Recipe by Lauren McNeill

Herby Lentil “Meatballs” and Garlic Bread

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Parve Parve
Easy Easy
3 Servings


- Gluten - Wheat

If you think you don’t like lentils, try this recipe and see if it changes your mind. The lentil meatballs are bursting with earthy flavors from the Italian herbs and parsley, while the marinara sauce is perfect for dipping the warm, flavorful garlic bread. Originally, I thought this would be a red sauce pasta recipe, but I fell in love with the idea of serving the lentil meatballs with warm garlic bread to dip in the marinara sauce. The meatballs offer a great dose of plant-based protein and iron, making this dish super satisfying. Of course, you can still serve this recipe with pasta if you’d like, but I think it’s hearty and filling enough on its own. This recipe may look complicated, but I promise that it’s very straightforward and can easily be a weeknight dinner staple!


Lentil “Meatballs”

  • 1 yellow onion, diced

  • 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) Tuscanini Olive Oil, divided

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced or 4 cubes Gefen Frozen Garlic

  • 1/4 cup (20 grams) large flake oats

  • 3/4 cup (60 grams) oat flour, plus 2 tablespoons (10 grams) as needed

  • 1/4 cup (15 grams) fresh Italian parsley, packed

  • 1 cup (198 grams) cooked lentils (I used canned brown lentils, drained and rinsed)

  • 1 tablespoon (6 grams) Italian seasoning

  • 2 tablespoons (22 grams) nutritional yeast

  • 1 tablespoon (14 grams) Tuscanini Tomato Paste

  • 1 tablespoon (10 grams) chia seeds

  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Garlic Bread

  • 1/2 large baguette

  • 1/3 cup (80 grams) vegan butter

  • 1 clove garlic, minced or 1 cube Gefen Frozen Garlic

  • 1 tablespoon (4 grams) fresh Italian parsley, minced

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

  • 1/3 teaspoon salt

Additional Ingredients



Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celsius). Line two baking sheets with Gefen Parchment Paper.


To begin the lentil “meatballs,” in a small pan over medium heat, sauté the onion in one tablespoon (15 milliliters) of olive oil until it’s translucent, three to four minutes. Add the garlic to the pan about two minutes in, being careful not to burn it.


Add the sautéed onion and garlic to a large blender or food processor with the oats, oat flour, Italian parsley, lentils, Italian seasoning, nutritional yeast, tomato paste, chia seeds, salt, pepper and the remaining one tablespoon (15 milliliters) of olive oil. Blend them until the ingredients are well combined together, but not puréed. This took me about 15 seconds in my high-speed blender.


Once the ingredients are well combined, assess the texture. The lentil meatballs should be the consistency of cookie dough: moist and easy to form into balls, but not too wet or dry. Add water or more oat flour one tablespoon (6 grams) at a time to achieve the desired consistency, if needed.


With wet hands to keep the dough from sticking to you, form the dough into balls, with about two tablespoons (18 grams) of dough in each ball. You should have approximately 12 lentil meatballs.


Place the lentil meatballs on a baking sheet and bake them for 20 to 25 minutes, flipping halfway through, until the lentil meatballs are golden brown and have firmed up.


Meanwhile, for the garlic bread, cut the baguette in half, then cut it again in half lengthwise. In a small bowl, mix together the vegan butter, garlic, parsley, garlic powder and salt. Spread the mixture on both sides of the baguette. You may have some garlic butter left over.


Place the garlic bread on a baking sheet, and once the meatballs have been cooking for about 10 minutes, add the garlic bread to the oven, too. Bake it for 10 to 15 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.


Meanwhile, in the same pan you sautéed the onion and garlic in, gently heat the marinara sauce over low-medium heat. Once the meatballs are golden brown, remove them from the oven and add them to the marinara sauce, mixing to coat the meatballs.


Serve the lentil meatballs and marinara with the garlic bread on the side to dip.


The garlic bread is best eaten fresh. Refrigerate any lentil meatball leftovers for up to four days.


Reprinted with permission from The Simple Vegan Kitchen by Lauren McNeill. Page Street Publishing Co. 2023. Photo credit: Toni Zernik. Purchase on Amazon.

Herby Lentil “Meatballs” and Garlic Bread

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Shoshana Packouz
Shoshana Packouz
11 months ago

Can I use flax seeds (or something else) instead of chia?

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11 months ago

Looks like a nice recipe, thank you.
What can be used instead of nutritional yeast? I don’t know what flavor it has and I don’t think they sell it with a good kashrus in Israel.

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Reply to  Rachel
11 months ago

Hi! This is not exact substitute, it gives an umami, “cheesy” flavor. You could use a kosher parve chicken or vegetable bouillon. It gives a similar savory flavor that nutritional yeast provides. Another option could be to use soy sauce or a kosher parve soy sauce substitute, which can also provide a savory, umami flavor. Please note that the flavor won’t be exactly the same, but these substitutes can provide a similar savory note in your recipe.