Almost as long as I’ve been cooking in the kitchen, I’ve been tweaking recipes. When I first started learning about eating a more plant-based diet and healthier foods, it wasn’t as easy to find clean-eating recipes as it is today. There weren’t two dozen healthy recipe blogs per household back then. So I tweaked. I looked at traditional recipes and found ways to keep the essence of the recipe the same while drastically changing the health profile.
I’m not a vegan or even a vegetarian, but we do eat a lot of plant-based meals in our house. We’ve been eating this way long enough that we’re at the point it’s pretty natural and easy. I know that for the everyday family, however, swapping meat for a vegan meal can be intimidating.
Today I want to encourage you to give it a try. Dedicate one night a week for a meatless meal and you’ll be doing your body a solid along with the environment and your wallet. Since it’s football season, why not take the #MeatlessMondayNight challenge and give a game day recipe a meatless spin?! I’ve got just the recipe for you.
These Comfort No-Meat Balls are based (very loosely, obviously!) on Ree Drummond’s Comfort Meatballs. Meatballs are standard tailgating and game day fare, but you can get all of the comfort and taste without the beef. I swap out the meat in favor of a combination of lentils and black beans. Can we just talk about how much cheaper these alternatives are? If you’re buying high-quality ground beef, you’re paying $5.99/pound, minimum, so the 1 1/2 pounds of meat is going to cost you at least $9.00. How much will the lentils and beans cost you? About $1.38. Yeah, your budget is smiling already.
I even keep these no-meat balls dairy-free and gluten-free by using Silk Almondmilk and oats. And while these no-meat balls are perfect for game day, they also make a great meal. We’ve eaten them with rice and also on a bun for a no-meat ball slider! I hope you take the #MeatlessMondayNight challenge and start with these comforting no-meat balls!Print
Comforting No-Meat Balls
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 70 minutes
- Yield: 6 - 8 servings 1x
- Category: Appetiser
- Cuisine: American
For the No-Meat Balls
1 cup dry lentils+water
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup Silk Almondmilk
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup cooked black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup flour (oat flour, whole wheat flour, or flour of your choice)
avocado oil or higher-heat oil of choice
for the sauce
1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup tamari, soy sauce, or coconut aminos
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4–1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (to taste)
Start by cooking your lentils. (Or you may use already cooked, canned lentils. You’ll need 2 1/2 cups cooked lentils.) Add your lentils and enough water to cover by a few inches to a sauce pan and bring to a rapid simmer. Reduce the heat, partially cover the pan, and gently simmer until the lentils are soft and the water is absorbed, about 20-30 minutes. Add more water during the cooking time if necessary.
Put the black beans in a medium bowl and partially mash them. Leave a few beans in tact for texture. Put the oats in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the cooked lentils and pulse a few more times. Add the Silk Almondmilk, salt, ginger, garlic powder, and black pepper and pulse again. Do not over mix. Your mixture will look creamy oatmeal.
Add the lentil mixture to the black beans and stir well. Form the mixture into tablespoon size balls. Refrigerate the balls for 30 minutes or freeze them for 15 minutes to help them firm up.
Make the sauce. Mix all sauce ingredients together in a bowl and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a thin layer of the oil (about 2-4 tablespoons) in a large skillet pan. Place the flour in a shallow bowl and dredge each ball in the flour and then place in the heated pan. Brown all sides of the ball, being careful as you move the no-meat balls from side to side.
Place the no-meat balls into a rectangular baking dish. Top with the sauce and bake in the oven until hot and bubbly, about 20-30 minutes. Enjoy!
This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 181
- Sugar: 17.5g
- Sodium: 477.9mg
- Fat: 1.5g
- Carbohydrates: 38g
- Protein: 6.1g