When Chantal Organics asked me to create a Christmas recipe using their lentils I jumped at the chance! I wanted to create a recipe with all the traditional flavours of Christmas that everyone could enjoy, including anyone eating a vegetarian or vegan diet.
We have a lot of different tastes and food preferences in our family and mum tries to cater to them all. This often means she spends the day slaving over a hot oven when she’d much rather be playing with the grandkids.
In past years we’ve had so many different things on the table it’s just crazy. We always have the traditional roast turkey and vegetables, then there’s often a chicken as well (my brother doesn’t like turkey), a side of salmon (for the non turkey eaters), a side of beef (‘cos your father likes it) and some kind of vegetarian patty (or three!). We only have one vegetarian in our family but we all love our vegetables and want to eat the vegetarian dish too!
So I created these lentil and herb Christmas stuffing balls which have all the nostalgic flavours of traditional stuffing but without any gluten or dairy. They go beautifully with roast turkey and vegetables, or can be served a main themselves.
To the lentil base I added toasted pine nuts and sunflower seeds to create a complete protein profile and enhance the delicious nutty flavour. Tamari sauce and mushrooms add a savoury unami element and a generous amount of fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, parsley and sage, complete the traditional stuffing flavour.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a true Swoon Food recipe if it didn’t contain a healthy serving of greens, so I’ve also thrown in a generous handful of spinach.
The recipe below uses egg to bind everything together, but if you need them to be fully vegan I’ve also given the option to use a flax egg instead.
And if you’re still reading this post and it’s not Christmas, by all means don’t let that stop you! These lentil balls make a delicious week night meal served with a side salad or roast vegetables, and an even better leftover lunch the next day.
If you make these lentil stuffing balls, I’d love to hear from you!
Lentil & Herb Christmas Stuffing Balls
Makes: 20 to 22 balls
Prep time: 30 minutes Cook time: 20-25 minutes
1/2 brown onion
1 cup mushrooms
2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp tamari sauce
1 cup baby spinach leaves
2 Tbsp fresh parsley (or 1 Tbsp dried)
2 Tbsp fresh thyme (or 1 Tbsp dried)
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary (or 1 Tbsp dried)
2 Tbsp fresh sage (or 1 Tbsp dried)
1 can lentils
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 Tbsp flaxseed (linseed)
2 cloves fresh garlic or 1 tsp garlic granules
1/2 cup rice flour
1 egg (or flax egg for vegan: 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 Tbsp water)
salt & pepper to season
Preheat your oven to 160ºC fan bake.
Place the pine nuts on a lined baking tray and toast for 5 to 10 minutes, or until just golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
Turn the oven up to 180ºC fan bake.
Finely chop the onion, and wash and chop the mushrooms into small pieces.
Heat the coconut oil in a heavy based pan, add the onion and cook a few minutes until it starts to soften.
Add the mushrooms and continue to cook until softened.
Add the tamari sauce and cook a further minute until half the liquid is evaporated, then turn off the heat and allow the mix to cool.
Wash the fresh herbs and spinach and roughly chop (you can also do this in a food processor).
Drain the lentils and add to food processor along with the spinach and herbs, mushroom mixture, sunflower seeds, flaxseed, garlic granules, rice flour, egg, salt and pepper. Pulse to combine, scraping down the side as needed.
Roll the mixture into bite sized balls and place on a lined oven tray. At this point you can refrigerate overnight and bake the next day if desired.
To bake the balls place them in the centre of your preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they’re cooked through. Note, their centre’s should remain slightly moist. Serve as a side at Christmas lunch or dinner, or for a plant based weeknight meal serve with a fresh side salad.