Preparation time 30 minutes
Cooking time 30 minutes
Jez Felwick, author of The Bowler’s Meatball Cookbook, said: These super-healthy balls contain all you need to get a low-fat, nutritious hit of fibre, protein and minerals. Try getting a few down the kids – all part of the fun after they have shaped and baked them...
100g red lentils
3 banana shallots, finely sliced
2 spring onions, finely sliced
1 garlic clove, crushed
120g pine nuts, toasted
300g cooked brown rice, cooled (weight 150g uncooked)
2 teaspoons thyme, finely chopped
2 tablespoons basil, finely chopped
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 large free-range egg
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground
1. Preheat the oven to 220ºC (425ºF), Gas Mark 7 and line a large baking tray with non-stick baking parchment.
2. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil. Add the lentils, bring back to the boil and skim off the white foamy starch which will rise to the surface. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the lentils are soft but haven’t started to disintegrate. Drain in a sieve and leave to cool.
3. Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and add the shallots and the white part of the spring onions. Stir-fry over a medium heat for 2 minutes, then add the garlic and cook until the onions are translucent.
4. Place the toasted pine nuts in a clean tea towel and bash them with the back of a wooden spoon to break them (don’t go too mad, though, as you want to retain a few lumps for texture).
5. Beat the egg in a large bowl, then add all the other ingredients and mix with your hands until well combined. Form the mixture into 16 balls each 5cm in diameter, packing each one firmly, and place them on the prepared baking tray.
6. Bake the balls for 15–20 minutes, turning the tray round halfway through – the balls should begin to brown on top. Keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t get burnt underneath.
Serve with salad or a simple tomato sauce.