no animal anything whatsoever.
As I am mostly vegan (vegan-ish, as I’ll taste a bite of fish now and then, especially around Chef Gordon Ramsay) it certainly does not mean I am incapable of cooking meats and fish. I’m formally trained as a chef, with two years of culinary school in French classic cooking and pastry. I also taught myself the fine art of braising meats many years back, just to learn out of curiosity. As I am currently vegan (if I need to label myself) I do believe in encouraging a “more plants, less meats” approach to eating. This philosophy is for wellness, and also a love for eating all the beautiful fruits and veggies.
Yet, for the sake of giving you my chef credentials, once I had to break down a whole chicken as part of my culinary training. This is a classic cooking basic for professional chefs.
Now that I’ve fleshed out my background in meats, I hope you’ll all the more appreciate these meatless “meatballs” made with Beyond Meat ground “beef” and lentils.
Meatballs with Creamy Polenta
- 4 tbl olive oil
- 1 shallot (minced)
- 3 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flaxseed meal + 2 1/2 tbsp water)
- 1/2 cup quinoa, cooked
- 1 10oz package of Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles
- 2 cups steamed lentils
- 1 1/2 tbl dried basil + oregano
- 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- 4 tbsp tomato sauce, plus more as needed
- 5 tbl nutritional yeast
- 1/4 tsp sea salt + black pepper (to taste)
- 1 cup polenta
- 3 cups water
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter
- 1/4 cup white cannellini beans, pureéd (with spoonful of nutmilk)
- sea salt + pepper
- creamy polenta
- tomato marinara
- fresh oregano & basil
- chopped red chard
- Heat oven to 350F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large pan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil, shallot and garlic. Sauté for 3 minutes, or until golden. Remove from heat and turn off flame.
- In a food processor, add flaxseed and water, blend, and let set for 2-3 minutes.
- Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, sautéed garlic and shallot, dried herbs, parsley, tomato sauce, nutritional yeast, and a pinch of sea salt and pepper. Pulse, mixing just until combined.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt and pepper or herbs for flavor, nutritional yeast for flavor, or more olive oil to moisten.
- In a large bowl, add the steamed lentils, Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles, and quinoa. Add the blended ingredients from the food processor into the bowl to combine, stirring all ingredients together.
- Gently mash the lentils with a potato masher or fork to incorporate them into the mix.
- If the mixture is too wet, add some more quinoa or nutritional yeast. If it’s too dry, add some tomato sauce.
- Use a spoon to scoop out small amounts and form small meatballs with your hand to shape into balls.
- Place each meatball on the baking sheet. Bake in oven for about 20 minutes or until they look juicy and cooked through.
- While the meatballs are baking in the oven, prepare your polenta and marinara sauce.
- Remove meatballs from oven and serve over creamy polenta (or pasta) with marinara sauce.
- Leftover meatballs can be kept in the freezer for 1-2 months. Reheat in a 350F degrees oven until warm and serve with sauce, or add to pot of sauce and cook through.
make creamy polenta:
- Bring 3 cups of water to a boil with a pinch of sea salt. Slowly add in the polenta while whisking. Continue whisking for a few minutes until smooth.
- Continue cooking the polenta for 20-30 minutes, whisking often.
- Blend the white cannellini beans with a little nut milk.
- Add the vegan butter and olive oil into a saucepan and melt on low heat. Sauté the garlic until lightly golden.
- Turn heat off and whisk in the garlic, olive oil, butter, sea salt, pepper and blended white bean mixture into the polenta. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside for serving.