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Meatballs and marinara are a timeless and traditional classic that everyone loves. Trust me when I say, you won’t miss the beef once you sink your teeth into these juicy and flavorful lentil meatballs. Your family will be amazed at this plant-based dish. If you’re a spaghetti and meatballs lover, serve these over a bed of cooked spaghetti or spaghetti squash. Personally, I just love them soaked in homemade marinara sauce. No matter how you serve them, these vegan meatballs are insanely delicious!   Reprinted with permission from Easy Low-Cal Vegan Eats by Jillian Glenn, Page Street Publishing Co. 2021. Photo credit: Maureen Onda

Meatballs & Marinara [Vegan]



Ingredients You Need for Meatballs & Marinara [Vegan]

  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (80 g) diced onion, divided
  • 1 tablespoon (8 g) minced garlic
  • 1 (30-oz [849-g]) can tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) tomato paste, divided
  • 1 tablespoon (3 g) finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons (16 g) axseed meal 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) warm water
  • 1 cup (246 g) canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup (198 g) canned lentils, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons (7 g) Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup (25 g) vegan Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup (7 g) fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup (54 g) vegan bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup (31 g) regular or gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • Olive oil spray, for pan

How to Prepare Meatballs & Marinara [Vegan]

  1. Prepare the marinara sauce: In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add 1/4 cup (40 g) of the onion and the minced garlic. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until golden. Stir in the tomato sauce, 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the tomato paste and the basil and oregano. Lower the heat to low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare your flax eggs: In a small bowl, mix the flaxseed meal with the warm water and set aside to rest for 2 minutes.
  4. Prepare the meatballs: In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, lentils, remaining 1/4 cup (40 g) of onion, flax eggs, garlic cloves, Italian seasoning and remaining tablespoon (15 ml) of tomato paste and pulse until well mixed. Add the vegan Parmesan, rosemary, bread crumbs and flour. Pulse until combined and use your hands to roll the mixture into about 18 balls, each about 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) in diameter.
  5. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and spray generously with olive oil. Add the meatballs and brown on all sides. Transfer the meatballs to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes until they are lightly browned and crisp on the outside.
  6. Serve warm with the marinara sauce.

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