Vegetarian Lentil and Chickpea Meatballs with Lemon Pesto

By • May 18, 2012 6 Comments

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Author Notes: I love meatballs of all kinds, and these are one my favorites. They are really healthy, but you wouldn't know it when you eat them. It's perfect for summer when I don't want to have the stove on a long time and heat up the kitchen. The lemon pesto is great on all sorts of other things as well, and I like it as a dipping sauce for veggies in summer. A nice hit of citrus really brightens up the meatballs too.Meatballs&Milkshakes

Serves 4

Lentil and Chickpea Meatballs

  • 2 cups cooked lentils, any variety but I like French lentils
  • 1 cup drained and rinsed chickpeas (I use canned because they are easy)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese (or ricotta for substitution)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon aleppo pepper (or substitute 1/2 cayenne)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 2/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, for garnish
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until it creates a paste. Form into 1-inch round balls. If the paste is too sticky, refrigerate for an hour before rolling into balls.
  2. Place on parchment paper on a baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until they start to brown on top. Squeeze a whole lemon over them before serving.

Lemon Pesto

  • 3 cups basil
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts (or substitute walnuts or hazelnuts)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until combined. Spoon over the meatballs or use as a dip on the side.

More Great Recipes: Vegetables|Appetizers|Entrees|Hors d'oeuvres|Meatballs

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Comments (6) Questions (0)


about 1 year ago Alexis Schaffler

What can one substitute for the breadcrumbs? Oats? Almonds? Cashews?


about 1 year ago Meatballs&Milkshakes

Breadcrumbs in any meatball are meant to lighten the texture so that you don't have dense, leaden meatballs. For that reason, I would not suggest using nuts. I would actually try something more like quinoa probably, but if you have a gluten problem, maybe you can try g-free bread ground into breadcrumbs.


over 1 year ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I love these - the site dropped the step where you form the meatballs but I think we can infer that it needs to be done :-)


over 1 year ago Meatballs&Milkshakes

You are completely right! I'm going to try to fix it....


over 3 years ago sexyLAMBCHOPx

sexyLAMBCHOPx is a trusted home cook.

looks easy & healthy! cant wait to try!


over 3 years ago Meatballs&Milkshakes

thanks! hope you like them!