Monday, May 3, 2010

Lentils make it better

I'm trying to get our meat consumption down to 3 or 4 times a week. To my husband, this translates to: Holy shit she's turning me into a vegetarian! He's Italian. I'll let it slide.
Through my Mom (as per usual) she showed me a recipe for lentil meatballs. Since my sister, Carly, is all about no meat these days, I figured I'd wait and make it on a day she'd be staying over night to watch the kids in the morning.
To be frank, I had outdone myself. They were delish!

Here's the recipe via In Jennie's Kitchen:

2 cups cooked lentils, pureed
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 cup fresh ricotta
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoon chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Canola oil for frying

Add all ingredients to a deep bowl. Mix very well, using hands or a wooden spoon. Cover and refrigerate for two hours or overnight.
When ready to cook, shape mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls. Heat about 1/2-inch of oil in a nonstick skillet over medium flame. Add shaped "meatballs" and cook until browned all around, turning only once. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and let excess drain off. Add to simmering marinara sauce if serving immediately, or store in a tightly covered container up to three days.

Here's how I modified it:
I didn't have fresh ricotta, so I had to let it sit in a strainer for about 30 minutes to let the excess water run out. Also, I prepared my lentils in organic vegetable broth, and didn't puree them too much. I left some whole pieces in it. Also, I used Egg Beaters and olive oil.
I also made my favorite sauce for it and served it over whole wheat pasta. It was amazing.

This past weekend, I wanted to try another lentil recipe with Matt present. He wasn't thrilled, but he said it was edible. I personally think he's just mad it wasn't ground turkey.
makes 4 to 6, depending on size
These veggie burgers heat well wrapped loosely in foil in 350ºF oven.
1 1/2 cups cooked lentils (about 10 ounces)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2  cup plain breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
Place lentils in the workbowl of a food processor. Pulse until mostly pureed, leaving some whole lentil pieces. Turn into a mixing bowl and stir in the egg and 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs. Cover and refrigerate for two hours, or overnight.
Remove lentil mixture from the refrigerator and stir in the remaining breadcrumbs. Shape into 4 to 6 patties. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add patties and cook until golden brown all over, about 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Serve hot on toasted buns or over mixed greens.
*Again, I used Egg Beaters and made my lentils in vegetable broth. Instead of buns I used Arnolds. It was so amazing. 

Give it a try, I swear, it's good! 


Bachelor Girl said...

I'm definitely going to try these. The Guy and I are just about ready to commit ourselves to not buying anymore meat that isn't organic/free-range/hormone-free/all-natural/humanely raised/etc., which is VERY expensive, so we won't be eating nearly as much meat. Therefore, we're looking for lots of meatless main dishes.

I'll let you know how mine turn out!

Cassie said...

Please do! Carly is on the same page as you. I am pretty strict about my meat consumption. You go, girl!