These Lentil Meatballs in Curry Sauce are a perfect vegetarian comfort meal. Serve over cooked rice or meal-prep to eat throughout the week.
Curries have been on our menu a lot this year. We’ve fallen in love with curries in Thailand, and since coming home I’ve cooked them about once every two weeks or so.
This time I wanted to make like a meatball curry, but vegetarian, and went with a lentil version which worked splendidly!
The lentils add a hearty feel to the dish, and the curry sauce adds creaminess, spice, and comfort. If you ask me, this Lentil Meatballs in Curry Sauce is a perfect dish for the colder months, plus you can make it with just a couple of basic pantry ingredients.
Now I’ll admit, making lentil meatballs does include a couple of steps, but they are fairly easy and all they take is a little time. I recommend makig this dish in a double batch and freeze the rest for later use, or make it as a meal-prep to enjoy for meals throughout the week.
There are two steps to makig these Lentil Meatballs in Curry Sauce:
- step 1: make lentil meatballs
- step 2: make the curry sauce
If you’re short on time, you can make the lentil meatballs a day ahead (or even freeze them), and then just make the curry sauce the following day.
How do you make Lentil Meatballs?
There are a couple of steps to making the lentil meatballs, but they’re all very simple!
Start by washing the dry lentils and then cook them in vegetable stock. You could cook them in salted water, but I find cooking them in stock gives them much more flavor once cooked.
Once the lentils are cooked and cooled down, pulse them with the rest of the ingredients (see recipe). You are looking for a texture that is half paste, and half whole lentils, so it has a bite to it.
Then, shape walnut-sized balls out of the mixture and fry them in a pan until golden brown in color.
What kind of lentils can I use?
We recommend using a sturdy kind of lentils. Brown and green lentils work really well, as they retain their shape when cooking. Yellow or red lentils will not work, as they fall apart when cooking.
How do you make the Curry Sauce?
Making this curry sauce is super easy! You can make it using a store-bought curry paste or curry mix spices. We chose a yellow curry paste that we simply added to a pot with a diced onion. Then we added coconut milk. We find it best to first add about 2 tablespoons of thick milk to the paste and let it cook for a couple of minutes until the fat in the coconut milk starts to separate. You’ll see it a drizzle of tiny fat droplets in the sauce. This process will make the sauce extra yummy, but if you are short on time, you can skip this step and just add in the whole of the can of coconut milk. then you also add in the vegetable stock, the cooked lentil meatballs and fresh herbs (we used parsley, but do use coriander if you have it). Don’t forget to season to taste with salt and pepper and then just let cook for about 15 minutes, so the flavors incorporate. That’s it!
How do you serve this dish?
We like having Lentil Meatballs in Curry Sauce served over cooked rice. Plain basmati or jasmine rice will do, but try also wild rice or a rice mixture for extra nutrients!
Is this dish vegetarian?
Yes, this dish is vegetarian but is not fully plant-based! I have not yet tried making it wholly plant-based, and the lentil meatballs do have an egg as a binder. But, you are free to try using an egg replacer (like flax-egg) to make it fully vegan. I would appreciate your feedback if you do try to veganize this recipe!
- 1 cup brown lentils
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 large onion (or 2 small ones)
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
- 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
- 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
- salt, pepper
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 onion
- 3 tbsp yellow curry paste
- 1 can coconut milk
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
- salt, pepper to taste
- 1 cup basmati rice
- Cook lentils: Wash 1 cup of dry brown lentils under running water, then transfer to a pot with 2 cups of vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook on low for about 40 minutes, until the lentils soften. Once the lentils are cooked, drain them and let them cool. Once cooled, transfer the cooked lentils into the bowl of your kitchen robot.
- Prepare the rest of the ingredients: Peel and finely dice 1 large onion and mince 3 cloves of garlic. To a heated pan, add a sprinkle of vegetable oil, then add diced onion and stir-fry until translucent. Add minced garlic and 1 tbsp tomato paste and cook for a minute so the paste darkens, then pour in 1/3 cup white wine and 1 tbsp soy sauce. Cook for another 5 minutes until the wine reduces and the alcohol evaporates, then remove from heat and let cool down. Once cooled, add to the cooked lentils.
- To the lentils in the mixer bowl now add also 1 egg and 2 tbsp chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then pulse until your lentils come together in a thick mixture. Make sure to not over mix it, as you don't want a paste texture. You should see some whole cooked lentils in the mixture as well as some partially broken down.
- Shape into balls: Now mix in about 2 tbsp breadcrumbs and 3 tbsp all-purpose flour, or as much as you need so that the mixture holds its shape when you shape it into a ball. Let the mixture rest for about half an hour, then shape small balls in the size of a walnut out of the lentil mixture and place them on a plate.
- Cook lentil meatballs: To a large pan, add about 1 tbsp of vegetable oil and heat on medium. Once the pan is heated, add in lentil meatballs and gently fry on medium until golden brown. Make sure to turn them around so they are evenly cooked through. Once cooked, set the lentil meatballs aside.
- Cook the curry sauce: To a large pot, add a sprinkle of vegetable oil, then add in 1 finely diced onion and fry until translucent. Add in 3 tbsp yellow curry paste and 2 tbsp of thick coconut cream out of a can of coconut milk. Let it simmer on medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the fat starts to separate (you will see it as tiny drops in the sauce). Now pour in 2 cups vegetable stock and the remaining coconut milk, add in the cooked lentil meatballs, and 1 tbsp of finely chopped parsley (or coriander if you have it). Season to taste with salt and pepper and cook for another 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a separate pot cook 1 cup basmati rice in 2 cups salted water for about 10 minutes, then let rest covered for another 10 minutes.
- Serve the Lentil Meatballs in Curry Sauce over cooked basmati rice.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 309Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 1313mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 8g
Nutrition data is automatically calculated using Nutritionix and may not be accurate.
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