As promised here’s the recipe of my gluten free lentil “Polpette” (Italian for meatballs).
I’m simply in love with these probably because they remind me a lot of the meatballs my grandma used to make when I was a kid. I learned the technique from her, as well as many other skills actually.
I believe that polpette for Italian families is comparable to the Yorkshire puddings or the cottage pie for British families: every family has their own slight twist on what is traditionally a classic recipe.
And her meatballs for me were THE BEST EVER, no jokes guys (even my mum knows that and agrees!): sort of melt-in-the-mouth texture, full of flavour and in a rich yet simple tomato sauce.
She was indeed the Polpette Queen of our family, and that was actually one of the things I missed the most after going vegan, until I managed to veganize those to perfection!
I used to dip tons of bread in it and I used to have these babies simply with some parmesan cheese and freshly chopped parsley, and that’s what today is still one of my top 5 comfort foods.
This recipe makes 4 portions, each has (incuding sauce): 293 calories, 15.6 g of protein, 7.2 g of fat and 45 g of carbohydrates.
Each lentil ball (without sauce): 58 calories, 3.8 g protein, 0.5 g fat and 10.1 g carbs.
…for the balls…
400 gr Lentils (cooked and drained)*
50 gr Gluten Free Bread (or boiled potato)
30 gr Vegan Parmesan (Gondino)
1 cup Fresh Parsley
1 tbsp Chickpea Flour
1-2 Garlic Clove
½ tsp Chili Flakes
*that’s about 250gr (2 cups) if using dry/uncooked lentils
…for the sauce…
500 ml Italian Passata
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 Garlic Clove
Fresh Basil Leaves (5-6)
1. Pre-heat the oven at 200°C (390°F).
2. Finely chop the parsley, cube the bread and grate the garlic cloves and the vegan cheese block.
3. In a bowl combine lentils (well drained), chickpea flour, chili flakes, salt, pepper, parsley, bread, garlic and cheese.
4. Work with a potato masher, fork or bare hands until it holds well together and the bread has absorbed the natural moisture and has became soft and sticky.
5. Form the balls (I made 13 balls with these quantities)
and arrange on a baking tray ready to precook them in the oven for 10 minutes.
6. In the meantime we’re making the sauce. Finely chop the onion and the garlic. Sauté in a pan with olive oil until soft. Add tomato sauce, basil leaves simply teared in two, salt and pepper. Cover with a lid and cook on medium heat for 5-10 minutes.
7. Once the balls are ready add them to the sauce and simmer together for an extra 10-15 minutes.
8. Serve with a side of salad or roasted potatoes/veggies, with some cooked spaghetti/pasta or in a sub with some arugula (rocket salad) and/or vegan mozzarella on top.