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I made these as an appetizer for a Superbowl party but they could easily be paired with a bed of fresh or sautéed greens, noodles, hot and fresh marinara or pesto for a nice dinner. Pop them in the fridge as-is for a quick snack too! I am eating them the day after and they are still really good.

Lentil “meatballs” with pesto
As seen on Sprouted Kitchen {a fav of mine}.

2 Cups Cooked Lentils {I used black lentils}
2 Eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 Cup Ricotta {I bought fat free Ricotta from Trader Joes}
1/4 Cup Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese
1 Large Clove Garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. Fennel Seed, crushed {I used Aniseed because that is what I had on hand}
2 Tbsp. Finely Chopped Fresh Parsley
Hefty Pinch of Dried or Fresh Thyme
1 tsp. Each Sea Salt and Pepper
2/3 Cup Breadcrumbs {fresh or panko. I made mine fresh from sourdough bread}

In a food processor, pulverize the lentils into mush. Put them in a large mixing bowl.
Add the beaten eggs, ricotta, parmesan, garlic, fennel seed, parlsey, thyme, salt and pepper and stir to mix well. Stir in the breadcrumbs and let the mix sit for 20 minutes.

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Preheat the oven to 400′. Check the lentil mix by rolling a 1” round ball between your palms, it should hold together fairly well. If it seems pretty wet and it falling apart, stir in another Tbsp. or two of breadcrumbs until the ball with stay together.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the mix into balls and line them up on a baking sheet (they don’t need lots of space between, they won’t spread). If you like a bit more of a crust, brush them with olive oil.

Bake on the middle rack for 30 minutes until the tops are golden brown, gently turning the balls over halfway through baking. Bake longer if they don’t have a slight crust on the outside. Remove to cool slightly.

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Lemon Pesto Sauce

{I bought mine at Trader Joes because I didn’t have time to make it fresh. Fresh pesto, or marinara, would be ideal}

1 Clove Garlic
1/4 Cup Pinenuts
Zest and Juice of one Meyer Lemon
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
1 Cup Packed Basil Leaves
1/4 – 1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Grated Parmesan
2 Tbsp. Water to thin

For the pesto sauce, put the garlic, nuts, lemon zest and juice and salt in a food processor or blender and run until smooth. Add in the basil leaves and olive oil until you get a smooth, sauce-like consistency. Add water, oil or lemon juice to thin as desired. Stir in the parmesan and set aside. The sauce will keep covered in the fridge for about a week.

Smear pesto or marinara sauce, on a plate. Slightly roll meatballs in sauce {or what I should have done would be to thin the sauce slightly and pour some on the plate first, then drizzle the rest over top}. Stick with individual toothpicks to serve as an appetizer. Voila!

{these photos do not do them justice. they are really good!}

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