Lentil ‘meatballs’ with ajvar and tomato

Lentil ‘meatballs’ with ajvar and tomato

By
From
Cut the Carbs!
Serves
2-4
Makes
14-16

Ajvar is a Balkan secret weapon in the kitchen. It’s a robust relish made from roasted peppers and garlic. Its piquancy makes it perfect with grilled meats – most often we’ve enjoyed it on the side of a simple mixed grill. I’m happy to report that it also makes a novel sauce for ‘meatballs’. These small spheres of lentils are an excellent stand-in on Meatless Mondays – and filling enough for you to easily forgo any pasta or mashed potato as a base. Just add some flat-leaf parsley and a little sour cream to the top before serving, though a big green salad and some pickles on the side are also great.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2 x 400g tins of brown lentils, rinsed
2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, plus extra to serve
1 tablespoon hungarian paprika
A pinch sea salt
chickpea or wholemeal plain wheat flour, (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil

Sauce

Quantity Ingredient
550g ajvar, (Balkan red pepper relish)
200g cherry tomatoes

To serve

Quantity Ingredient
4 tablespoons creme fraiche or sour cream
green salad
pickles

Equipment

Quantity Ingredient
baking tray lined with baking paper

Method

  1. Using a stick blender or food processor, blend four-fifths of the lentils until smooth. Fold in the remaining lentils, the Parmesan, tomato paste, egg, parsley, paprika and salt. The mixture should hold together like cookie dough but if it is too wet and droopy, you can rescue it by adding 1–2 tablespoons chickpea or wholemeal flour. Portion the mixture into meatballs the same size as golf balls. They will get a little mucky. Place them on the lined baking tray and refrigerate them for 30 minutes to firm up.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180˚C.
  3. After 30 minutes, drizzle the meatballs with the olive oil and transfer the baking tray to the preheated oven. Bake for 25–30 minutes until they have browned.
  4. In the meantime, for the sauce, put the ajvar and tomatoes in a saucepan over medium heat until the tomatoes have softened and popped and the ajvar has heated through.
  5. Serve the meatballs on the sauce, glossed with a little crème fraîche or sour cream and some parsley. Eat with a green salad and some pickles on the side.

Tip:

  • Ajvar is available in the international foods section of many supermarkets, or from the Macedonian ingredients website pelagonia.co.uk. Otherwise you can fashion your own by blending together a 500-g jar of drained roasted red peppers with a garlic clove, 2 tsp olive oil and 1 tsp red wine vinegar.
Tags:
healthy
low carb
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