Lentil Quinoa Chickpea Balls

A habit I’ve found really helpful is to batch cook various items to have on hand. In particular, I really like to have healthy fibre and protein-rich foods such as lentils, quinoa, beans, etc.

I recently had cooked lentils and quinoa, plus I had canned chickpeas at the ready, and I was inspired to create a versatile “ball” that could be enjoyed as a “meatball” with pasta or like a falafel in a wrap. The latter proved very popular as I made a variety of wraps for my son and his girlfriend when we enjoyed our “physical distance” Christmas celebration. I sent them home with containers of wraps for them to eat on their way back to Toronto. Not exactly the leisurely dinner-at-the-table we usually have, but we still managed to safely enjoy some outdoor time together, and I got my “mom fix” of sending them home with piles of food! You know you’re onto something good when Dan immediately requests the recipe – it’s a win!

I used my air fryer (have I mentioned how much I love my air fryer?), so I was able to create a low oil, yet crispy, “meatball”; however, I imagine they would cook quite nicely in a conventional oven. Robb’s suggestion would be to experiment with lightly pan frying in oil, which we may do next time. They are quite versatile!

A few notes: I used a store-bought pesto; however, you could likely swap that out for Italian seasonings or other spices as you wish. I used flax “egg” to act as a binder which worked really well. You could always use a conventional egg or experiment with chia “egg” and likely get the same binding effect. I made one batch with gluten-free oats and one batch without. I would definitely recommend using the oats – they held together better.

One batch for us made 16 balls, and was great in both pasta and wraps. They would also be a nice addition to a salad or Buddha bowl. These freeze well, and they can be readily thawed and re-heated to be used as you wish. The picture above shows how we enjoyed them with a Marinara sauce over pasta – so good! If you try them, I hope you enjoy!

Lentil, Quinoa, Chickpea Balls

1 cup cooked green lentils
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 can chickpeas – drained and rinsed
1 flax “egg” = 1 tablespoon ground flax + 2 1/2 tablespoons water – let sit for a few minutes
1/4 cup oats
1 – 2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 onion, chopped = 2/3 cup raw = 1/3 cup sautéed
1/4 cup pesto
1 teaspoon oil
Optional oil to lightly spray balls

Prepare the lentils and quinoa with desired method. I used my Instant Pot. This is my “go to” method for lentils, 
and quinoa.
Warm 1 teaspoon of oil in saucepan and sauté onion until softened and translucent.
Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until well incorporated. Roll into balls. One batch made 16 balls for us.
Place balls on parchment-lined baking tray. You may wish to lightly spray with oil. I used my air fryer at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, and they were lightly golden in colour as seen in the photo. If using a conventional oven, I would suggest 425 degrees and increasing time to 25 – 30 minutes. Another option (the one Robb wants to try) is to pan fry using a few tablespoons of oil until lightly browned..
Use in pasta, wraps, salad, bowls,….so many options!