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overhead shot of one of the bowls with lentil meatballs, quinoa, kale, roasted vegetables, and roasted red pepper tahini sauce

Black Lentil Walnut Meatball Bowls


  • Author: Allison
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x

Description

These vegan black lentil walnut meatball bowls combine lentil meatballs, kale, roasted vegetables, quinoa, and smoky sun-dried tomato tahini sauce for a vegan meal with some serious wow factor!


Scale

Ingredients

BLACK LENTIL WALNUT MEATBALLS

  • 1 cup raw walnut halves
  • 3 cups cooked black or French green lentils (from 1 cup dry lentils)
  • 1/2 cup oat flour, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax
  • 1/3 cup pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons reduced sodium tamari
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup chopped basil or parsley

SMOKY SUN-DRIED TOMATO TAHINI SAUCE

  • 3/4 cup water, plus more as needed to thin
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (oil drained off as much as possible), chopped
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 medium garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

ROASTED VEGETABLES

  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced into half circles
  • 2 bell peppers, diced (any colour)
  • 1 medium leek, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch each sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

SIMPLE MASSAGED KALE

  • 1 large bunch of green kale, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

FOR SERVING

  • Cooked grain of choice (quinoa, brown rice, farro, millet, buckwheat, etc.)

Instructions

  1. Make the meatballs. Place the walnuts in a food processor and pulse until a coarse meal forms. Transfer into a large bowl.
  2. Pulse the lentils in the food processor until broken up but not totally pureed. Add them to the bowl with the walnuts. Next, add the ground flax, oat flour, and chopped olives.
  3. Warm the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the celery and cook five minutes more. Mix in the pepper, rosemary, thyme, chili flakes, tamari, balsamic, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook for a couple more minutes to allow the flavours to intermingle.
  4. Add the sautéed onion mixture to the bowl with the walnuts, lentils, etc. Add the chopped basil or parsley. Stir to combine and if the mixture seems too wet, add more oat flour, 2 tablespoons at a time, until you have a mixture that you are able to roll into balls without it sticking to your fingers. (Sometimes, 1/2 cup of oat flour has been enough, and other times, I have had to add up to 1/4 cup more.)
  5. Line one large or two medium rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Roll the mixture into spheres the size of golf balls (I usually make 24-26 balls), placing them on the prepared baking sheet(s) as you go. I recommend leaving some space in between each one so that they bake evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes. They’re ready when they’re firm and crisp around the edges, with nicely browned bottoms.
  7. While the meatballs are in the oven, prepare the other components of the bowls. Make the smoky sun-dried tomato tahini sauce by adding the water, tahini, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, sun-dried tomatoes, smoked paprika, garlic, maple syrup, sea salt, and pepper to a blender and blending until smooth. You may wish to add more water if a thinner sauce is desired. Transfer into a jar until ready to serve.
  8. Prepare the roasted vegetables: Place the zucchini and peppers (or more seasonal vegetables) in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and toss to coat. Spread out on a baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes (or longer if you are roasting root vegetables, such as beets).
  9. Make the massaged kale: Place the kale in a bowl. Whisk together the oil, lemon, garlic, salt, and pepper in a little dish and pour over the kale. Massage the dressing into the kale until the leaves are tender and bright green.
  10. Serve the bowls: Divide quinoa, kale, roasted vegetables, and desired number of meatballs between bowls. Drizzle with tahini sauce and serve.

Notes

How to cook lentils: Rinse lentils in a fine mesh sieve to get rid of any dirt and debris. Add them to a medium saucepan and cover with a few inches of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then turn down heat slightly and maintain a rolling simmer until lentils are tender but not falling apart, about 20 minutes. Then drain and proceed with your recipe.

Definitely do your best to use black or French green lentils here: They hold their shape the best and are a bit firmer than other lentils. If you can’t find either, your best bet is to use brown lentils.

As you can see, there are quite a few components to these bowls, but let me assure you that everything comes together quite quickly once you have the meatballs in the oven. The meatballs can also be made in advance to cut down on your workload at one time. And honestly, as long as you make the meatballs and sun-dried tomato tahini sauce, you can take an easier route and simply steam kale or broccoli for your veg instead of doing the roasted vegetables and massaged kale!

Also, the tahini sauce makes a generous amount. I do this on purpose so that you’ll have sauce to enjoy on lots of different dishes during the week… I don’t know about you, but I find it reassuring to know that I have homemade sauces and dressings on hand in the fridge. But if you want a smaller amount of sauce, feel free to make a half batch!

To make these nut-free, I’m sure that you could use sunflower seeds in place of the walnuts.