Saturday, February 11, 2017

Lentil Meatballs with Indian Sauce

Recipe from feasting at home via Food52
Husband-Tested in Alice’s Kitchen
Serves 4

Hearty vegan and gluten-free “meatballs” doused in a creamy turmeric-based sauce made of coconut milk.  Form the “meatballs” from lentils, quinoa and tofu while you simmer together a cozy sauce of coconut milk and spices.  Bake the “meatballs” and then nestle them in the same pan as the sauce.  The “meatballs” and the sauce can be prepared in advance.  Serve over brown rice, zucchini noodles or couscous to soak up the yummy sauce.

Lentil Meatballs
cup small lentils (French or caviar)
teaspoon fennel seeds
½ cup quinoa (Rinse the quinoa really, really well.)
teaspoon salt
clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
ounces firm tofu
1 to 2 Tablespoons olive oil

Indian Sauce
cloves garlic, minced
Tablespoon ginger, minced
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
large tomato, diced (When fresh tomatoes are not available, substitute half of a 14.5 oz. can.)
Tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves OR 1 bay leaf
1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk (not light)
Tablespoon lime juice
teaspoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon cayenne
¼ teaspoon cracked pepper

Bring lentils, fennel seeds, and 3 cups of water to a boil over high heat in a small pot. Cover, and turn heat to low, and simmer 25 minutes. Drain well. Set aside.
Over high heat, bring quinoa and 1 cup of water to boil in a small pot. Cover, turn heat to low, simmer 15 minutes, turn heat off, and leave covered.
Make the sauce: In a skillet, sauté the garlic and ginger in olive oil over medium heat until just golden, stirring often to prevent burning. Add turmeric and sauté 1 more minute. Add the diced tomato and sauté until most of the juices evaporate. Stir in coconut milk, fenugreek or bay leaf, lime juice, brown sugar, salt, cayenne, and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Bring to a simmer, and then turn off the heat until ready to serve.
Make the meatballs: Preheat oven to 400° F. In a food processor, pulse the quinoa and half the lentils. Place in a large bowl and add the remaining lentils, chopped cilantro, salt, and granulated garlic to the bowl and mix well. In the same food processor, combine tofu and 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil. (The tofu will bind the mixture and the oil will keep it from drying out.) Pulse the tofu and oil until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Scoop it into the lentil mixture and combine well. Prepare a parchment-lined baking sheet. With your hands, knead the lentil mixture briefly until it’s thoroughly mixed and the salt and spices are evenly distributed. Form small Ping-Pong-sized balls. (I used a small ice cream scoop.) Place on baking sheet and place in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. (I filled the cookie sheet with meatballs and still had quite a bit of mixture left, so I set the extra mixture in the fridge.  The next day, I formed more meatballs with the extra mixture and baked them.  Then I used those with a pasta sauce over whole-wheat pasta for a nice dinner.)
Warm the sauce and arrange the warm lentil meatballs in it. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve immediately.
If you have extra meatballs, like I did, go ahead and bake them and
then add them to your favorite pasta sauce.

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