Classic spaghetti and meatballs get a healthy, Mediterranean makeover in this tasty lentil walnut “meatballs” and spaghetti recipe!
For the Lentil Walnut Meatballs:
- 1 cup small brown lentils
- 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 1/2 cup chopped cremini mushrooms (~1/2 of an 8 oz. pkg)
- 1/3 cup red wine
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1 egg
- 3 chopped sun dried tomatoes, soaked in hot water 10 minutes
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/8th teaspoon salt
- 1/8th teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Pasta:
- 3 medium zucchini
- 4 ounces whole grain spaghetti noodles
- 2 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce
- Shaved Parmesan cheese
- Chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a 9″x11″ glass baking dish with cooking oil and set aside.
- Rinse your lentils and pick through them to remove any shriveled lentils or pebbles. Transfer to a medium saucepan and add broth. Bring to a simmer, cover with lid, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove the lid and cook for an additional 10 minutes as needed until lentils are tender and any remaining broth has been cooked off.
- While the lentils are cooking, add olive oil to a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions and mushrooms. Cook 3-5 minutes or until onions are tender and translucent. Stir in the red wine, garlic, and Italian seasoning. Cook another 5 minutes or until the wine has cooked off.
- In a food processor, add the walnuts and pulse until they are finely ground. Add in the lentils, egg, tomatoes, onion/mushroom mixture, breadcrumbs, salt, and black pepper. Pulse just until a dough forms. (You still want most of the lentils to be whole.)
- Make 2″ balls with the lentils and arrange in a single layer in baking dish. (Recipe makes about 14-16 meatballs.) Bake for 30-35 minutes or until meatballs are browned and firm when pressed lightly with your finger.
- While the meatballs are baking, cook your pasta and heat up your favorite pasta sauce. Spiralize the zucchini and toss in with the boiling pasta water in the last minute of cooking. Strain pasta and zucchini.
- To serve, divide pasta between 5 dishes. Top with 1/2 cup pasta sauce and 3 meatballs. Sprinkle with parmesan and chopped walnuts to serve.