Here’s a quote: “if you want to replace ground meat in a recipe, just use lentils” – my aunt.

Expected something profound? I’m sorry, you came to the wrong place. I write poetry elsewhere.


Mixed with the natural umami flavor of mushrooms, this recipe comes together to form an excellent replacement for real meatballs. Kim and I served this dish to 7 of our friends – all but one of which were vegan – and the feedback we received the most was “dang, these taste like actual meatballs,” which is astounding to hear from someone who actually eats meat.

These meatballs are seriously low-maintence, requiring none of that “frying before baking” stuff. The mixture goes straight into some hauled out mushrooms, gets topped with some gluten-free breadcrumbs, and goes right into the oven. Bodda-boom bodda-bing.

Are you ready to get your fork intwined in some life-changing pasta?


Stuffed Mushroom Meatballs w/ Creamy Lemon Fettuccini

  • Servings: 5 large servings
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Stuffed mushroom meatballs that won't leave you missing the real stuff!



  • 1/2 c dry lentils*
  • 1 tbs cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 c vegetable broth
  • 12 oz baby bella mushrooms
  • 1/2 small/medium onion, diced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs fresh chopped basil (or sub 1/2 tsp dry basil)
  • 2 tbs gluten-free panko breadcrumbs (plus more for coating)
  • 1 tbs vegan parmesan*
  • 1 tbs nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp dry oregano
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • salt


  • 1 lb gluten-free fettuccini (brown rice variations work best)
  • 3 c cashew milk (soy or almond will also work)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic.
  • 3 tbs olive oil or vegan butter
  • 3 tbs cornstarch or tapioca starch
  • Juice of half a lemon (1 1/2 tbs)
  • 2 tbs nutritional yeast
  • salt


  • Vegan parmesan (optional)
  • Basil chiffonade (optional)


  1. In a medium bowl, soak lentils with apple cider vinegar and warm water to cover by two inches. Let sit for 4-6 hours.*
  2. Drain and throughly rinse the soaked lentils. Bring lentils, vegetable broth, and a heavy pinch of salt to a boil in a medium pot for 5 minutes.
  3. Reduce heat to medium-low, put on a lid, and cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain any excess liquid and set aside.
  4. For the mushrooms, remove and finely dice the stems. Set the caps aside.
  5. In a pan over medium heat, cook the diced mushroom stems, onion, and a heavy pinch of salt in olive oil until lightly browned, 5 – 7 minutes.
  6. Add garlic to pan and cook for an additional minute.
  7. Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
  8. Place lentils, vegetable mixture, basil, vegan parmesan, nutritional yeast, breadcrumbs, oregano, and a heavy pinch of salt into the bowl of a food processor and blend until the mixture begins to come together. You don’t want to form a puree.
  9. Stuff each mushroom cap with roughly a tablespoon of meatball mixture, top with breadcrumbs, and set on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake in oven for 20 minutes or until mushroom caps become tender and brown.*
  10. Cook pasta via package’s instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  11. To make the sauce, heat a medium pot or saucier over medium high heat. Once hot, add olive oil, garlic, and a heavy pinch of salt. Cook until the garlic is fragrant, 1 – 2 minutes.
  12. Add corn starch and whisk until smooth. Slowly add cashew milk while whisking constantly to ensure lumps don’t form.
  13. Bring to a boil and drop the heat to medium. Simmer until thick, about 5 minutes.
  14. Add nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and salt to taste.
  15. To serve, top pasta with sauce, several meatballs, extra parmesan, and some ribbons of fresh basil. Enjoy!
  16. Keep leftovers in fridge for up to four days, though best when fresh.

*You can use canned lentils for similar results. Simply skip the draining and cooking process for the lentils.

*If you don’t have vegan parm, substitute with another tablespoon of nutritional yeast.

*While it’s not necessary to soak your lentils, I do it as it removes excess phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. If you prefer to skip this step, simply up the boiling time to ten minutes. You may need more vegetable broth as well.

*If you have excess meatball mixture remaining after you stuff mushrooms, you can store the mixture in the fridge for up to a week. With that mixture you can create more meatballs, without the mushroom caps, by frying then baking them. Or you can fry as is for a ground-meat type texture to use on top of pizzas, sandwiches, or more pasta!

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