“Good to go, good to come home.”
This was one of my father-in-law’s favorite aphorisms, one he would say after doling out bear hugs whenever we’d return from a trip. Though Papa Burt is no longer with us, my husband and I often find ourselves quoting him, with a wink and a smile.
In the car on our way back from our holiday safari, I thought about coming home. We had spent the day at the San Diego Safari Park, feeding a rhino, petting giraffes, cuddling an armadillo and watching wildebeests mate. It was as up close and personal as we had ever come to these beautiful creatures…less than two hours from the city.
As we drove back to our concrete jungle, past sprawling malls and office parks, I wanted to bring the animals and their peaceful world back with me. I promised to shelter my family from our over-programmed, overloaded existence. I vowed to live more purposefully and purely.
Tall resolutions for the New Year, to be sure. But for me, the kitchen’s always the place to start. So when it came to dinner last week, I opted for something simple, vegan, and made-in-nature.
This recipe came together in ten minutes with the cooked lentils I had in the fridge. I served the “meatballs” alongside a bowl of kamut pasta with Broccoli Pesto, though they would certainly suit a Vegan Pink Sauce, too. Add a teaspoon of curry and chili powders and serve with basmati rice. Yesterday I enjoyed the leftovers over lovely baby greens.
My simple, nature-made meal went over better than I anticipated. It was good to venture into the wilderness, and good to come home with a fresh perspective (and appetite). Maybe there’s hope for my New Year’s resolutions after all.
Makes approx. 24 1-inch balls, 4-6 servings
2 tablespoons organic coconut oil (Trader Joe’s is my favorite), divided
½ cup diced onion (about ½ onion)
3 large shiitake mushrooms or a handful of cremini (about 3 ounces), diced (about 1 cup)
½ teaspoon Just Like Bouillon Mushroom Base (optional)
1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups cooked red lentils (I cook the lentils like pasta in boiling salted water until they are soft but still have their shape, then drain and air-dry them)
- In a medium sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and add the onion and mushrooms. Cook until browned, about 5 minutes, seasoning with the Mushroom Base, herbs, salt and pepper.
- Transfer the mushroom-onion mixture to a medium bowl and stir in the cooked lentils. Taste and adjust the seasoning as desired. The mixture will be soft and sticky.
- Heat a baking sheet inside a 375˚F oven or toaster oven. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the baking sheet and swirl to coat. Carefully drop small (1-inch) balls of the lentil mixture onto the pan and bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the balls halfway, until browned evenly. Serve warm, with pasta and sauce or rice.
Photo credit: Tasty Kitchen, Eat Live Luv
What are you hungry for in the New Year? Are there any new dishes you would like to make? Write to me with your requests, suggestions, or cravings!
Don’t forget to enter the January Giveaway for a chance to win a Mepra “eco-ceramic” omelet pan. I know you will love it!Disclaimer: This post may contain totally benign and well-intentioned affiliate links. All content is unsponsored, uncensored, and undeniably honest.