Gluten Free Vegetarian Meatballs (with Red Lentils & Mushrooms)
1 pound red lentil beans, rinsed (any lentil will do, though – red just makes gives them a meat-like blush)
3 cups vegetable stock
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
20 ounces sliced white or baby portabella mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup tomato marinara sauce
2 teaspoons gluten free Worcestershire sauce (both Lea & Perrins and Heinz brands are gluten free)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated
2 eggs at room temperature, beaten
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.
Place the lentils and the stock in a medium heavy-bottom saucepan, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, cover and allow to simmer for 10 to 12 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed.
While the lentils are cooking, in another medium heavy-bottom saucepan, saute the onion in the 2 tablespoons of olive oil until the onions are beginning to soften (about 4 minutes). Add the sliced mushrooms and salt, and mix to combine. Cover and cook until the mushrooms have reduced in size by about half and have softened (about 5 minutes more). Drain the mushrooms of any excess liquid, and allow them to cool briefly.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, place the drained mushrooms and onions and the bread crumbs, and pulse until the mixture begins to clump. It will be chunky, not completely smooth, but you should not see any recognizable pieces of mushroom. Transfer to a large, wide bowl. Place half of the cooked lentil beans in the food processor, and pulse until mostly smooth. Transfer both the processed and the whole lentils to the bowl with the mushroom mixture. Add the marinara sauce, Worcestershire, basil, parsley, grated cheese and the eggs, and mix gently to combine fully.
With a medium (approximately 2-inch) ice cream scoop, scoop the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet each about 1 inch apart from the other. Drizzle the tops lightly with olive oil, and bake until mostly firm to the touch (about 20 minutes). Broil for 5 minutes, rotating once during broiling, to brown the tops slightly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool briefly before serving. The meatballs will firm up as they cool. Serve over gluten free pasta.