Lentil Meatball Subs

Lentil Meatball Subs


Lentils are known for being a good source of protein, increasing energy, helping with digestion, maintaining good cholesterol, and so many other important dietary needs. So, of course, these inciting benefits make me want to cram as much lentil’s into my diet as possible. Although I enjoy a big bowl of Lentil soup now and then, my palette often longs for some variety. So I’m on a new hunt to conquer more lentil recipes without taking the easy way out and making soup. This recipe was my first attempt on this new journey. And damn – it is delicious!

I made a sub out of these with delicious meatballs but I don’t plan on stopping there. With the leftovers there are talks of spaghetti and ‘meatballs’ or ‘mostacholi’ bakes. Also, I cannot wait to make these again in appetizer form and serve them on cute little sticks with a Sweet Pepper Aoili or a cilantro dipping sauce. The options are endless with these little balls!

These do take a little time because there are several rounds of cooling processes but it’s totally worth it. And these freeze super well! The recipe below easily feeds 4-6 so if there are only 2 of you then I’d suggest freezing the rest for an easy spaghetti weeknight meal.


 Lentil Meatball Subs


Lentil Meatball Subs

Adapted from The New York Time’s Wellness Blog

For the meatballs:

  • 2 cups lentils
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 8 ounces button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs


For the subs:

  • Tomato Sauce (I used my homemade sauce)
  • Baguette
  • Gouda Cheese (fresh mozzarella would be wonderful too)
  • Fresh basil or oregano, for garnish


Place the lentils in a saucepan with 8 cups of water. Let the water come to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the lentils are soft but not falling apart. Remove from heat and drain. Let cool.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and let cook for about ten minutes (or until they begin to brown). Next, add in the garlic, thyme, and a little bit of salt. Let cook for another minutes. Add tomato paste and stir for three minutes. Then add in the mushroom and continue to cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat and let cool.

Combine the cooled lentils with the cooked vegetable and add the Parmesan, eggs, and breadcrumbs. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a 13×9 inch pan. Using clean hands, roll the mixture into golf ball size (smaller if you want to use them as appetizers) balls and place on greased baking sheet. Continue with the rest of the batter.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the meatballs start to brown on top.

To assemble: Take two pieces of baguette and slice them down the middle (but leave a little piece at the bottom still attached). Press the baguette open and stick slices of Gouda on each bottom followed by meatballs and sauce. Stick under the broiler for a minute or until the cheese has melted. Top with fresh basil or oregano and server fresh!

I served mine with Parmesan Thyme Sweet Potatoes and it was fantastic!




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  • abby
    May 15, 2013

    Stupid question…is tHis 2 cups cooked lentils or 2 cups prior to being cooked?

    • Shellywest
      May 15, 2013

      Not a stupid question at all! This recipe uses two cups lentils PRIOR to being cooked.

      Hope that helps! Let me know how the recipe turns out for you!

      • Abby
        May 16, 2013

        They were delicious! I am the only one in my family that doesn’t eat meat. I made my family meatball subs and I made these for myself. I froze some to enjoy later. Thanks for the recipe!

        • Shellywest
          May 16, 2013

          Yay! So glad to hear it, Abby! I froze these as well when I made them and used them later for spaghetti and “meatballs” – also super delicious!

  • andrea christiansen
    July 23, 2013

    Could I make these ahead of time and refrigerate over night to just pop in the oven after dinner?
    Thank you

    • andrea christiansen
      andrea christiansen
      July 23, 2013

      I mean after work 🙂

      • Shellywest
        andrea christiansen
        July 23, 2013

        Yes – you certainly can! I’d recommend doing everything up until the middle of the third paragraph. Combine the veggies and the lentils and refrigerate in an airtight container until you get home the next time (wait to add the breadcrumb / parmesan / eggs so that the breadcrumbs don’t get soggy and the eggs stay fresh).

        Hope that helps! Enjoy, Andrea!

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