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
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
- 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
- Vegan parmesan (optional)
- Basil chiffonade (optional)
- In a medium bowl, soak lentils with apple cider vinegar and warm water to cover by two inches. Let sit for 4-6 hours.*
- 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.
- Reduce heat to medium-low, put on a lid, and cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain any excess liquid and set aside.
- For the mushrooms, remove and finely dice the stems. Set the caps aside.
- 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.
- Add garlic to pan and cook for an additional minute.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
- 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.
- 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.*
- Cook pasta via package’s instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
- 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.
- Add corn starch and whisk until smooth. Slowly add cashew milk while whisking constantly to ensure lumps don’t form.
- Bring to a boil and drop the heat to medium. Simmer until thick, about 5 minutes.
- Add nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and salt to taste.
- To serve, top pasta with sauce, several meatballs, extra parmesan, and some ribbons of fresh basil. Enjoy!
- 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!