Persian Herby Vegetable Meatballs

With the sticky arborio rice, you’ll want to work the mixture a bit more firmly than other meatballs.

Makes about 24 meatballs

¾ cup arborio rice, soaked 2 hours in cold water
½ cup small yellow lentils
¼ cup chopped walnuts
3 Tbsp. whole barberries
1 Tbsp. each chopped cilantro, parsley, dill, and chives
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. paprika
¼ tsp. crushed saffron threads
¼ tsp. black pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 recipe Sweet & Sour Tomato Sauce
Orange zest and fresh mint for garnish

Put lentils in a saucepan with water to cover. Cook until al dente, about 45 minutes. Rinse and drain. Place rice in a saucepan and cover with ½ inch of water. Cook over medium heat until water is absorbed and rice is tender, about 6 minutes.

In a bowl, combine lentils, rice, barberries, walnuts, herbs, spices, and eggs. Knead with a spatula until the mixture holds together. Use wet hands to form balls. Bring Sweet & Sour Tomato Sauce to a boil; reduce heat, add veggie balls, and gently simmer until balls are cooked but intact, about 20 minutes. Serve meatballs in sauce with garnishes.

Julie is passionate about delicious, healthy food. In her career as an acclaimed Cincinnati restaurateur/chef of Aioli and Nectar, she promoted seasonal and local sourcing before it became popular. She was honored to be invited to cook at The James Beard House with other esteemed Cincinnati chefs in 2014. She began Nectar Personal Chef to provide delicious, healthy food for customers in their homes.