Red Wine Marinara with Blackened Zucchini and Lentil Meatballs

I decided yesterday to try making lentil meatballs. I had never even heard of them until I read about them online, completely randomly, on the CSL boards and thought, “That sounds delicious!” Mr. Beagle and I really enjoy pasta dinners. We cook up lots of veggies and doctor up our favorite sauces and then sit down with a bottle of red wine. It’s kind of routine. And I love it. So I thought I’d add something new to the mix since Mr. Beagle indulges me by not forcing me to eat separate meatless dinners.

He made a crinkled up face when I first told him what I was making but ended up being a good sport and trying them. Although I don’t think he was a fan of the texture, he ate two saying that they had a really great flavor (thank you very much).
For you vegans/vegetarians out there, these are a really filling substitute. And they have an amazing flavor. I couldn’t stop eating the lentil mash before I cooked them. You could even make crumbles out of it if you’d rather and cook it in the marinara for a meat sauce. Oh the possibilities…

For Lentil Meatballs
3/4 c. dry lentils
1/2 onion diced
2 tsp old bay blackening seasonings
1 tbs garlic
1 tbs Italian seasonings (basil, parsley, oregano)
1 tsp celery seed
1 piece of wheat bread
2 tbs italian dressing
olive oil for sauteing
dash of liquid smoke
1/2 c. Bread crumbs

1. In a medium pot, boil lentils in water for 40 minutes or until mushy and tender (they will soak up most the water but drain any remaining)
2. Saute onions with olive oil and blackening seasonings in a small pan until clear and tender. Add garlic and saute 1 minute
3. Pour dressing over slice of bread to soak, and set aside
4. Mash the lentils, onion mix, liquid smoke, italian seasonings, blackening seasonings, 1/4 c. bread crumbs, and slice of bread together with a fork in a small bowl. If it is too wet to form and hold balls, add some bread crumbs, if it’s too dry add some water or veggie stock.
5. Form the mixture into 2 inch balls and roll each one in breadcrumbs
6. Saute each ball over medium heat in olive oil until browned.

For pasta
2 servings pasta (we chose spinach florentine)
1 lg zucchini
1/2 onion diced
pasta sauce
red wine

1. Salt water and bring to a boil (do not add oil or your sauce won’t stick!)
3. Boil pasta for about 7 minutes until al dente, drain
4. Slice zucchini into thin dollars
5. Saute zucchini with onions, garlic, and blackening spices until tender
6. Add a few tablespoons red wine and marinara
7. Turn the heat to low and allow it to simmer for about 5 minutes

Yesterday was day 1 of my Hot for Grand Cayman plan and I did a really great job. I had that pink pom smoothie for brunch, some uncooked oatmeal, cinnamon, pb, soymilk snack (pretty much breakfast balls but I didn’t wait for them to chill) in the afternoon and then this meal for dinner. I also ran 2 miles and did a bit of yoga. Thanks for all the support in the comments. I had a few people ask for more details about what I’m going to be doing to get in shape so we can all do it together. So here is what I’m planning. I know it won’t work for everyone but for me it’s a pretty good plan.

Diet:
Raw before dinner
Unlimited juices and smoothies
Green juice shots (mix green superfood powder in 2 oz. water and drink like a shooter)
Moderate coffee and diet soda
If cooked, it should be some sort of whole grain or soup
Dinners are the big meal and should be well balanced with veggies.
Extremely limited dairy intake
Water

Exercise:
Running at least 1 mile 5 days
Wii fit or yoga on days with less than 2 miles
Crunches, lunges, and pushups after running

PS. I also updated the cookbook with all the most recent recipes so you should be able to find everything there again. xoxo

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