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Mediterranean lentil meatballs with tomato sauce

Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 30 mins
Course: Main meal
Servings: 6
Author: Becca Heyes


For the Mediterranean lentil meatballs:

  • 230 g brown lentils (~ 1 cup)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion, roughly diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 45 g bread (~ 1 slice) - I used wholemeal
  • Small bunch fresh basil
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree (I used double concentrate)
  • 2 tbsp sliced black olives
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

For the easy tomato sauce:

  • 2 x 400g tins good quality chopped tomatoes (~ 2 1/2 cups total)
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Fresh basil, to serve


  • Preheat the oven to 190°C (Gas Mark 5 / 375°F).
  • Boil the brown lentils in plenty of water, until soft - around 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan, and add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook over a medium heat for a few minutes, until soft and fragrant.
  • Transfer the cooked onion and garlic to a food processor, and add the slice of bread, fresh basil, tomato puree, black olives, and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Blitz to form a chunky paste.
  • When the lentils are cooked, drain them and add to the food processor. Blitz again until the mixture comes together. It should be well combined, but it's fine to leave a few lentils whole.
  • Lightly grease a lined baking tray. Roll the lentil mixture into balls, and place on the tray. I made 24 lentil meatballs in total, each measuring around 2 inches in diameter.
  • Place in the oven and bake for around an hour, or until crispy.
  • While the meatballs are baking, add the good quality chopped tomatoes to a saucepan, and season to taste. Bring to a gentle simmer, and cook for around 10 minutes, until they form a thick and rich tomato sauce.
  • When the lentil meatballs are ready, serve them with the tomato sauce and your choice of side (I went for bulgur wheat). Top with the fresh basil.