These lentil and rice vegan meatballs are a great make-a-head meal and a perfect dish to feed a family.

vegan lentil meatballs
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I'm so happy to finally share a recipe from my friend Desiree's latest book, Eat More Plants! A couple of winters ago I got the privilege of hunkering down in her East Vancouver basement to help her make this book.

Along the way I taste-tested pretty much eeeevery recipe and can attest to how delicious it all is. Today I'm sharing these lentil and rice vegan "meatballs" with spiced tomato sauce. Desiree calls these Mujaddara Neatballs as these are made with the same spices, like cumin and turmeric,  as the traditional middle eastern dish.

Vegan and Gluten Free Lentil and Rice Meatballs

Ingredients

  • green or brown lentils
  • brown rice
  • purred tomatoes
  • yellow onion
  • garlic
  • Medjool dates
  • ground flax
  • gluten-free breadcrumbs or panko
  • cumin
  • turmeric
  • cinnamon
  • allspice
  • coriander
  • salt
  • dried thyme
  • black Pepper
  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
How to make a vegan and gluten free meatball with rice and lentil.

Eat More Plants!

Eat More Plants is packed to the brim with family-friendly anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense, 100% plant-based recipes. As a registered dietitian, Desiree is a great source of reliable information and creates nutritious and balanced meals without any fuss or stress.

If fact, the entire first chapter of this book is dedicated to just nutrition. Her recipes are perfect for weekly meals and use simple and natural ingredients that anyone can find at their local supermarket. Whether you're plant-based or just looking to add more veggies to your diet, this book will be a source of inspiration.

Method

To make the vegan meatballs, begin by heating the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking try with parchment and set aside.

How to make a vegan and gluten free meatball with rice and lentil.

In a food processor combine all the "meatball" ingredients, pulse until the mix is about ⅔ pureed—you want it to be sticky but not a paste.

How to make a vegan and gluten free meatball with rice and lentil.

Scoop out about 24 "meatballs' using a rounded tablespoon. Place them on the prepared sheet. You may need to wash your hands a few times during the process so that the mixture doesn't stick too badly.

Roast the balls in the oven for 24 minutes, flipping halfway through.

How to make a vegan and gluten free meatball with rice and lentil.

Meanwhile, while the balls are cooking make the tomato sauce. In a skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute. Add the spices and cook for another 30 seconds, stirring often.

Add the tomatoes and simmer over medium-low for about 15 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and salt before serving.

How to make a vegan and gluten free meatball with rice and lentil.

Serve balls with tomato sauce over your choice of base. Garnish with parsley, and chilli flakes if desired.

Tips + Notes

I've made plenty of vegan meatballs in my life, and often run into issues with them crumbling and not holding together, but these ones are seriously a dream. They have great meat-like texture and hold together when reheating (perfect for a meatball sub too).

Since the recipe calls for both cooked lentils and rice, which can add a bit more time to your meal prep,  you can either used canned lentils or make a big batch of both as part of your weekly meal prep.

To help lighten up the meal a little, I served these with a roasted spaghetti squash (I like to cut them in half and roast in a 400°F oven with sea salt and olive until tender), but they would be just as good with sautéed frozen green beans and garlic, or a big green salad.

Substitutions for vegan meatballs

  • For an easier dinner opt for bottled sauce
  • Serve on rice, quinoa, pasta, or green beans
  • Double the batch and freeze extra for a convenient frozen dinner
  • Serve with a nice big salad like this Caesar salad

Recipe

vegan lentil meatballs
Print Recipe
4.72 from 21 votes

Lentil + Rice Vegan Meatballs

These meatballs are super high in protein and fibre and will keep you going. Try serving over green beans instead of squash or as is alongside side a big ol' bowl of caesar salad.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Parchment paper
  • Baking tray
  • Food processor
  • Skillet
  • Wooden spoon

Ingredients

MEATBALLS

  • 2 cans lentils 14 oz, 398 ml, or 3 ½ cups cooked green or brown lentils
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • ½ cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 or 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 5 Medjool dates pitted and diced
  • ¼ cup ground flax
  • ¼ cup gluten-free breadcrumbs or panko
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • Black Pepper

TOMATO SAUCE

  • 1 or 2 clove garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 can 28 oz / 798 ml pureed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt

GARNISH

  • Flatleaf parsley
  • Chilli flakes

Instructions

  • Begin by heating the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking tray with parchment and set aside.
  • In a food processor combine all the "meatball" ingredients, pulse until the mix is about ⅔ pureed—you want it to be sticky but not a paste.
  • Scoop out about 24 "meatballs' using a rounded tablespoon. Place them on the prepared sheet. You may need to wash your hands a few times during the process so that the mixture doesn't stick too badly.
  • Roast the balls in the oven for 24 minutes, flipping halfway through.
  • Meanwhile, while the balls are cooking make the tomato sauce. In a skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute. Add the spices and cook for another 30 seconds, stirring often.
  • Add the tomatoes and simmer over medium-low for about 15 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and salt before serving.
  • Serve balls with tomato sauce over your choice of base. Garnish with parsley, and chilli flakes if desired.

Notes

From Eat More Plants by Desiree Nielsen. Copyright © 2019. Reprinted by permission of Penguin Random House Canada Limited.

One Comment

  1. Hello there! So good to find you!<3
    I have been given the idea to provide manna bread for ancient hippies like me to buy.
    What suggestions for ingredients to use with it migĥt you have for this wonderful, soft, yummy food from heaven?
    I used it for toast...lazy me! Lol
    Thanks for what you do!
    <3

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