If you have a vegetarian in your midst, planning holiday dinners can seem tricky, especially when the focal point of the meal is largely meat based; turkey or ham with lots of gravy is the usual tradition. While most of us vegetarians are used to making meals out of side dishes on such occasions, it’s nice to have a protein-rich alternative as well.
This recipe is very tasty, even for the meat eaters—my husband, for example, loves it and he’s someone who tends to think a meatless meal is an incomplete meal. The gravy is flavourful and the pecan lentil balls are even good as leftovers! Don’t be daunted by the long list of ingredients—the fibre-and-protein-packed lentil balls are not hard to put together and can be made ahead of time so that all you need to do is put them in the oven on the big day.
For the Pecan Almond Lentil Balls
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a small saucepan, cover lentils with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes until lentils are soft. Drain, and then mash with a fork.
Meanwhile, on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, toast pecans and almonds in the oven at 325 degrees for ten minutes.
Heat oil in a large sauté pan; add garlic and mushrooms and cook until soft, about ten minutes. Add toasted pecans and almonds, rosemary, thyme, oregano, and balsamic vinegar and stir all together. Remove from heat and add lentils, mixing well.
Pour ground flax and water mixture into the pan, add 1/4 cup of flour. Stir together, and form into balls about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. *Make ahead* Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through.
For Mushroom Gravy
In a medium saucepan, heat oil. Add mushrooms and sauté until soft.
Add soy sauce, dill, basil, onion powder, and garlic powder. Stir in flour until mushrooms are coated.
Add water or vegetable broth slowly, whisking constantly.
Cook on medium heat until gravy reaches desired thickness.
Inspired by Oh She Glows