I’d like to find the equivalent of a steakhouse for vegetarian food. Instead of waxing rhapsodic about the restaurant’s aging room, servers would talk euphorically of gardens, soil, and the latest rainbow of produce pulled fresh from the earth. The “side dish” category would be completely rethought. Veggie- and legume-based dishes like these easy Lentil Meatballs would move from menu page 3 to the front-page nightly special.

Easy Vegetarian Lentil Meatballs - Simple, healthy, and protein packed! Made with cooked lentils, carrots, and lots of Italian spices, then oven baked. Perfect for filling meatless meals, and they taste great leftover too! {gluten free} Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

Although I’m not a vegan or vegetarian, I have a deep love and appreciation for vegetables. It’s easy for me to prepare them at home—you’ll find a big pan of simply roasted mushrooms, broccoli, or Brussels sprouts in our oven almost every night of the week—but when I go out, I’m often disappointed by how much of an afterthought the vegetables seem. Even when restaurants do have a decent selection of vegetables, they are usually deep fried, slathered in cream, or similarly disguised via butter and cheese.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that deep-fried Brussels sprouts or garlicky, buttery mushrooms are not delicious, but I am saying that vegetarian and vegan recipes can hold their own as the principle of a plate. Case in point: today’s lentil meatballs.

Baked Lentil Meatballs – Simple, healthy, delicious! A filling vegetarian recipe that’s perfect for meatless meals Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

Why I Love Lentils and These Meatballs

I’ve long been a lover of legumes, which, if we want to get scientific, include (per Wikipedia) “a plant or its fruit or seed in the family Leguminosae.” You might know them better as ingredients that include, among others, chickpeas, peanuts, and today’s superstar, lentils.

Lentils are fiber and protein powerhouses. While not technically a vegetable, they are an excellent resource in vegetarian and vegan cooking, because the lentils make vegetarian dishes extra hearty and satisfying, no meat required. They are also easy to make, budget friendly, and can be adapted to a wide range of cuisines and styles.

Today’s lentil meatballs are exactly the sort of dish I’d envision in my star vegetarian restaurant. They pack so much flavor and are so filling that your thought won’t be “Where’s the meat?” but rather “Can I have a second helping?”

Lentil Meatballs – a protein-packed vegetarian recipe! Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

Lentil Meatballs Flavor Secrets

To give the lentil meatballs lots of flavor, I cooked them in Simple Truth Vegetable Broth, which I purchased at Pick ‘n Save, my local Wisconsin grocery store. Simple Truth is Pick ‘n Save’s new line of minimally processed, affordable products, and I’ve enjoyed partnering with the store to create new recipes that highlight them, these meatballs included. In addition to the broth, I grabbed the rest of the recipe ingredients on this list, including the colorful rainbow of produce you’ll find both inside (and underneath!) the lentil meatballs.

Once the lentils are cooked, making these easy lentil meatballs is a simple matter of blending and baking. Everything goes into the food processor, then once the vegetarian meatballs are shaped, all that remains is to bake. Pan frying might be more traditional for meatballs, but I found the hands-off baking method to be just as effective, healthier, and so much easier too.

Easy Vegetarian Lentil Meatballs. A simple, healthy baked meatball recipe that’s perfect for meatless dinners. Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

How to Serve Lentil Meatballs

  • With Vegetable Noodles. I elected to serve these lentil meatballs on a bed of spiralized zucchini and sweet potatoes (I use this spiralizer attachment, which fits easily on my stand mixer).
  • With Pasta. If you aren’t watching your carbs, they’d be just as tasty over a bed of traditional pasta noodles.
  • With Both. If you aren’t ready to go all-veg in your noodle selection, a blend of half zucchini noodles, half pasta noodles is quite scrumptious too. That’s how Ben and my two younger sisters—none of whom are vegan and all of whom sampled and heartily approved of the lentil meatballs recipe—enjoyed them. We topped them with a simple tomato sauce and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Easy Vegetarian Lentil Meatballs. Try them with pasta noodles, inside a sub for a sandwich, or with spiralized veggie noodles too! Recipe calls for carrots, but you can also use mushroom or any other vegetable you love. Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

Easy Vegetarian Lentil Meatballs - Simple, healthy and protein packed! Made with cooked lentils, carrots, and lots of Italian spices, then oven baked. Perfect for filling meatless meals, and they taste great leftover too! Recipe at wellplated.com | @wellplated

Lentil Meatballs

4.93 from 27 votes
Easy baked Vegetarian Lentil Meatballs—Simple, healthy, gluten free, and protein packed! Perfect for a simple, filling meatless meal.

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 55 mins

Servings: 18 (1 1/2 inch) meatballs, 6 servings


For the meatballs:

  • 3/4 cup dried green brown, or French lentils (I used green French lentils)
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth or chicken broth, plus additional as needed
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow onion about 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 2 cloves garlic minced (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats or quick-cooking oats, do not use instant or steel cut
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 large egg


  • Prepared whole wheat pasta noodles zucchini noodles, or sweet potato noodles
  • Good-quality red pasta sauce store bought or homemade or pesto


