1 cup dry lentils
2 large eggs
2/3 cup Italian-flavored breadcrumbs
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper
Olive oil, for frying
Cook the lentils in water until tender, about 20 minutes.
Drain and measure out 2 cups; allow to cool about 10 minutes.
Put the cooked lentils in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped.
Transfer the lentils to a bowl.
Add the eggs, breadcrumbs, ricotta, Parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper.
Mix until well combined.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Shape the mixture into 1-1/2 inch balls.
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Coat the bottom of the skillet with olive oil.
When the oil is hot, add the meatballs.
Don’t crowd them; cook them in batches if necessary.
Cook the meatballs until golden brown on all sides, about 7-8 minutes.
Add the cooked meatballs to a saucepan of simmering tomato sauce.
Cook the meatballs on a slow simmer in the sauce for 30 to 40 minutes.
These are delicious vegetarian "meatballs" made with lentils and ricotta cheese.
They have a texture and flavor similar to ground beef meatballs.
The meatballs can be served without cooking them in the sauce.
But since lentils absorb the flavors they are cooked with, the sauce does give them added flavor.
One cup of dry lentils yields about 2 cups or more of cooked lentils.
Only puree 2 cups and save any extra you may have for another use.
You must refrigerate the mixture before shaping the balls.
This makes it easier to form the meatballs and hold them together during cooking.