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Curried Lentil Meatballs

Curried Lentil Meatballs

This Indian-Style Curried Lentil Meatballs recipe is a vegetarian meal that you can make for your family. Lentil “Meatballs” cooked in a homemade curry and tomato sauce and served over bulgur pilaf. If you are a fan of Indian curry dishes, this lentil meatballs curry recipe will be a favorite you will make over and over again. Vegetarian & Gluten-free
Course Vegetarian Main Dish
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 663kcal


For Lentil Meatballs

  • 1 1/2 cups French green lentils rinsed and picked over for stones
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 2 slices of white sandwich bread cut (or torn) into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup unsalted raw cashews
  • 1 clove of garlic peeled
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil for brushing

For the Curry Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 1/2 cup + 2 cups of water divided
  • 8 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1- inch knob of ginger peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cups of fresh cilantro chopped
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon garam marsala
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes

For the Yogurt Sauce

  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

To serve:

  • Bulgur Pilaf or brown rice or basmati rice
  • Fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime sliced


  • To make the lentil meatballs: Place the lentils and water in a large saucepan. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes. Once cooked, drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, mix the yogurt and milk in a bowl. Stir in the bread and mix. Let it soak for 5-10 minutes.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
  • Place the cashews, garlic, and cilantro in the bowl of a food processor. Process for 30-40 seconds. Add in the lentils, soaked bread, salt and pepper. Pulse until it turns into a coarse puree. You may have to scrape down the bowl a couple of times.
  • Roll 2 tablespoons of the lentil mixture into a ball. Arrange them on a baking sheet as they are rolled. Lightly brush each ball with olive oil. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until crusted and dark brown. Set aside to cool.
  • To make the sauce: Place the cumin and coriander seeds in a large heavy bottom pan and toast for 1 minute or until fragrant. Transfer into a spice grinder (or using a mortar or pestle) and process into a powder. Set aside.
  • Back in the pan, dry roast the onions while stirring regularly until they turn lightly browned or 7-8 minutes. Stir in 1/2 cup water. Transfer the now-cooked onions, garlic, ginger, cilantro, and salt to the bowl of a food processor (or a blender). Process until it is completely pureed or 45-50 seconds.
  • Heat olive oil in the pan over medium heat. Add in the onion puree and cook, stirring constantly, for 6-8 minutes or until browned. Add the cumin and coriander mixture, cinnamon stick, garam marsala, turmeric, cardamom pods, and cayenne pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir the tomatoes into the sauce and mix, scraping to bottom of the pan, until they are all incorporated. Stir in the remaining 2 cups of water. Let it come to a boil, turn down the heat to low and let it simmer. Cook uncovered until it is reduced, 20-30 minutes. Carefully drop in the lentil balls one by one. Gently shake so that they will sink in the sauce. Let them warm for 5-7 minutes.
  • Make the yogurt sauce by whisking together the yogurt, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and salt.
  • To serve: Place a cup of bulgur pilaf (or any other grain of your choice) on a plate. Place 3-4 lentil balls on top. Spoon some of the curry sauce over the lentil balls. Drizzle it with the garlic-yogurt sauce. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve with lime wedges.


  • The calorie information below does not include the calories coming from the bulgur pilaf. If you need that information, please check this bulgur pilaf recipe.


Serving: 4people | Calories: 663kcal | Carbohydrates: 86g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 1142mg | Potassium: 1454mg | Fiber: 32g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 535IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 281mg | Iron: 11mg