Lentil balls in tomato sauce


for lentil balls

  • one medium eggplant chopped very small
  • 100 gr. dried green lentils
  • 150 grams chestnut mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • coconut oil for frying (or plantbased oil of your choice)
  • 4 garlic cloves chopped fine
  • 1 medium carrot chopped fine
  • 1 tsp Lebanese 7-spice
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp Isot pepper
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika powder
  • 2 tbsp sweet pepper paste (or tomato paste)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh parsley leaves for garnish

for sauce

  • Olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped fine
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 3/4 tsp corianderpowder
  • pinch of chili flakes
  • 6 good quality tomatoes chopped (or use cherries and than double)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp unsalted vegetable stock powder
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (400 gr)
  • 1 tbsp Sweet pepper paste (or tomato paste)
  • drop of Ume Sauce (if you have any)
  • hand full torn basil leaves (optional)


Start by preparing the mixture for the balls. You can make this ahead since it needs to cool first before you can roll it into balls.

Bring fresh water to boil and add the lentils. Let them simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. Discard any access water and set aside.

In the meantime put the mushrooms, walnuts, soy sauce, 1 tbsp of olive oil and salt and pepper into a food processor and blend to a paste. Heat the coconut oil in a frying pan and fry the eggplant until it turns soft and brown. Add the onions and carrot and sauté until soft. add the garlic and fry for 1 minute. Add the 7-spice, the dried oregano, the smoked paprika and the Isot pepper and mix well. Add the mushroompaste to the frying pan and cook on low heat for 4 minutes. Add the cooked lentils, stir and cook another couple of minutes. And then add the pepper paste (or tomato paste) and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.

When cool enough to handle, preheat the oven to 200℃ and cover a baking sheet with baking paper.

Form little balls with your hands of the mixture (size of a ping-pong ball) and place them on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes until they are golden and crispy on the outside, warm and soft on the inside.

Ready to be baked

In the meantime you can prepare the sauce by heating olive oil in a saucepan. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute without burning it, add the onion, season with a bit of salt and sauté until soft. Add the cumin, coriander and chili flakes and fry a couple of minutes while stirring. Add the chopped tomatoes, stir and cook for 3 minutes. Add the water and the stock powder and the can of diced tomatoes. If using add the basil leaves and splash a drop of Ume Sauce if you have any. Bring to boil and then reduce the heat to let it simmer until it forms a rich and thick tomato-sauce. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Garnish with fresh parsley.

Serve with wholewheat plant based pasta or maybe some flatbread!


  • serves: 4-6
  • prep time: 30 minutes
  • cooking/baking time: 30 minutes