red lentil meatballs are a delicious plant-based recipe for beginning eaters and the whole family.

Red Lentil Meatballs

All of our families love these meatballs! Make a few for baby and serve the rest family style in a greek salad with chopped lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, feta (if desired), and a tahini dressing.

Shape these for whatever is best for baby, either in small balls or a finger-like shape. They can also be made into burgers for adult-size portions. We call for making your own oat flour to help bind them together, though regular bread crumbs will also work. You’ll just want to add enough where the mixture can be pinched off and not crumble. Since it’s OK for baby to have fat, we are frying these meatballs instead of baking them. However, if you prefer to bake the meatballs, place them on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet and cook for 25 minutes at 350 degrees F, flipping once.  

Course Main Course
Cuisine Vegan
Keyword baby food, baby led weaning, lentils, meatballs, vegan, vegetarian meatballs
Servings 25 meatballs
Calories 58 kcal
Author Jessica Levinson


  • 1/2 cup red lentils
  • 1/2 cup uncooked bulgur wheat or uncooked white rice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 tablespoons finely sliced scallions
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup rolled oats


  1. Rinse and drain lentils; place lentils and rice/bulgur in a large saucepan and cover with water by at least 4 inches above lentil mixture. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low, simmering for 15-20 minutes or until lentils and rice are tender. Drain. 

  2. Place lentil mixture in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped, set aside. 

  3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the scallions and cook until just softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add in the turmeric, curry powder, tomato paste and cook an additional minute, stirring frequently. 

  4. Add the scallion mixture to the food processor along with the lemon juice and cilantro; process until combined keeping a little texture. Wipe out the skillet for later use. 

  5. Place the mixture in a large bowl and add the oats to the food processor. Process until a fine oat flour/powder is created; it’s OK if it has a little texture. 

  6. Slowly add the oat flour to the red lentil mixture, 1/4 cup at a time, until the mixture easily holds together when pinched with your finger. Depending on the softness of the grains, you might not need all the oats.

  7. Shape the mixture into small patties, about 1 tablespoon or so for a baby portion. Heat the remaining olive oil in the reserved skillet over medium-high heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until lightly browned. 

Recipe Notes

Per meatball: 58 calories, 2g fat, 0.3g saturated fat, 1.4g unsaturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 35mg sodium, 8g carbohydrates, 1.5g fiber, 2g protein. RDA: Iron: 5%, Zinc: 11%, Omega-3 (ALA): 6%

Family Friendly Feeding Tip: Add in 1/2-3/4  teaspoon salt to the food processor. Shape into 1/2-inch thick patties and either bake or fry. Serve with your favorite toppings! Will make ~6 patties.

Recipe and photos courtesy of Whitney English Tabaie MS, RDN and Alexandra Caspero MA, RDN