Welcome to the next installment of Be My Guest! Today we have Christelle is Flabbergasting – my first Canadian guest! I met Christelle last year at Aran’s workshop in Montreal. Christelle is actually French and moved to Montreal about four years ago. She’s an art director by trade and freelances as a food photographer and food stylist. Not only does she run her beautiful food blog in her limited spare time, she also has a weekly food column in La Presse and does some amazing travel (which she documents beautifully with her photography).
Today we are sharing Lentil ‘Meatballs’ with Lemon Pesto, courtesy of the Sprouted Kitchen. Christelle fell in love with Sarah’s cookbook and among many recipes she bookmarked, this was the first one she tried. It turned out beautifully, so I had to try it as well. I have Sarah’s cookbook and was very pleased to try another recipe – tasty meatless options are not on our regular rotation, so I welcome recipes that take me out of my usual cooking routine.
I made a double batch of these because I had a lot of lentils. I needed to add a bit more breadcrumbs in order for mine to stick – but these lentil ‘meatballs’ are wonderful. They are great warm, great cold and amazing on a bed of greens with crunchy cucumbers. The pesto is a little more tart than my usual and complements the flavours beautifully. Thank you Christelle for joining me today – this recipe was another winner in my books.
- 2 Cups Cooked Lentils
- 2 Eggs, lightly beaten
- 3/4 Cup Ricotta
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese
- 1 Large Clove Garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. Fennel Seed, crushed
- 2 Tbsp. Finely Chopped Fresh Parsley
- Hefty Pinch of Dried or Fresh Thyme
- 1 tsp. Each Sea Salt and Pepper
- 2/3 Cup Breadcrumbs (fresh or panko, preferably)
- Lemon Pesto Sauce:
- 1 Clove Garlic
- 1/4 Cup Pinenuts
- Zest and Juice of one Meyer Lemon
- 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
- 1 Cup Packed Basil Leaves
- 1/4 - 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp. Grated Parmesan
- 2 Tbsp. Water to thin
- In a food processor, pulverize the lentils into mush. Put them in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the beaten eggs, ricotta, parmesan, garlic, fennel seed, parlsey, thyme, salt and pepper and stir to mix well. Stir in the breadcrumbs and let the mix sit for 20 minutes.
- For the pesto sauce, put the garlic, nuts, lemon zest and juice and salt in a food processor or blender and run until smooth. Add in the basil leaves and olive oil until you get a smooth, sauce-like consistency. Add water, oil or lemon juice to thin as desired. Stir in the parmesan and set aside. The sauce will keep covered in the fridge for about a week.
- Preheat the oven to 400'. Check the lentil mix by rolling a 1'' round ball between your palms, it should hold together fairly well. If it seems pretty wet and it falling apart, stir in another Tbsp. or two of breadcrumbs until the ball with stay together.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the mix into balls and line them up on a baking sheet (they don't need lots of space between, they won't spread). If you like a bit more of a crust, brush them with olive oil.
- Bake on the middle rack for 15-20 minutes until the tops are golden brown, gently turning the balls over halfway through baking. Remove to cool slightly.
Serve with your favorite noodles, on a bed of sauteed greens, or simply on their own with a nice drizzle of the pesto sauce.