Craving something rich and decadent, I thought about my grandma’s Swedish Meatballs. Smothered in a rich, thick, creamy gravy, my sister and I used to beg for her to make her famous Swedish Meatballs. Her meatballs absorbed the gravy and drenched the pasta. Although you can use rice or pasta, I prefer pasta. I transformed this traditionally high-fat dish into a oil-free vegan dish without losing flavor.
Lentil meatballs are a perfect meat substitute loaded with nutrients and protein. Compared to other types of dried beans, lentils cook quickly and easily in advance. Using lentils as a base for meatballs works well. Lentils absorb a variety of wonderful flavors from other foods and seasonings.
Subsequently, the consistency of the ingredients makes or breaks the lentil meatballs. Make sure to follow the directions when preparing the lentil balls, so the texture resembles meat. Although I use a melon baller to scoop the meatballs, I used my hands to form the lentil balls and pack them tight. The baller helps to keep the size consistent.
Equally important, the rich sauce is the key to a successful dish. Blending a small amount of flour, regular or gluten-free, with your plant-based milk, creates a roux, or thickener for your sauce. This cooking tip can be used with other dishes as well and prevents lumps from forming when you you make any sauce.
Although I made my own meatballs, Trader Joes sells the BEST store-bought vegan meatballs I have ever eaten. If you are in a hurry, or you are not concerned about fat and oil, these meatballs may be a choice for your meal. Remember, the Trader Joe’s meatballs are not low in fat. They are fabulous, but I only use them when preparing food for those not following a low-fat vegan diet. High-fat, unhealthy vegan food exists. Junk food, unfortunately, is universal.
Creamy and delicious; Vegan Swedish Meatballs are a filling and satisfying entree without the guilt and calories.
Cooking the Lentils:
- 1 1/2 cups cooked (1 cup dried) Brown Lentils
- 3 cups Organic Vegetable Broth
- 1 minced Shallot
- 3 cloves, minced Garlic
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon, chopped , fresh Basil
- 1/4 cup; chopped, fresh Italian Parsley
- 1 Tablespoon Muir Glen Organic Tomato Paste
- 5-6 Tablespoons Italian Panko Bread Crumbs
- 1/4 teaspoon Salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
How to Make a Flax Egg:
- 1 Tablespoons Flaxseed Meal
- 2 1/2 Tablespoon Water
Making the Sauce:
- 3 cups Organic Vegetable Broth
- 2 cups Unsweetened Unflavored Almond Milk
- 3 minced Shallots
- 2 cloves, minced Garlic
- 1 small, diced White Onion
- 8 ounces, sliced thin Baby Bellas or Other Mushrooms of Choice
- 4 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
- 4 Tablespoons Wheat Flour
- 2 teaspoons Onion Powder
- 3 teaspoons Garlic Powder
- 2 Tablespoons Tamari, Liquid Aminos, or Soy Sauce
- 3 teaspoons, fresh ground Pepper
Serve with Pasta or Rice:
- I used 1/2 cup brown rice per bowl, but pasta works just as well. Gluten-free pasta works well also.
Cooking the Lentils:
- Rinse the lentils: Measure the lentils into a strainer or colander.
- Pick over and remove any shriveled lentils, debris, or rocks.
- Thoroughly rinse under running water.
- Combine the lentils and veggie broth: Transfer the rinsed lentils to a saucepan and add veggie broth.
- Bring to a rapid simmer, then reduce heat: Bring the water to a rapid simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to maintain a very gentle simmer.
- You should only see a few small bubbles and some slight movement in the lentils.
- Cook the lentils: Cook, uncovered, for 20 to 30 minutes.
Remove from heat. Measure out 1 1/2 cup
Making the Lentil Meatballs:
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.
- Using a food processor, add flaxseed and water and let set for 2-3 minutes (aquafaba or chickpea juice).
- Add cooked, cooled lentils, sautéed garlic and shallot, Italian seasonings, parsley, tomato paste, and a pinch each salt and pepper to a food processor.
- Pulse, mixing until combined; DO NOT purée; it needs the texture of rice.
- Add breadcrumbs, and stir by hand.
- I like it salty, so add salt as you please .
- Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt and pepper or herbs for flavor.
- Use a melon baller or cookie dough baller, scoop out rounded Tablespoon amounts of dough and carefully form into balls.
- You may use your hands (I do).
- I refuses to use oil, so just put them on a baking pan, and bake them.
- While they are baking, keep opening the oven, and shake the pan, moving the meatballs around.
- Cook 30 minutes total, rotating the meatballs every 10 minutes to make sure all sides are covered.
- Remove meatballs from oven and let cool slightly; about 10 minutes.
- They get firm sitting there, so don’t disturb them.
In the meantime, make the sauce.
Make the Sauce:
Saute onions, garlic and shallots in a large skillet with high edges.
- Add sliced mushrooms.
- Add onion powder and garlic powder.
- Add 1/2 cup of vegetable broth slowly to make sure onions and mushrooms are not sticking to the bottom.
- In a high speed blender, combine almond milk (or other non-dairy milk), flour and nutritional yeast.
- Blend until smooth (this little trick makes it so your flour doesn’t clump; it is your thickening agent).
- Add additional sauce ingredients, including soy.
- Add almond milk mixture slowly and increase temperature to medium.
- As it begins to heat and boil, it will thicken.
- Continue whisking until thickness desired is achieved.
- If you like it thicker, add more flour to a small amount of vegetable broth, blend, and add.
- Taste and adjust seasoning for your specific taste.
Add baked meatballs to the sauce.
Prepare Rice or Pasta:
- I prefer this dish with rice, but many people serve this dish with noodles. The choice is yours.
- I made brown rice in my rice maker before, so it was ready to go.
- If using noodles, prepare according tot eh packaged directions.
- Drain, and rinse.
- Put desired amount of rice or noodles in the bottom of a bowl.
- Spoon meatball/sauce mixture over the top.
- Garish with chopped parsley