I've loved the Chickpea Cutlets recipe from Veganomicon since I got the book. They're a great protein for nights when I feel like eating side dishes. I've since altered them to make chickpea-balls, like I used in the Italian Wedding Soup, which were ok, but the texture wasn't quite right.
Before we moved, I was trying to eat our way through the pantry so we'd move with as little as possible. One thing I had was 1/4 cup of lentils and really, what do you do with 1/4 cup of lentils!? I decided to try and make chickpea-cutlet-balls but with lentils instead of chickpeas. I cooked the chickpeas until they were tender, and pureed them and made lentil balls out of them and they were AWESOME! A little more fiddling with the recipe, and I think I've finally made the perfect veggie-meat-ball to eat with spaghetti! They taste great, and the best part is they HOLD TOGETHER when tossed with the sauce and put on the spaghetti! So dinner tonight (can you guess) was 7 grain Spaghetti and Lentil Balls with organic tomato sauce and a sprinkling of parma "cheez" from the Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook. Since I figure most people can manage spaghetti from a box and sauce from a jar, here is the recipe for...
1 cup cooked lentils
2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for spraying/brushing on lentil-balls
2 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs *
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a blender or food processor or using an immersion blender, puree the lentils with the olive oil, soy sauce, and vegetable broth.
3. In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients and the spices.
4. Add the lentil puree to the dry ingredients and stir until a ball is formed. Knead the ball for a few minutes until the gluten is stringy. The ball will also "pull together" a little at this point. If it seems really wet and isn't coming together, add extra gluten 1 tbsp at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
5. Roll out about 2 tbsp of dough into balls and put them on a cookie sheet lined with a silicone sheet, or sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Spray or brush the balls lightly with olive oil, then flip them over and get the bottom oiled too.
6. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn them over, and bake for another 15 minutes. They will firm up more once they're out of the oven. Use as desired!
* Can't find vegan bread crumbs and don't feel like making your own? Check the Kosher section of your grocery store! In Kosher dining, one can't mix meat and dairy, so breadcrumbs for coating meat can't have milk in them!