The marinara sauce is so easy it only has 6 ingredients and perfect with the veggie meatballs!
Servings: about 12 to 14 golf-ball size meatballs.
1 cup cooked brown lentils
1 cup yellow onion chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
1/2 cup cremini mushrooms chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon fresh basil chopped
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese grated
1/2 tsp salt + pepper (each)
Marinara Sauce ingredients:
1 28 ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
7 garlic cloves, peeled and slivered
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 fresh basil leaves
1. To cook dry lentils (skip this step if using canned lentils): Cook 1/2 cup lentils on stove top, using 1 1/2 cups water. Be sure to use a large enough saucepan as the lentils will double or triple in size. Bring to a boil, cover tightly, reduce heat and simmer until they are tender. About 15-20 minutes. Drain if needed and measure out 1 cup cooked lentils for the recipe.
2. Meanwhile, chop yellow onion, garlic and cremini mushrooms. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a skillet on medium heat, add chopped veggies to pan and sauté until soft. About 5 minutes.
3. Once vegetables are soft and lentils are cooked, add to food processor along with breadcrumbs, fresh basil, egg, grated cheese and salt + pepper. Pulse ingredients until combined. Use a spatula to scrape down sides as needed. You'll want the mixture to be well-combined, very mushy and sticky.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a baking sheet with extra-virgin olive oil. Use a two tablespoon ice cream scope to form golf-ball size meatballs. Place on greased baking sheet.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes. Rotate the pan every 10 minutes. The longer you leave them in the oven, the crispier the outside will become.
Marinara Sauce Instructions:
1. Pour tomatoes into a large bowl and crush with hands. Pour 1 cup water into can and slosh it around to get tomato juices. Set aside.
2. In a large skillet (do not use a deep pot) over medium heat, heat the oil with crushed red pepper flakes. When it is hot, add garlic.
3. As soon as garlic is sizzling (do not let it brown), add the tomatoes, then the reserved tomato water. Add salt and stir.
4. Place basil leaves on top of sauce and let them wilt, then submerge in sauce. Simmer sauce until thickened and oil on surface is a deep orange, about 15 minutes. While the sauce is simmering add each meatball to the sauce and make sure they are next to each other and drench the sauce over the meatballs. Simmer for an additional 15 or 20 minutes. Enjoy!