These made from scratch hearty meatballs are created using cooked dried red lentils and they get a lovely crisp outside that contrasts the tender middle from baking them in the air fryer. Ready in under an hour, this is a great batch cook recipe that is easily scalable. Ideal served with your favourite dipping sauce, alongside pasta, or as a vegan tapas dish at a summer picnic, this meatballs are really versatile.
Use this recipe in the same way you would traditional meatballs or even falafels. I’ve popped a few suggestions below:
- Pasta alongside your favourite sauce
- Wraps with harissa mayonnaise and crunchy fresh salad
- As part of a tapas board when entertaining friends
Storing and freezing
The meatballs are best eaten warm just as they have finished cooking, however it is possible to store them if have leftovers or aren’t planning to eat them straight away.
Fridge: Once cooled, store in an airtight container for up to 5 days
Freeze: Once cooled, separate the meatballs with parchment paper, place in an airtight container or bag and pop them in the freezer for up to 1 month. Defrost in the fridge before reheating.
Reheating: Either pop them in the microwave to warm through or in the oven at 160oc. Just don’t leave them in the oven too long so that they dry out.
What if I don’t own an air fryer?
Whilst I have found these meatballs are best made in the air fryer so you get a crispy outer shell that compliments the tender inside, it is possible to also bake these in the oven. The end result, will just be a softer meatball.
The total cooking time will be dependant on your make, model and efficiency of oven but you are looking for meatballs that are golden on the outside and hot all the way through (do the skewer test by inserting one into the centre and if the tip is hot you know they are hot all the way through). Try cooking them at 180oc for 25 minutes but check them after 20 minutes to ensure that they don’t burn.
If you like this recipe, why not try some of my other quick and easy meal ideas:
- Aubergine Parmigiana
- Vegan Dan Dan Noodles
- Tempeh Lasagne
- Roasted Tomato and Butter Bean Stew
- Avocado Toast with Garlic Mushrooms
- Vegan Chickpea Tuna
Vegan Lentil MeatballsCourse: Main, Picnic, TapasCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easy
150g Dried red lentils
1 Vegetable stock cube
300ml Boiling water
1 Red onion, diced
3 Garlic cloves, minced
1 Red pepper, diced
1 tbsp Milled flaxseeds
1 tbsp Soy sauce or tamari
1 tsp Smoked paprika
2 tsp Fresh parsley
4 tbsp Chickpea / gram flour
40g Walnuts, chopped
- Dipping Sauce
1 tbsp Maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 tsp Garlic powder
1 tsp Paprika
1 tbsp Tomato puree
1 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp Dried chilli flakes
- Rinse the red lentils in running water and add to a pan with the boiling water and stock cube. Give everything a stir, bring to the boil and then simmer for approximately 15 minutes until all the liquid has evaporated.
- Whilst the lentils are cooking, pan fry the red onion, garlic and red pepper on a medium heat in a little olive oil until softened.
- Once the lentils are cooked, add them to a blender / food processor with the rest of the meatball ingredients and pulse until combined (you still want them a little chunky).
- Using damp hands, form 10 equal sized balls.
- Add the balls to an air fryer basket and air fry for 15 minutes at 200oc (for the oven bake method see notes above)
- To make the sauce mix all of the ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Best enjoyed whilst warm but see the notes above on storage if you aren’t eating immediately.
- Scale the recipe as needed, double to make 20 meatballs
- Per ball without sauce KCAL: 117 F: 4.1G C: 8.3G P: 3.7G
- Using the air fryer to make the meat balls results in a crispier ball. Oven baking them gives them a softer texture.
I can’t wait to hear what you think of this recipe so please leave a comment below and tag me in your wonderful creations! I’m @fortheutterloveoffood on Instagram and use the hashtag #fortheutterloveoffood. I’m also on Facebook – please say hello!