Hey guys – I hope you’re all doing well! ♥️
I’m going to jump right in and start by saying that I think we all know that we need a lot of veggies in our diet and that reducing our animal food intake will help both our personal health and the health of the planet – not to mention the animals.
However, from a nutrition standpoint, you don’t really need to cut out animal products entirely. I do strongly advise introducing a few vegetarian and vegan meals to your weekly meal rotation. That’s why many of the meals I share here are plant based. Most of us do not get nearly enough veg, fruit and fiber and swapping some of your go-to dinners with a few plant based alternative can go a long way to help that.
I also understand however that for some people, omitting meat entirely from a more traditional dish doesn’t sound too appetizing *I live with one of these people*. So, I decided I would bulk up traditional meat balls with some plant power in the form of brown canned lentils. They really are just as good as traditional meatballs – I promise you won’t notice the difference.
The best part is that you will be reducing the amount of meat, reducing cost, increasing fiber, vitamins and minerals – win win!
Here’s how I make them…
500g minced beef
250g cooked brown lentils
1/2 a large onion
3 cloves garlic
some chilli and salt and pepper
Start by placing your minced beef in a large bowl. Then rinse and drain your lentils *you could also opt for dry lentils that have been thoroughly cooked. Place your lentils in a separate bowl and mash using a potato masher. Once a paste-like consistency forms, add your lentils to the minced beef and add all the other ingredients.
Mix well and form into balls. Then fry the meatballs in a non stick pan (I don’t use oil – the beef will render enough fat) until meatballs are golden brown on all sides. Then remove from pan and let rest.
To make the tomato sauce
2 cloves finely minced garlic
1 large tablespoon tomato paste
1 400g tin tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
water, salt and pepper
Using the same pan you used to cook your meatballs, add garlic, oregano and tomato paste and cook for a minute or two in the beef fat that is left behind in the pan. Then add onion and cook together for an additional 2 to 3 minutes until onion is translucent. Finally add your tinned tomatoes, salt, pepper and a bit of water – the amount of water you use here really depends on your preferred consistency for the sauce. I normally add a little at a time to make sure it’s not too watery.
Note: If you do accidentally add to much water, just cook the sauce a little longer until some of the water evaporates.
Finally, add your meatballs to the sauce and cook covered for about 30 minutes until meatballs are cooked well and sauce is nice a thick!
There you have it – my meat reduced meatballs! A definite crowd-pleaser 🙂
The increase your veggie intake even further, serve the over zucchini noodles 🍝 Spaghetti is tastier but I try to avoid eating very starchy foods for my evening meal because I don’t sleep as well so these zoodles make a great alternative!
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Sarah’s Healthy Eats – @holisticnutritionninja
Until my next post, be well xXx