Balls for Days

Thanksgiving break has been going so amazingly thus far. I’m so grateful to have a full 10 days home. It’s been the perfect balance of relaxing and productive.

On Tuesday, my mom and I literally made an entire day of cooking up plant-based concoctions, and plenty of them. A vegan chef’s dream of a day.

One of my favorite sweet recipes we tried was Lemon Ginger Cashew Balls, snagged from Robot Heart Recipes. I found them to be the perfect combination of sweet, tangy and refreshing.

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Lemon Ginger Cashew Balls

(This recipe yields 10 balls, so we doubled it)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cashews
  • 10 medjool dates (soaked for about 30 min prior)
  • 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. In a food processor, grind the cashews. Transfer the cashews into a bowl.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in your food processor and process until the dates are in very small pieces.
  3. Add the cashew back into the mix and pulse until combined. Roll the mixture into 10 balls.
  4. Refrigerate. Eat.

These delicious balls were relatively simple to make, aside from the lemon zesting. It was my first time zesting a lemon and boy, did it use a little finger stamina. The smell and taste from the zesting were well worth it though. How I love lemons and lemony things!

Next on the list were balls of the savory sort, Lemon Pesto Lentil “Meatballs,” from Sprouted Kitchen. We actually had these little guys for dinner tonight, atop some fresh spinach. De-lic-ious.

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I think it’s safe to say these balls required a little hands on action.

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Lemon Pesto Lentil “Meatballs”

Makes 18 small meatballs–> we doubled this, as usual.

Lentil “Meatball” Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked lentils
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten (flax meal & water vegan sub)
  • 3/4 cup ricotta (OMITTED)
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan (OMITTED)
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seed, crushed
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
  • hefty pinch of dried or fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp each sea salt and pepper
  • 2/3 cup breadcrumbs (we used Nature’s Path Heritage Flakes cereal)

Lemon Pesto Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup packed basil leaves
  • 1/4-1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan (OMITTED)
  • 2 tbsp water to thin

Instructions:

  1. In a food processor, pulverize the lentils into mush. Put them into a large mixing bowl. Add the beaten eggs (thickened flax meal & water combo), ricotta (I omitted), parmesan (I omitted), garlic, fennel seed, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper and stir to mix well. Stir in breadcrumbs and sit (to thicken) for 20 minutes.
  2. For the pesto sauce, put the garlic, nuts, lemon zest and juice and salt in a food processor or blender and run until smooth.
  3. 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.
  4. Stir in parmesan (I omitted) and set aside. The sauce will stay fresh in the fridge for about 1 week.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll lentil mix into 1 inch balls between your palms. They should hold together fairly well. If they seem pretty wet and are falling apart, stir in another 1 tbsp of breadcrumbs until ball will stay together.
  6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and line the balls up on the baking sheet (they don’t need much space, as they won’t spread). If you like a bit more a crust, brush the balls with olive oil (I did!).
  7. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 15-20 minutes until the tops are golden brown, gently turning the balls over halfway through baking. Remove to cool slightly.

*I recommend serving these with your favorite grain, pasta, bed of greens or simply on their own with a nice drizzle of the decadent pesto sauce.

One of the best things about making all these yummy foods at home is that we never fail to make double or triple batches and I get to take some back to school with me! Yay for showing off my cool, yummy vegan food to my roomies and friends in Blacksburg!

Well I’m off to do more prepping for tomorrow’s food-filled festivities! The recipes never seem to end, but let’s be honest, I don’t mind at all. That just means more to blog about and share with you guys, right?!

I don’t know about you, but I’m stoked for Thanksgiving day tomorrow. So many fun traditions, so many delicious eats and even some new recipes for my house for this year! Don’t worry, I’ll be filling you in on it all, so be expecting a Thanksgiving post soon!

Before I go, I’ll leave you with this. I think the caption says it all. Gotta love snapchat.

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Have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

Chow [down], people.

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2 thoughts on “Balls for Days

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