Culinistas's Kitchen,  Recipes & Cooking

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

by The Culinistas

Not to rain on anyone’s parade but according to the calendar, we still have a few more weeks of winter before it’s officially spring. The good news? If you need a little sunshine in your skillet, these golden-brown meatballs soaking up our veg-forward tomato sauce (we see you, zucchini) will do the trick. It’s the perfect storm of flavor and nourishment.

Pro-tips: This is one instance where the lentils should be overcooked so that they can be mashed thoroughly and blended into the meat. Make sure to ring out any liquid from the shredded zucchini before adding it to the meatball mixture. This recipe is a great opportunity to get creative with herbs & spices that you may have on hand: Use cayenne or Urfa in the sauce or the meatball mixture for a little kick. 

Meatballs Marinara

Prep Time 20 mins 

Cook Time 40 mins  

Serves 4 

¼ cup black lentils

8 oz ground beef

1 egg

¾ cup onion, minced, divided

¾ cup zucchini, grated, divided

¼ cup olive oil, divided

1 tsp onion powder 

1 can (14.5 oz) crushed tomatoes

Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. In a small saucepan of boiling water, cook lentils until very soft, 30 mins. Strain & set aside to cool.

2. In a mixing bowl, mix cooked lentils, ground beef, egg, ½ cup onion & ½ cup zucchini; season with salt & pepper. Rub oil in the palms of your hands & shape into round 1 TB balls.

3. In a large pan, heat 2 TB oil & sear meatballs until golden brown, 3 mins per side. Transfer the meatballs to a large plate.

4. In the same pan over medium heat, add remaining 2 TB oil & sweat remaining ¼ cup onion & onion powder until translucent, 8-10 mins. Add remaining ¼ cup zucchini & cook until soft, 5 mins. Add crushed tomatoes & simmer, 10 mins. Return meatballs to the pan & season with salt to taste. Heat through & serve.


Onion powder is our secret weapon. Check out our eComm shop to purchase our favorite brand.