Spinach Lentil Meatballs w Pesto Sauce
Running with the lentil meatball train I seem to be on (with these Swedish Lentil Meatballs and the Italian Lentil Meatballs in my new cookbook) - I bring you some glorious spinach herby balls coated in a fabulous creamy pesto sauce. It's always nice to consume ya' greens in comfort-food kind of form, and these sure do taste heavenly. They're also sturdy, not too moist, nor too dry, easy to cook and you can keep them in the fridge or freezer for a decent amount of time. Win!
- 3/4 cup green lentils
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- 300-350g spinach, fresh or frozen
- olive oil
- 2 small-medium onions, diced small
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs (GF or not)
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp dried dill
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- pinch nutmeg
- salt & pepper
- 3/4 cup vegan basil pesto
- 1 handful raw walnuts
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 a tin cannellini/butter beans, drained & rinsed
To Serve - approx. 450g spaghetti (GF or not)
- Get your Spinach Balls going by cooking your green lentils in a large pot of boiling water (with the vegetable stock cube plopped in) until tender. Drain & set aside to cool and dry off.
- Defrost/wilt your spinach by placing in a heat-proof bowl and pouring boiling water over the cubes. Once defrosted/wilted, drain through a fine sieve, and press out as much excess moisture as you can.
- In a small fry-pan add a drizzle of olive oil, followed by the chopped onions and minced garlic. Sauté until soft. Blitz bread into breadcrumbs if you were planning on doing this.
- In a food process, add the breadcrumbs, drained & dry lentils, the spinach, onion mixture along with all the other remaining spinach ball ingredients. Blitz to form a slightly chunky mixture. Roll into balls, by compacting and then rolling 1-2 tbsp of the mixture together in your hands. Repeat with all the mixture and then transfer the balls to the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make your Pesto Sauce by blending all of the sauce ingredients together in a blender until smooth. Add a splash of water to thin it out if needed.
- When ready to serve, cook your balls in a fry-pan with a drizzle of olive oil, turning regularly to brown up their "sides". Cook your pasta according to packet instructions. Toss the pasta with the sauce and serve with the balls on top!