In the midst of the vegan 30-day experience and I wanted to share these lentil mushroom spheres are festive, filling, and a great vegan protein option for a fantastic feast! You can prepare the lentil balls in advance. Just shape the balls and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for no longer than 12-24 hours, bring to room temperature, and then bake as usual (of course, remove plastic wrap first). Lastly, it's important to (very) finely chop all the vegetables and walnuts so everything sticks together
13-14 spheres Cook time - 45 Minutes
1/2 cup uncooked green lentils
1 cup walnuts halves, finely chopped
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 heaping cups finely chopped mushrooms (one 8-oz package)
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cup finely chopped destemmed kale leaves
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (or 1/4 tsp dried)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons ground flax + 3 tablespoons water
1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats, ground into a coarse flour
1/2-3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Add lentils into a medium pot along with 2 and 1/4 cups water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium. Simmer for about 20 minutes, uncovered, adding more water if the lentils dry out. Once the lentils are fork tender, remove from heat and mash with a potato masher until it's a coarse paste with some lentil pieces still intact. Set aside.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325F. Toast the chopped walnuts for 9-12 minutes, until lightly golden and fragrant. After toasting, increase oven temp to 350F.
In a very large skillet or wok, add the oil along with the finely chopped mushrooms and garlic. Season with salt. Saute over medium-high heat for about 7-9 minutes, until most of the water cooks off. Now add the kale, toasted walnuts, cranberries, herbs, and sherry vinegar. Stir until combined and continue cooking for another few minutes until the kale is wilted. Remove from heat and stir in the mashed lentils when ready.
In a small bowl, whisk together the ground flax and water. Stir for 10 seconds and then immediately pour into the skillet mixture. Stir to combine. Now stir in the 1/2 cup oat flour until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The mixture should be fairly moist and sticky. If it's way too sticky, add a bit more oat flour. If it's dry, add another tbsp of water.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Shape lentil mixture into balls and pack tightly with your hands so they hold together. Place on baking sheet an inch or so apart. Repeat for the rest. If the mixture is too hot to handle, let it cool for a bit first and then proceed.
Bake the lentil balls at 350F for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, gently flip over, and bake for another 11-13 minutes, until golden and firm on the exterior.