Factor’s Recipe: Lentil Meatballs with Lemon Pesto Sauce

One thing that we always ask people when we have the honor of interviewing them is, “do you have a recipe to share with us?” We’ve had quite the variety of responses, all of them awesome, but Factor was the first person to give us an actual recipe with measurements and instructions. I appreciate preciseness.

This recipe requires a little planning ahead, as the lentils need to be cooked in advance and they take a little time. That said, this is still something that can be made for a delicious and very satisfying dinner. Plus, you might have leftovers!

So, step one is to cook the lentils. I used plain green ones.
factor lentils

Gather all the ingredients…
factor ingredients

Mix all the stuff together in the method described by Factor, then make the balls (insert 8th grade humor here) – I used a cookie scoop. Perfect!
factor scoop

Serve it up, ya’ll.
factor table

PS – Factor, and anyone else who may be reading this, the leftover “meat”balls would be excellent with some Raw Pistachio and Kale Pesto. Yes, indeedy.

Lentil Meatballs with Lemon Pesto Sauce

courtesy of Factor’s interview with The Kitchen Mix

Lentil Meatballs

2 cups cooked lentils
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup ricotta
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
hefty pinch of dried or fresh thyme
1 teaspoon each sea salt and pepper
2/3 cup breadcrumbs (fresh or Panko, preferably)

Lemon Pesto Sauce

1 clove garlic
1/4 cup pinenuts
zest and juice of one Meyer lemon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup packed basil leaves
1/4 – 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
2 tablespoons water to thin


In a food processor, pulverize the lentils into mush. Put them in a
large mixing bowl.
Add the beaten eggs, ricotta, parmesan, garlic, fennel seed, parlsey,
thyme, salt and pepper and stir to mix well. Stir in the breadcrumbs
and let the mix sit for 20 minutes.

For the pesto sauce, put the garlic, nuts, lemon zest and juice and
salt in a food processor or blender and run until smooth. Add in the
basil leaves and olive oil until you get a smooth, sauce-like
consistency. Add water, oil or lemon juice to thin as desired. Stir in
the parmesan and set aside. The sauce will keep covered in the fridge
for about a week.

Preheat the oven to 400′. Check the lentil mix by rolling a 1” round
ball between your palms, it should hold together fairly well. If it
seems pretty wet and is falling apart, stir in another Tbsp. or two of
breadcrumbs until the ball will stay together.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the mix into balls and
line them up on a baking sheet (they don’t need lots of space between,
they won’t spread). If you like a bit more of a crust, brush them with
olive oil.

Bake on the middle rack for 15-20 minutes until the tops are golden
brown, gently turning the balls over halfway through baking. Remove to
cool slightly.
Serve with your favorite noodles, on a bed of sauteed greens, or
simply on their own with a nice drizzle of the pesto sauce.

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