Vegetarian Lentil And Mushroom BBQ Meatballs Recipe

Are you hosting a cocktail party and need to offer vegetarian options? These vegetarian lentil and mushroom barbecue meatballs are perfect! Not only are they great for parties but also a great make-ahead option that can be eaten just as they are, tucked into pita bread for a sandwich, or added to pasta.

Recipe developer Miriam Hahn brings us this recipe and says, "There are so many creative ways to take a common food favorite and make it vegetarian. Lentils and mushrooms are a staple in my kitchen because they have the texture to mimic meat and with the right seasonings they can taste as good as the real thing." Lentils offer many health benefits including containing high amounts of protein and fiber. They're a staple ingredient in the cuisines of many cultures and whether you live a vegetarian lifestyle or not, they taste amazing and will fill you up.

Gather the ingredients for vegetarian lentil and mushroom BBQ meatballs

To make this recipe, start by picking up some green lentils. You can use green or brown lentils in this recipe but avoid using red lentils because they don't hold their shape. To save a step you can use pre-made lentils. You'll also need some cooked brown rice, rolled oats, breadcrumbs, Worcestershire sauce, barbecue sauce, and liquid smoke. "This is the perfect recipe if you have leftover rice. As it sits in the fridge it gets firmer and this acts as a binder for the meatballs," Hahn says. 

Head to the produce aisle and grab an onion, mushrooms, and parsley. For cooking, you'll need some oil and then to season things up you'll need garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and salt. "If you want to make this recipe vegan just make sure to use a vegan Worcestershire sauce or make your own," Hahn shares.

Cook the lentils and the aromatics

If you are using uncooked lentils go ahead and cook those now following the package directions. Then add some oil to the frying pan and bring the heat to medium. Once the pan is hot, add in the onion and mushrooms. Cook for five minutes stirring frequently. "The mushrooms will give this dish a nice umami flavor and also add a meaty taste," Hahn shares.

Combine the rest of the ingredients

Drain the cooked lentils and add them to a food processor with the onions, mushrooms, rice, oats, and parsley. "We just want to pulse the food processor about 10 to 15 times to break down the ingredients but still keep the mixture chunky," Hahn explains. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add the garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, breadcrumbs, Worcestershire, some of the barbecue sauce, and liquid smoke. Stir to combine the meatball mixture.

Form and saute the meatballs

Preheat the oven to 400 F. As that heats up, roll the lentil mixture in your hands to form about 30 small meatballs. Add the remaining oil to a large frying pan and bring the heat to medium. Once hot, add as many meatballs as possible that will fit into the pan and cook for 3 minutes on each side. "If you are using a non-stick frying pan you won't need to add more oil when you move on to the next batch," Hahn explains. 

While they are cooking prepare a 9x13-inch baking pan by spreading ¼ cup of barbecue sauce on the bottom. When the meatballs are done cooking in the frying pan, transfer them to the baking dish. "Searing the meatballs first in the frying pan gives them a nicely browned outside and helps them hold together," Hahn explains. When they are all in the baking dish, brush on the remaining barbecue sauce.

Bake and serve

The final step is to bake the meatballs so go ahead and pop the baking tray into the oven and cook for 25 minutes. "This will cook the meatballs in the center and give them time to get a saucy coating on the outside as well," Hahn shares. 

When the meatballs come out of the oven, they are ready to serve. Add a little chopped parsley if you want a pop of color. You can serve them in a bowl with tongs or give each one a toothpick which is perfect for parties where no silverware is involved. 

The richness of the lentils and mushrooms with the smoky allure of the barbecue flavors will make these a favorite among vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike, and you'll be adding this to your list of favorite finger foods for parties, game nights, or potlucks!

Vegetarian Lentil And Mushroom BBQ Meatballs Recipe
5 from 68 ratings
The richness of the lentils and mushrooms with the smoky flavors of the barbecue sauce will make these meatballs a favorite at your next party.
Prep Time
20
minutes
Cook Time
56
minutes
Servings
6
Servings
meatballs on tray and plate
Total time: 1 hour, 16 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 cup green uncooked lentils
  • 2 teaspoons oil, divided
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 2 cups diced mushrooms
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • ⅔ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire
  • ¾ cup barbecue sauce, divided
  • ½ teaspoon liquid smoke
Optional Ingredients
  • chopped parsley
Directions
  1. Cook the lentils according to package instructions. Add 1 teaspoon of oil to a frying pan and bring the heat to medium. Drop in the onion and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the cooked lentils, onion, mushrooms, rice, oats, and parsley to a food processor. Pulse to break down the ingredients but keep the mixture chunky. Transfer to a bowl and add the garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, breadcrumbs, Worcestershire, ¼ cup barbecue sauce, and liquid smoke. Stir to combine.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  4. Form the mixture into 30 small meatballs. Heat up the remaining oil in the same frying pan at medium heat. Add as many meatballs as possible that will fit and cook for 3 minutes on each side then transfer to a baking dish with about ¼ cup of barbecue sauce spread on the bottom. Finish searing the remaining meatballs and add them to the baking dish. Brush the remaining barbecue sauce on the top of the meatballs.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes and serve. Add chopped parsley if desired.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 308
Total Fat 3.6 g
Saturated Fat 0.5 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 58.3 g
Dietary Fiber 6.2 g
Total Sugars 14.4 g
Sodium 506.1 mg
Protein 12.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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