Lentil Masala

Lentil ‘Meatballs’ with Garam Masala


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

WHOLE: Bowl Food for Balance


By Melissa Delport

Published 2018

  • About

Learning how to make these meatballs will come in handy because they’re also great as an afternoon snack if you keep them in the fridge.

They’re like little balls of protein so will give you energy at any time of the day.


Lentil Meatballs

  • 1 cup uncooked brown lentils
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 6 fresh basil leaves
  • tablespoons tomato paste
  • 6 tablespoons finely grated parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 large egg

Masala Paste

  • 1 brown onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 cm piece fresh ginger
  • tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 red or green chilli
  • ½ tablespoon turmeric
  • ½ tablespoon ground cumin
  • ½ tablespoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 1 handful fresh coriander, chopped
  • 40 grams raw almonds
  • juice of ½ lemon


  • cups tomato passata
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 400 millilitres coconut milk
  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice


In a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, add the lentils and stock. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for about 30 minutes until softened. If the liquid runs low, top it up with hot water. If there’s any excess liquid once the lentils are cooked, drain and set the lentils aside.

Meanwhile, in a large frying pan over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil. Add the onion and fry until translucent. Add the carrots and garlic and fry for another 2 minutes, then set aside.

Place the oats, parsley and basil in a food processor and pulse a few times until the oats have broken up. Add the lentils, onion mixture, tomato paste, Parmesan and oregano to the processor and season to taste. Pulse a few times until the mixture has just combined. Add the egg to the mixture or you can use a flaxseed egg (1 tablespoon flaxseed meal and tablespoons water). Pulse further until the mixture has just combined. You do not want to pulse until smooth, keep it a bit chunky. Set aside in the fridge for 30 minutes or overnight until the mixture has set.

Preheat the oven to 180 °C.

Line a large roasting tray with baking paper. Using a tablespoon, portion out the lentil mix and roll into balls in the palm of your hand. Arrange them into rows and pop them into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, turning them at the halfway point.

Meanwhile, place all the ingredients for the masala paste into a food processor and blend until smooth. In a deep frying pan over medium heat, add the masala paste and the remaining 1 tablespoon coconut oil. Fry for 2 minutes to release the flavours.

Add the tomato passata and stock to the masala paste and simmer for about 10 minutes until the colour starts to deepen. Add the coconut milk and simmer for another 15 minutes. Remember the longer you simmer for, the better the flavour. Season to taste.

Cook the rice as per packet instructions or refer.

This is a dish that has taken time. It is a dish that you have put a lot of love and care into. Acknowledge yourself for that and thank yourself for creating this nourishing meal. Build your bowl with your rice and meatballs and top with your delicious garam masala sauce.