Preparing spaghetti and lentil meatballs (which are really meatless lentil balls … which doesn’t sound appetizing at all … so let’s never call them meatless lentil balls again) is a great option when you’re cooking for a vegan date. It’s a meal that will A) fit her dietary guidelines, B) fill both of you up, and C) taste delicious.
Top to bottom, all of the ingredients — including gluten-free spaghetti and sauce — will cost about $40 and keep you in the kitchen for an hour and change. Regarding prep, getting pre-peeled garlic and onions will shave off a few minutes. Most of the ingredients can be found at your local grocery chain, with an exception being the nutritional yeast, which may require an additional stop at a health food store.
Since you already know how to make spaghetti, let’s concentrate on making the
meatless lentil balls lentil meatballs …
Prep time: 20-25 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes
2 cups red lentils (rinsed)
3 cups vegetable stock
½ cup chopped onions
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 ounces crimini mushrooms (sliced)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup nutritional yeast
1 cup finely ground flax seeds
¼ cup gluten free flour
Salt and pepper to taste
How to cook it
1. Put the lentils, vegetable stock, garlic, and onions into a medium pot and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down, cover the lentils, and let simmer until they’re soft (about 20-25 minutes). Mash with a fork or potato masher, if you own one.
2. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and thyme and sauté for about 5-6 minutes (or until the shrooms are soft).
3. Use a food processor (or blender) to combine half the lentil mix with the mushrooms, flax seeds, and nutritional yeast; blend. Add that mixture to the remaining lentil mix, adding in one tablespoon of flour at a time while stirring. When the mixture reaches room temperature, make the balls (heh heh).
4. Start boiling the water for pasta; add the pasta when the water comes to a boil (about 8-10 minutes).
5. Add a tiny amount of oil to a skillet over medium heat. Put as many lentil balls into the skillet as possible without them touching one another. Flip them often so they’re brown on all sides; when the balls are golden brown, remove them from the skillet. This should take about 4 minutes, but keep watch — they burn easy.
6. Remove and drain the pasta; add lentil meatballs and sauce; serve.
Photography by Erica Schultz