A perfect match for my sister’s Marinara Sauce, my ‘meat’ balls are made with puy lentils, wild mushrooms and flaxseeds – you will not miss the red meat! I tend to prepare a big batch of these because they disappear quickly. Packed with beautiful Italian herbs and spices, they will imbue your kitchen with Mediterranean vibes. The Mediterranean diet is universally one of the most researched diets proven to reduce the incidence of cancer, diabetes and heart disease and, contrary to popular belief, it actually features little meat. Experiment with different herbs and find what works for you.
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, crushed
200g fresh porcini mushrooms (or wild or chestnut), finely chopped
leaves from 2 rosemary sprigs,finely chopped
6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, finely chopped
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
500g cooked puy lentils (250g dried puy lentils, cooked ‘perfectly’ – see page 96
– or from a packet)
3 tbsp ground flaxseeds
300g wholegrain or black bean fettucine
2 carrots, peeled lengthways into thin strips with a vegetable peeler
500ml Jasmin’s Marinara Sauce (see page 144), warmed through
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6 and line a baking tray with baking parchment.
2. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the garlic, mushrooms, rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes and chilli flakes and sauté for 2–3 minutes, until the mushrooms have softened. Stir in the lentils, then transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor with the flaxseed and blitz for just long enough to combine everything and until all the ingredients have a uniform texture. Form the mixture into 16 balls.
3. Put the balls on the lined baking tray and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, until crisp on the outside and hot through.
4. Meanwhile, cook the fettucine in a pan of boiling water for 6 minutes (or according to the packet instructions), throwing in the carrot strips for the last minute of cooking time to soften them.
5. Drain the fettucine and carrots and serve with the baked meatless meatballs and Marina Sauce.
+ If you’re short of time you can easily serve this with some store- bought Italian tomato sauce with a few basil leaves thrown in for flavour.
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