Lentils are one of the oldest Pulse crops in history. The four main types of pulse corps are dry peas, lentil, dry bean and chickpea. It has been known that they have originated in the Middle East and believe to be the first legume ever cultivated. Lentils are high in protein and fiber and are also low in fat. They are also rich in a number of vitamins and minerals. Lentils are a heart-healthy choice.
There are four main varieties of lentils, brown, green, red and yellow. They are a good choice to use. Other reasons are, they do not take long to cook, like beans. They can be added to veggie burgers, soups, warm and cold salads, casseroles or stews. I have even created a great recipe in the past, using them in a nice tapenade, which is a Mediterranean spread/dip dish.
Lentil soup is a very popular dish. It is made several different ways. One way I enjoy it is with Italian sausage. When making this recipe, I thought it would be a nice twist to make mini meatballs, to serve inside the soup. Usually, I just saute the sausage, dice it and add to soup. This new version was definitely a big hit with the family. Besides, who doesn’t love meatballs? Adding lentils to the meatball mixture is an optional choice.
If you prefer, instead of sauteing the meatballs, you can also drop the meatballs into the boiling water, while boiling the ham for the broth. They do not take long to cook, so make sure to keep an eye on them. How do you prefer your lentils?
[Gluten Free Recipe] Lentil Soup with Italian Sausage Meatballs
- Ham bone with meat
- 12 cups water
- 2 bay leaves, large
- 16 ozs dry lentil beans, I used baby lentils. (reserve 1/4 cup cooked lentil, add to meatball mixture)
- 3 TBS chicken broth base (condensed broth sold in soup section)
- 2 cups celery, diced
- 2 cups sweet onion, chopped
- 1 cup grape tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup Romano cheese
- 1/3 cup fresh parsely, chopped
- Add ham bone, water and bay leaves to large stock pot. Boil on med/low heat for 1 hour.
- Add lentils, broth, celery, onion, tomatoes and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for additional 1 hour, stir every 15 mins. Add cheese and parsley to pot before serving. Pick ham meat from bones and add to soup.
Italian Sausage Meatball
- 1 lb Hot Italian Sausage, casings removed
- 4 slices Three Bakers Great Seed Bread, soaked in water, then squeeze excess water
- 1 egg
- 2 TBS Romano Cheese
- 2 TBS parsley, fresh, chopped fine
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup cooked lentil, drained (optional)
- Add all ingredients to a small mixing bowl. Mix well.
- With small cookie scoop drop mini meatballs onto plate or wax paper.
- Wet hands and mold each meatball into little balls.
- Fry in oil to brown on all sides.
Makes 26-30 mini meatballs
Grilled Cheese Bites
- 6 slices Three Bakers Great Seed Bread
- 6 tsp mayo or softened butter
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Heat medium size skillet on med/low.
- Spread 1 tsp mayo on one side of each slice of bread
- Place 3 slices (mayo side down) into skillet
- Sprinkle 1/3 of cheese onto each slice
- Top cheese with remaining slices (mayo side up)
- Grill until brown, approx. 2-3 mins. Flip and brown other side.