Lentil Meatballs with Pumpkin Seed Butter Spinach Pesto

Vegan and vegetarian options shouldn’t sacrifice flavor or texture - and these definitely deliver on both in a big way. These hearty meatballs go great with roasted veggies topped with pesto sauce, as the centerpiece to a plate of spaghetti, or plated up with toothpicks for a crowd-pleasing appetizer.

Lentil Meatballs

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons 88 Acres Watermelon Seed Butter 
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 batch flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flax seed and 2 1/2 tablespoons water) or 1 whole egg
  • 1 1/2 cups green lentils, cooked in vegetable stock and cooled 
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning (dried basil + oregano)
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt and black pepper, or to taste

Directions

Start by cooking lentils according to package instructions, using vegetable stock instead of water for more flavor. Set aside to cool. In a medium skillet, cook shallots and garlic until translucent, add a splash of vegetable stock to avoid sticking. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a pinch of black pepper. In a medium bowl, combine cooled lentils, shallots, garlic and all remaining ingredients.

Using a 1 1/2 ounce disher, or a large spoon, portion the meatballs out and roll gently between two hands. Meanwhile, begin preheating your oven to 350 degrees and heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Gently place meatballs into the skillet to sear, leaving space between each one. Turn each meatball to sear until dark brown on all sides, about 3 minutes, then remove to a baking dish.

Once all meatballs are seared on all sides, bake in the pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.

Enjoy topped with pesto, with roasted veggies, or traditional-style, with a plate of spaghetti and a fork to twirl.

Spinach Pesto Sauce

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons 88 Acres Pumpkin Seed Butter Unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup fresh spinach, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, lightly packed
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (or substitute with parmesan)
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Directions

Place spinach, basil, Pumpkin Seed Butter, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and half the olive oil in a food processor.

Blend everything together while drizzling the remaining olive oil into the food processor until you reach a smooth consistency.

Serve with lentil meatballs! 

Lentil meatballs drizzled with pumpkin seed butter pesto. Makes a great snack, entree, or appetizer.