  • Rinse the lentils: Measure the lentils into a colander or strainer. Pick over and remove any shriveled lentils or small pieces of rock or other debris. Rinse well under cool water. Drain.
  • Cook the lentils: Add the rinsed lentils to a medium saucepan with the vegetable broth. Bring to a rapid simmer over medium high, then reduce the heat to a very low simmer. There should be a few small bubbles, and the lentils should be barely moving. Let gently simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until the lentils are tender. Keep an eye on them to ensure they do not dry out—you want the lentils to always be just barely covered with liquid. If the lentils are not yet tender but the liquid has been has been absorbed, add more water and continue to cook. Drain off any excess liquid and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Once hot, add the onion and cook until onion is translucent and lightly brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the carrots and cook for another 2 minutes, then stir in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 additional minute.
  • Place the oats and parsley in the bottom of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, then pulse a few times to begin breaking up the oats. Add the cooked lentils, onion mixture, tomato paste, oregano, salt, and pepper. Pulse a few times to start combining the mixture, then crack in the egg. Pulse a few more times until the mixture is combined but the lentils still have some texture. Set aside and let rest for 10 minutes or refrigerate overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, then coat the paper with nonstick spray. Roll the lentil mixture into balls that are roughly 1 1/2 inches across, about the size of a golf ball. Arrange them in a single layer on the baking sheet and mist the tops with nonstick spray. Cook for 10 minutes, then turn, mist again with nonstick spray, and continue baking 8 to 10 additional minutes, until the meatballs are browned and lightly crisp. Serve warm with pasta or vegetable noodles and your desired sauce.


  • To make this recipe vegan, you can use a flax egg in place of the egg called for in the recipe.
  • Make-ahead options: Unshaped lentil "batter" or shaped, unbaked lentil balls can be stored in the refrigerator 1 day in advance. Bake (or shape and bake) as directed. You can also freeze the shaped balls unbaked or baked for 2 months, then thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Either cook as directed (if unbaked) or rewarm gently in the microwave (if baked).
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat gently in the microwave.


Serving: 3meatballs, without noodles or other toppingsCalories: 112kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 7gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 31mgSodium: 160mgFiber: 6gSugar: 2g

Join today and start saving your favorite recipes

Create an account to easily save your favorite projects and tutorials.


I am sharing this post in partnership with Pick ‘n Save. As always, all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands and companies that make it possible for me to continue to create quality content for you!

Did you try this recipe?

I want to see!

Follow @wellplated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

Share this Article


This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

You May Also Like

Free Email Series
5 Secrets for Cooking Tasty and Healthy
My secrets for making wholesome meals you'll WANT to eat.

Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

Learn more about Erin

Leave a Comment

Did you make this recipe?

Don't forget to leave a review!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


Leave a comment

  1. So tasty! I love the flavor! I think it tastes better than eating meat, and I love how many veggies are in them.5 stars

    1. Hi Anna, the recipe actually is gluten free. Certified gluten-free oats can be used if cross-contamination is a concern, but if your dietary restrictions include oats as well, you could certainly experiment with another flour.

  2. This recipe is awesome. I just started a gluten free, low sugar and dairy free diet due to some health issues. I was worried I would have to sacrifice flavor. I was also concerned about foods being easy to meal prep. This works for everything. I didn’t have a food processor so I made the lentils in my instant pot and then mashed everything together. I love the flavor!! I warmed mine back up using the low broil setting on my oven for a bit crispier texture. Thank you so much for this recipe ?

  3. Made these tonight (on a Well Plated kick lately), and they were awesome! I doubled the recipe to have lots of extra to freeze. Except that the double recipe was almost gone by the end of the dinner! I’d like to swap these for some of the meatball curry dishes I make (maybe sub the parsley for cilantro, and sub the oregano for curry spices). Can’t wait to make these again, and maybe triple the recipe.5 stars

  4. I made these vegan style using a egg replacer. They were very sticky and hard to shape the meatballs. I put them overnight no my spaghetti sauce and used whole wheat noodles. Ate for lunch today and they are delicious! Was sceptical but glad I tried the recipe.4 stars

    1. Hi Nina! I haven’t tried it this way, but they should be fine for a few hours in the refrigerator. I hope you love the recipe!

  5. This is a super recipe and I’ve made it quite a few times now. I just want to offer one more suggestion for serving. I put them on top of African Peanut Stew (Cookie and Kate recipe). So delicious!5 stars

  6. The pop up ads and videos on your pages are so annoying!! Each time I closed one a other popped up.
    So sad…. I love your food but this is just awful

    1. Amanda, that sounds like a serious issue! Were you able to close the ad? I have been having some technical issues where the ad covers the whole video and can’t be closed, and I’ve been trying to get those ads blocked. I’m sorry it’s been frustrating. I do depend on ads to keep my content free, but they should never block you from seeing a recipe.

  7. Hi, I cannot tolerate tomatoes. Can I leave out the tomato paste or replace it with something else please?

    1. Hi Chrissy! While I’ve never tried the swap myself, another reader has reported success with using hoisin instead. If you decide to experiment with it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  8. I was skeptical at first…but once I tried them, they were AMAZING. The tomato paste is absolutely key to making this the best it possibly can be. Also after I initially cooked it in the oven, whenever I wanted to eat some I would put some in my air fryer so they would get extra crispy and they were phenomenal. Excellent recipe :)5 stars

  9. Made these tonight. Put three on my plate, so good. Then just spent the last 10 minutes shoving three more while standing over the oven. Honestly – how good can lentil meatballs actually be?

    Flipping amazing. So good.5 stars

  10. SO DELICIOUS! These lentil meatballs were savory and filling. They also held together great when baking. I served them with veggie curry and basmati rice and it was a hit!5 stars

  11. Can’t wait to try this recipe. Looks so delicious. I have this lentil in my pantry and didn’t know how to use it. I will definitely try this recipe soon.

  12. This came out so good, I’m going to be attempting a ‘meatloaf’ using the same recipe! I didnt have a food processor, so I used a blender to break up the oats and mashed the rest together with a potato masher. I also used canned lentils to make the cooking process super quick.5 stars

Load More Comments