Monday, March 11, 2013

Made for friends who love yoga

So, I had two yoga-loving friends over for dinner this past weekend and wanted to make something new that was yummy, flavorful and would allow us to "splurge" on dessert. I'd been wanting to make the "meatballs" for a few months and took this opportunity to test drive them.  They have the consistency of falafel, but with a fennel-y taste.  The couscous and roasted veggies came about because it was what I had in the house that needed to be used! This turns out to be a really filling and healthy meal.

Lentil "Meatballs"* with Roasted Veggies & Israeli Couscous Pilaf
(serves 4-6, prep/cook time approx 60-90 minutes)

You will need:

  • 2 cups cooked lentils
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (1 heaping tsp)
  • 1 medium or large onion (depending on your preference, finely chopped
  • 2 large eggs or 6 TBSP egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cup home made whole wheat bread crumbs
  • ½ cup plain fat free greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3-4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp each: dried fennel seed, dried thyme, dried rosemary

For the Topping:

  • 2 TBSP sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3 cubes frozen DOROT chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • freshly ground pepper
Pre-heat oven to 375F. Cook lentils according to package instructions.
Drizzle a pan with olive oil, place over medium high heat and add onion. Sauté for about a minute until translucent. Add the garlic and dried herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper, sautéing for about another minute or two until soft and fragrant. Turn off heat and set aside to cool.  
Place lentils in a food processor with tomato paste and a drizzle of olive oil and pulse until smooth.
Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add yogurt and mix with beaten eggs until combined. Add lentils and mix together until smooth. Add onion/garlic/herb mixture from the frying pan, parmesan and breadcrumbs. Season to taste. Mush together until combined. If the mixture is still feeling wet, add more breadcrumbs until the mixture is dry enough to stick together and roll into balls.

Roll lentil mixture into small balls and place on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for about 8-10 minutes. Turn balls, and bake for another 5 minutes, until slightly browned.

Place olive oil in small sauce pan with basil cubes and sundried tomatoes on low heat. Heat through until cubes have melted and mixtures begins to bubble.  Remove from heat and drizzle over meatballs. Makes approx. 24 large meatballs, so you'll have some leftover to freeze!

*Adapted from recipe found on Gwyneth Paltrow's GOOP blog post called 
Superfoods released January 2013.

For the sides:
  •  1 cup uncooked pearl/Israeli couscous
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 1/2 shredded carrot
  • 1/4 white wine
  • 1 1/2 water
  • leaves from 4-6 sprigs of thyme
  • kosher salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 cups brussel sprouts, cleaned and cut in half
  • 1 bell pepper sliced
  • 2 cups frozen cauliflower florets 
  • Flavored Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste 
Saute onion and carrot on medium heat until soft; Add couscous and cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add wine, water, and thyme; cover and simmer on low heat until liquid is absorbed, 12-18 minutes. Season with a pinch (1/8 tsp) of salt and pepper.
Set broiler to low. Lay veggies out on a cookie sheet and drizzle with flavored oil (I used a chili oil). Sprinkle with favorite seasoning - you can use a bit of salt and pepper but both Penzey's Spices and Mrs. Dash make yummy salt-free options. Place under broiler and roast until edges begin to brown (time varies depending on broiler heat) - keep an eye on them!
To reheat leftovers (couscous or veggies), place in a pan with 1/4 veggie or chicken broth; bring to a simmer and allow liquid to absorb.

*Shown with yummy not-so-healthy Proscuitto wrapped Tilapia*

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