The Meatless Monday movement has been gaining some serious steam lately. However, Meatless Monday is nothing new—the U.S. Food Administration actually used it as a campaign, along with Wheatless Wednesdays, to help reduce consumption of key staples during World War I. Meatless Monday was revived when health advocate Sid Lerner, along with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, decided to address the issue of preventable illnesses associated with excessive meat consumption.
Since its launch in 2003, the Meatless Monday movement has turned global with millions of participating individuals, hospitals, schools, worksites and restaurants. One added benefit to reducing meat consumption is that it’s often easy on the wallet. With meat and fish prices skyrocketing as of late, turning to more plant-based meals will inevitably help your family budget in addition to your health.
TASTY VEGAN MEATBALLS
- 1 1/2 cups + 1/3 cups cooked red or green lentils
- 1 cup cooked quinoa (approximately 1/2 cup quinoa will cook into 1 cup)
- 1 cup cooked amaranth (approximately 1/2 cup amaranth will cook into 1 cup)
- 2 cups quick oats
- 3/4 cups unsalted sunflower seeds
- 3 medium carrots, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon organic maple syrup
- Sea salt to taste (I used 1 1/2 teaspoons)
- Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- Preferred pasta prepared to package instructions
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the quick oats and sunflower seeds in a food processor. Blend until the mixture resembles bread crumbs or dust. Remove 1/2 cup of the mixture and place to the side (this will be used for coating the meatballs later).
- Add 1 1/2 cup of lentils (save the 1/3 cup for later), quinoa, amaranth, carrots, onion, garlic, thyme, oregano, paprika, maple syrup, salt and pepper to the oat and sunflower seed mixture in the food processor. Blend until thoroughly combined and pour mixture into a large bowl.
- One at a time, form round balls of the mixture and roll in the remaining oat and sunflower seed mixture to coat the outside. Place on the baking sheet. When all of the mixture is used, place the sheet in the oven on the top rack (in the top third of your oven). Bake 15 minutes, turn meatballs and bake 15 minutes more. Remove from oven.
- While the meatballs are baking, warm marinara sauce in a medium saucepan. Add the remaining 1/3 lentils and season.
- Prepare pasta to serve with your meatballs according to package instructions. (I used quinoa pasta for this recipe.)
- Mix the noodles into the pasta sauce and plate. Roll the meatballs in the pasta sauce and plate on top of the noodles. Add cheese or fresh herbs if desired, and serve warm.