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Lentil Balls w/ Red Lentil Penne Pasta

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Barilla. Thank you for supporting our work here at Food Heaven!

My life has officially been snatched, thanks to these delicious Lentil Balls with Red Lentil Penne Pasta made with new Barilla Red Lentil Penne.

When I’m cozying up on a Friday night, all I really want is a comforting dish to go with my Netflix binge. What are your favorite Friday happenings? Next time you’re staying in, try these Lentil Balls w/ Red Lentil Penne Pasta.  Tossing our favorite vegetables with pasta is one of our go-tos for easy meal prep. You can literally throw any vegetable into the pan, and you’re all set. For this one, we went with baby spinach, but you can use whatever’s in the refrigerator.

Both of the Barilla red lentil pastas are made with just one ingredient: lentils. We love simple products that offer nutrition and satisfaction. And because they’re made with just lentils, this pasta brings on the plant-based protein and fiber.

These homemade lentil balls are another great way to up your plant-based protein. Lentils are high in folate, phosphorous, and fiber. If you’ve never cooked with lentils before, they tend to take on the flavor that you season them with. For this recipe, we encourage you to play around with your favorite spices! 

Preheat the oven to 400F. Add the lentils to a food processor and pulse a few times. Avoid pureeing the lentils. Add the pulsed lentils to a bowl and set aside. Add the 1 cup of mushrooms, red onion, and garlic to a food processor and pulse a few times, until everything is finely chopped. Heat up the 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add the pulsed onion, garlic, and mushrooms, and the 1 tablespoon of tomato paste. Sauté for 3-4 minutes over low/medium heat.
 
Remove from the stove and add the cooked mushrooms to the bowl with the lentils, along with the teaspoon of spices, salt, the beaten egg, and the 1/3 cup of nutritional yeast. Mix together well with a spoon, and then slowly add in the oat flour as you continue mixing. Once everything is mixed together, form 14-16 lentil balls with your hands and set aside. In a medium pan, heat the vegetable oil on the stovetop, and add the lentil balls. (I recommend you do this in 2 batches.)
 

Cook the lentil balls in the oil for 2 minutes on each side, using a spatula to carefully flip over. Once done, add them to a parchment paper-lined baking dish. Once all the balls are cooked on the pan and added to the baking dish, bake for 20 minutes or until browned and crisp. While the lentil balls are baking, let’s get to cooking our lentil pasta!

Cook the entire box of pasta according to package directions (boil 4-6 quarts of salted water. Add pasta and boil for 7-9 minutes). Once done, drain and set aside. In a pan, heat the olive oil and add the sliced onion. Sauté for 1-2 minutes, and then add the 3 cups of baby spinach. Sauté for another couple of minutes, and then toss in the cooked pasta and marinara sauce. (You can also make your own sauce! Check out our delicious arrabbiata sauce recipe here) Then mix together and cook for another couple of minutes. Top the pasta with lentil balls and enjoy!

 

We challenge you to work this recipe into your meal prep for the week. Enjoy it with your favorite vegetables and save the leftovers for the week! And in the spirit of meal planning, you can find Barilla Chickpea and Red Lentil pastas on Amazon. Would love to hear how this recipe went for you! Leave a comment below and let us know <3

Lentil Balls with Red Lentil Penne Pasta
Servings: 4
Ingredients
For the pasta:
  • box Barilla Red Lentil Penne
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 3 cups of baby spinach
  • 2 cup of marinara sauce
For the lentil balls:
  • 1, 15.5 oz can of brown lentils or 1 3/4 cups cooked brown lentils rinsed, drained, and patted dry
  • 1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 medium red onion, cut into large chunks
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon of your favorite spice blend, we used paprika, cayenne, and cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup oat flour, just blend rolled oats until flour-like consistency is reached
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F
  2. Add the lentils to a food processor and pulse a few times. Avoid pureeing the lentils.

  3. Add the pulsed lentils to a bowl and set aside.
  4. Add the 1 cup of mushrooms, red onion, and garlic to a food processor and pulse a few times, until everything is finely chopped.

  5. Heat up the 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add the pulsed onion, garlic, and mushrooms, and the 1 tablespoon of tomato paste.
  6. Sauté for 3-4 minutes over low/medium heat.
  7. Remove from the stove and add the cooked mushrooms to the bowl with the lentils, along with the teaspoon of spices, salt, the beaten egg, and the 1/3 cup of nutritional yeast.
  8. Mix together well with a spoon, and then slowly add in the oat flour as you continue mixing.
  9. Once everything is mixed together, form 14-16 lentil balls with your hands and set aside.
  10. In a medium pan, heat the vegetable oil on the stovetop, and add the lentil balls. (I recommend you do this in 2 batches.)
  11. Cook the lentil balls in the oil for 2 minutes on each side, using a spatula to carefully flip over.
  12. Once done, add them to a parchment paper-lined baking dish.
  13. Once all the balls are cooked on the pan and added to the baking dish, bake for 20 minutes or until browned and crisp.
  14. While the lentil balls are baking, let’s get to cooking our lentil pasta! Cook the entire box of pasta according to package directions (boil 4-6 quarts of salted water. Add pasta and boil for 7-9 minutes).
  15. Once done, drain and set aside.
  16. In a pan, heat the olive oil and add the sliced onion. Sauté for 1-2 minutes, and then add the 3 cup of baby spinach. Sauté for another couple of minutes, and then toss in the cooked pasta and marinara sauce. Mix together and cook for another couple of minutes.

  17. Top the pasta with lentil balls and enjoy!

  18. To reheat the balls, just pop in the oven at 350F until crispy and warm. 

Recipe Notes

You can also make your own sauce! See our delicious arrabbiata sauce recipe here 

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