Pasta is a family favorite. We eat it maybe twice a month, well it depends on the mood of the household chef. Or in the words of my husband “what’s cookin’ vegan mama?”. Today’s menu is pasta marinara with lentil quinoa balls, a.k.a faux meatballs.
My mom who lives in California regularly sends me beans and legumes so I have a lifetime supply in case apocalypse ensues, haha! But really, my mom up to this day, still shops for us, her children. I tell her not to but the box keeps poppin’ without notice. So if you’re reading this mom, your lentils came in handy for this recipe!
These lentil quinoa balls are so tasty, even the non-lentil fan can devour it without knowing (read: how to handle non-vegan family). The secret is in the combination of herbs and spices, which time and again, is what I tell people who ask me what’s the easiest way to transition to vegan or plant-based lifestyle. Herb, spices, seasonings. So cook the same way, season the same way but take out meat. And trust me, as you get more and more comfortable with this way of life, the less hassle you will have to endure thinking about what to eat or how to prepare your food. Everything can be veganized at this day and age.
This recipe requires advance preparation. Meaning, you have to cook the lentils and quinoa ahead of time to allow it to cool for a while before making the balls. Old school says to soak the lentils but based on my experience, it really doesn’t matter. Just boil a cup of two for good 15 minutes or until cooked to your desired liking. Quinoa is the next best thing after brown rice, in my humble opinion. It’s rich in fiber and protein, hence you see a lot of vegan bodybuilders packing on quinoa and beans every meal. Plants have proteins, eat the rainbow, eat in variety. You have all the nutrition sans the artery-clogging cholesterol.
While you can use store-bought marinara sauce, it’s always better to make your own. Here’s the recipe for both lentil quinoa balls and marinara:
Pasta, check. Homemade marinara sauce, check. Lentil quinoa a.k.a faux meatballs, double check! Easy to make, easy to bake. Another home run vegan recipe for the tribe.
- 1 cup lentils, cooked, drained
- 1/2 cup quinoa, cooked, drained
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- 1 tbsp thyme
- 1 tbsp basil
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1 tbsp dry rosemary, crushed
- 1/2 cup nutrional yeast
- 1 can crushed organic tomatoes
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 tbsp dry basil
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1 tbsp rosemary, crused
- dash, garlic salt and pepper
Boil lentils for 15-minutes. Drain. Cool for 30 minutes
Boil quinoa per package instructions. Drain. Cool for 30 minutes.
In a blender, pulse cooked lentils. Pour over mixing bowl.
Mix lentils, quinoa and spices. Form a ball. Place in baking pan lined with parchment paper.
Pre-heat oven 350 degrees.
Bake balls for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
In a pan, combine all ingredients. Simmer 10 minutes in low heat.
Serve with spaghetti. Top with chopped parsley.
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