We created this recipe to celebrate our Cookbook launch. This easy recipe creates a magnificent dish in both taste and presentation. Best yet, you can cook these meatless lentil meatballs in either their vegetarian or vegan preparations without losing any of their incredibly rich flavor.
Quinoa Lentil Meatballs in Tahini Turmeric Sauce
We love to adapt childhood recipes, whose combination of elements and flavors can live up to a variety of ingredient substitutions and cooking methods. Our recipe for Quinoa Lentil Meatballs in Tahini-Turmeric Sauce is a great example of a Middle Eastern dish that offers endless possibilities (try our Cauliflower Quinoa Meatless Meatballs with Coconut Turmeric Sauce!) to incorporate into your mealtime.
These Quinoa Lentil Meatballs are made with lentils, quinoa and a delicious sofrito of red pepper, onions, garlic, and spices including Aleppo pepper, cumin, grilling seasoning, and cilantro. Preparation of our quinoa lentil meatballs can be made according to any of the preparations below:
- Gluten-free – Our Quinoa Lentil Meatballs use vital wheat gluten to bind the quinoa and lentils together. Create gluten-free meatballs by substituting garbanzo bean flour, rice flour, or other non-gluten flour in place of the wheat gluten.
- Vegan – While you may use egg in the lentil quinoa mixture, you can make these meatless meatballs completely vegan by using a “Flax Egg” (1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds mixed with 3 tablespoons of water.). We tested the recipe both ways!
- Fried – The meatballs take on a beautiful glazed crust when pan-fried in olive oil.
- Baked – You can save time by preparing the Tahini and Tumeric Sauce while baking the meatballs in the oven. Roll into the lentil-quinoa mixture into small balls and bake on a cookie sheet or create mini-patties by baking in a greased mini-muffin pan.
- Make and Freeze - This recipe makes 32 lentil meatballs, use half to add to the Tahini and Turmeric sauce, freeze the rest for an even quicker dinner.
Our delicious Tahini and Turmeric Sauce is not only a mouthwatering combination of tahini, lemon, water, and turmeric, it is also the name of our new cookbook TAHINI & TUMERIC: 101 Middle Eastern Classics, Made Irresistibly Vegan which is being released today. Have your order the cookbook yet? The recipes in Tahini and Turmeric, are easy-to-prepare, heart-healthy, and include 62 gluten-free dishes. You’ll love our time-saving short-cuts and tips for showcasing these sophisticated flavor profiles in beautiful, crowd-pleasing presentations.
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We created this recipes to celebrate our Cookbook launch. This easy recipe creates a magnificent dish in both taste and presentation. Best yet, you can cook these meatless lentil meatballs in either their vegetarian or vegan preparations without losing any of their incredibly rich flavor.
For the sofrito
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 red bell pepper, diced small
1 medium onion, diced small
2 garlic cloves, minced
For the lentil meatballs
2 cups cooked black lentils, or any other type of lentils (See note 1)
2 cups cooked quinoa (for instructions on how to cook quinoa, click here )
1 tsp grilling seasoning (See note 2)
½ tsp Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes (or to taste)
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp salt (See note 3)
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 flax egg ( 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons water) or one regular egg
¼ cup vital wheat gluten (See Note 4)
¼ cup garbanzo bean flour (or any other flour you may have in hand)
¼ olive oil if frying OR Cooking Spray if baking
For the tahini turmeric sauce
½ cup tahini
¼ fresh squeeze lemon juice
½ tsp salt
¾ tsp turmeric
1 garlic clove, grated
Diced red bell pepper
Chopped parsley or cilantro
Toasted or raw pine nuts
- To prepare the sofrito, heat the olive oil in a large skillet (Use a large one, so you only have to use one pan for this recipe). Add the bell pepper, onion and garlic and sauté for 5-7 minutes, or until the pepper is cooked and tender it. Transfer to a large bowl.
- Add the ingredients for the lentil meatless meatballs (EXCEPT the oil for frying) to the sofrito bowl, and mix well until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes
- Working with 1 ½ tablespoons of mixture at a time, form balls (we like using a 1 ½ tablespoon ice cream scoop to form even size meatballs and to save time). Make sure to press firmly to create a compact ball
- If Frying : Heat the olive oil in the large skillet. Add the meatless meatballs in two batches, cooking them for 6-8 minutes, making sure to turn them on all sides. Wipe the skillet clean using paper towel after they are cooked
- If baking: Heat the oven to 400F. Generously spray a mini muffing tin. Place one lentil meatless meatballs in each of the muffing tin cavities. Alternatively, you can just place them in a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes, turn them over and bake for an additional 10 minutes
- To prepare the tahini turmeric sauce, place all the sauce ingredients in the large skillet. Whisk them together for 3 minutes over medium heat (the sauce will thicken the longer it cooks, see note 5). Arrange half of the meatless meatballs in the sauce and heat until everything is hot, 3-4 minutes. Store the other half in the freezer, or in the refrigerator for up to 3 days
- Garnish with diced bell pepper, cilantro or parsley and pine nuts (optional)
- We like using black lentils because they hold their shape better. However, you can use any type of lentils for this recipe.
- Grilling seasoning is mainly made with onion, garlic, black pepper and salt with added herbs and spices that vary from brand to brand. Use any grilling or everything seasoning you have in hand.
- Depending on which seasoning you choose, it may contain more or less salt. Adjust the salt accordingly to your taste
- If you would like to make the lentil meatless meatballs gluten free, skip the vital wheat gluten and add as much gluten free flour or garbanzo bean flour as you need for the meatballs to hold together. Start with ¼ cup and keep adding one tablespoon at a time for up to ½ cup. Take into consideration that the flour will absorb the moisture of the meatball mixture as it sits.
- If the sauce thickens too much, add some water to loosen it
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 45
- Category: Entree
- Method: Stove top
- Cuisine: Middle Eastenr
- Serving Size: 4 BAKED Vegan meatballs with tahini turmeric sauce
- Calories: 530 Baked / 650 Pan Fried
- Sugar: 5
- Sodium: 700
- Fat: 27 baked / 41 pan fried
- Saturated Fat: 4
- Unsaturated Fat: 22
- Trans Fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 60
- Fiber: 12
- Protein: 20
- Cholesterol: 0