Veggie Balls!

Posted by on Apr 25, 2014 in Pasta | 5 comments



Only 4 short years ago, two childhood friends, Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow opened up a mix and match menu of meatballs and sauces served up at their highly successful New York City Meatball Shop growing almost instantly to 4 locations.  Classic and creative meatballs are offered and some are rolled up without any meat at all.



The veggie ball thought bubble has followed me around for months. So here, I go…








Beluga lentils seem right paired up with aromatics, pine nuts, raisins for sweetness, baby Portobello mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, fresh breadcrumbs and eggs to bind them together.









I rinsed one cup of lentils and brought them to a boil in a medium pot with one quart of water, a cinnamon stick and a bay leaf; then reduced it to a simmer, covered and cooked the legumes for 15 minutes (give or take depending on the lentils), until tender.








Drain the lentils and remove the leaf and stick.








Place the cooked lentils in a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.








At the same time, sauté one cup diced onion (half of this Maui onion), diced celery, carrot, and garlic in a couple tablespoons of olive oil.  When they are tender, squirt in a big dollop of tomato paste; stir it into the vegetables before tossing in








the quarter pound of sliced mushrooms.  








When the mushrooms are tender and the liquids absorbed into the aromatics set them aside to cool alongside the lentils in the refrigerator.

Go to the dentist. You don’t have to—but I did.








Add two beaten eggs, ½ cup of soft breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup each grated Parmesan cheese, chopped parsley, 2 tablespoons chopped pine nuts, 3 tablespoons chopped raisins and then;








stir in the mushroom mixture.   Now is the time to adjust the seasonings if you are not opposed to tasting a little raw egg.








Using a meatball scoop, shape about 15 evenly sized veggie balls, this will require a firm squeeze.








Place them snugly side by side like sturdy soldiers in a well-oiled baking dish.  Refrigerate the veggie balls again for at least 30 minutes; or overnight even!








Drizzle a little drop of olive oil over each ball.  Bake the veggie balls in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes.  I was pleasantly surprised when the  crusty exotic lentil laden morsels emerged intact (the wild card).  The remarkable texture and gentle flavor arc surpassed my expectations…








MP plated his like a holiday wreath with Mashed Horseradish Turnips and Sautéed Red Chard. Thank you Jason for your garden gift.








I dined more traditionally, plating a trio of Beluga Lentil Balls in a puddle of marinara.

What do you think?






  1. 4-25-2014

    Glad you like the chard. There is more…. Jason

  2. 4-25-2014

    I love lentils, so I think yum! This could be served somewhat Mediterranean, don’t you think?
    As for Jason’s comment about the chard … I’ve found there’s always MORE chard! That stuff never stops growing!

    • 4-25-2014

      Jan, Yes! Switching out the parsley for mint and Feta for Parmesan could begin the transformation!

  3. 4-25-2014

    Where do you get your Beluga Lentils Peggy? I have never heard of Mashed Horseradish Turnips but they sound delicious.Lucky for me, I got Turnips at the Farmers Market!

    • 4-25-2014

      Patty, I know it sounds random but I found the lentils at TJMaxx 🙂 They are available online too.
      I also bought turnips at the Farmers ‘Market. I peeled them and boiled them just like potatoes. When I mashed them I put in a tablespoon of strong horseradish (Beaver Brand) and a little light sour cream too.

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