Make Ahead

Vegetarian Lentil and Chickpea Meatballs with Lemon Pesto

May 18, 2012
0 Ratings
  • Serves 4
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

What You'll Need
  • 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
  • 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. Lentil and Chickpea Meatballs
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  1. Lemon Pesto
  2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until combined. Spoon over the meatballs or use as a dip on the side.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Alexis Schaffler
    Alexis Schaffler
  • aargersi
  • sexyLAMBCHOPx
  • Meatballs&Milkshakes
I'm an ex-finance, nonprofit fundraiser by day and a (mostly) Italian cook and blogger by night. I love having friends over for dinner and my favorite evenings are when we spend them at home together cooking dinner and chatting. I'm an avid cooking show fan, and my favorite eating cities are New York, San Francisco, Paris, and Rome.

6 Reviews

Alexis S. August 25, 2014
What can one substitute for the breadcrumbs? Oats? Almonds? Cashews?
Meatballs&Milkshakes September 2, 2014
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.
aargersi December 4, 2013
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 :-)
Meatballs&Milkshakes December 4, 2013
You are completely right! I'm going to try to fix it....
sexyLAMBCHOPx May 18, 2012
looks easy & healthy! cant wait to try!
thanks! hope you like them!