Lentil Mushroom Walnut Balls with Cranberry-Pear Sauce

237 comments

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This was supposed to be today’s post:

IMG 0769   Lentil Mushroom Walnut Balls with Cranberry Pear Sauce

The pie had other plans.

Easy as pie?

I really wanted to be mad when I opened the oven door, but I couldn’t stop laughing. Yesterday, was one of those days and I wasn’t surprised in the least. Why wouldn’t the pie explode?

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Murphy’s Law – when you forget to put oven liners in a new oven, the sticky pie will erupt like a volcano! Luckily, it came off easily after the sugars cooled. I used the oven scraper tool like a champ. As for the pie dish, I think it will need to soak in acid for 6 years. No big deal.

Obviously, I had to Instagram this pie fail. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that other people love to laugh at fails on the internet. I know I do. Speaking of which, I clicked on the #piefail hashtag and laughed so hard I almost cried. Did you know pumpkin and apple pies can explode? I’m really happy to contribute to the collection. I’ll be checking in with it throughout pie season!

Anyway, tomorrow we leave on a much appreciated getaway and I really didn’t want to end on an epic pie fail, so I was up late last night and at it again all morning and afternoon until I nailed this lentil mushroom ball recipe. Who needs pie when you have this festive dish?

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These lentil balls couldn’t be more festive. They are packed with green lentils, cremini mushrooms, toasted walnuts, dried cranberries, rosemary, oregano, thyme, and kale! Oh MY.

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Oh, and a tablespoon of sherry vinegar takes it over the top on the delicious scale. If you haven’t cooked with sherry vinegar before, I beg you to try some! It goes so well with anything mushroom. BFFs forever.

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I thought a fresh cranberry + pear sauce would go nicely too. The light sweetness of the sauce is a lovely compliment to the earthiness of the lentil mushroom balls. If cranberry sauce isn’t your thing, I suggest pairing it with my mushroom gravy. I haven’t tried this pairing yet, but I suspect it would be a nice option! Now all we need is a little holiday music pumping from the speakers and some Home Alone on the TV…

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Lentil Mushroom Walnut Balls with Cranberry-Pear Sauce

Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free

By

5 from 13 reviews
print icon   Lentil Mushroom Walnut Balls with Cranberry Pear Sauce

These lentil mushroom balls are festive, filling, and a great vegan protein option for your holiday feast! I paired it with a lightly sweet cranberry-pear sauce, but if you aren't a cranberry fan my vegan gravy would be a nice option too. You can most likely prepare the lentil balls in advance. Just shape the balls and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for no longer than 12-24 hours, bring to room temperature, and then bake as usual (of course, remove plastic wrap first). The cranberry sauce can be made a couple days in advance as well. I don't suggest skipping the sherry vinegar; it really makes this lentil mixture come to life and it pairs so well with the mushrooms. Lastly, it's important to (very) finely chop all the vegetables and walnuts so everything sticks together.

Yield
13-14 balls
Prep Time
Cook time
Total Time

Ingredients:

for the lentil balls:
  • 1/2 cup uncooked green lentils
  • 1 cup walnuts halves, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 heaping cups finely chopped cremini mushrooms (one 8-oz package)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup finely chopped destemmed kale leaves
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (or 1/4 tsp dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax + 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free rolled oats, ground into a coarse flour
  • 1/2-3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
for the cranberry sauce:
  • 2 cups frozen or fresh cranberries
  • 1 ripe pear, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • small pinch fine grain sea salt

Directions:

  1. Add lentils into a medium pot along with 2 and 1/4 cups water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium. Simmer for about 20 minutes, uncovered, adding more water if the lentils dry out. Once the lentils are fork tender, remove from heat and mash with a potato masher until it's a coarse paste with some lentil pieces still intact. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325F. Toast the chopped walnuts for 9-12 minutes, until lightly golden and fragrant. After toasting, increase oven temp to 350F.
  3. In a very large skillet or wok, add the oil along with the finely chopped mushrooms and garlic. Season with salt. Saute over medium-high heat for about 7-9 minutes, until most of the water cooks off. Now add the kale, toasted walnuts, cranberries, herbs, and sherry vinegar. Stir until combined and continue cooking for another few minutes until the kale is wilted. Remove from heat and stir in the mashed lentils when ready.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the ground flax and water. Stir for 10 seconds and then immediately pour into the skillet mixture. Stir to combine. Now stir in the 1/2 cup oat flour until combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. The mixture should be fairly moist and sticky. If it's way too sticky, add a bit more oat flour. If it's dry, add another tbsp of water.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Shape lentil mixture into balls and pack tightly with your hands so they hold together. Place on baking sheet an inch or so apart. Repeat for the rest. If the mixture is too hot to handle, let it cool for a bit first and then proceed.
  6. Bake the lentil balls at 350F for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, gently flip over, and bake for another 11-13 minutes, until golden and firm on the exterior.
  7. For the sauce: Add the cranberries, pear, and maple syrup into a medium pot. Bring to a low boil over high heat and then reduce heat to medium. Simmer, uncovered, for 10-20 minutes until thickened. Use a potato masher to mash up the pear.

Notes: 1) If your mixture seems dry (and this could be the case if the lentils are cooked too long), feel free to add a touch of water to moisten the mixture enough so it adheres. 2) To make oat flour, add the rolled oats into a blender and blend on high until a flour forms. Alternatively, you can use 1/2 cup oat flour if you already have some on hand.

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I look forward to thawing the leftovers when I return. :)

I’ll see you next time from sunny Arizona! In the meantime, you can follow our adventures (and pie fails) on Instagram, as always.

Enjoy!

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{ 237 comments… read them below or add one }

Averie @ Averie Cooks November 13, 2013

Girl. The oven cleanup. Omg I am so sorry! I know that had to have sucked and must have taken forever to get it off. Sticky, caramelized, chunks of fruit, gah! It’s like when you drop sprinkles all over the floor or break a glass, but worse. Been there and sorry that was your day, your post, and your delish pie all over your oven!

Awesome recovery though! This meal looks awesome. I have a cranberry post tomorrow. Love em!

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g August 23, 2014

If I use water for the sauté instead of oil, will that work? I know I will need more than 2 tsp but I am wondering if everything will still taste good and hold together if I don’t use the oil. Thanks!

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Andrea November 13, 2013

Oh my goodness! I am sorry to hear your pie ended in a sad tragic death. LOL.

These lentil balls look delish! I made your other meatless “meatballs” and they were awesome! I had them with spaghetti squash which was might first time trying it. All I have to say is spaghetti squash is so freakin cool! Where have you been all my life? Yummy :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 13, 2013

Glad you enjoyed them Andrea! I too share your love for the spag. squash. Hopefully it’s not possible to OD on the stuff! hah

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Gina November 13, 2013

I love those white plates! So pretty.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 13, 2013

Thank you! A fun Homesense find :)

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Shel@PeachyPalate November 13, 2013

Sensational!!! Seriously can’t wait to get my hands on some cranberries!!!

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Hannah November 13, 2013

Is it weird that I think the exploded toffee(?) in your oven looks crazy delicious?

PS Please let’s have dinner/lunch soon.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 13, 2013

Not crazy at all…totally normal actually. ;)
Yes, dinner/lunch holiday get together, maybe??

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Hannah November 13, 2013

Yes please. We should probably nail down a time soon, ’cause Christmastime = crazytime!! xoxo

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Erica { EricaDHouse.com } November 13, 2013

This looks like one of the most unique recipes I’ve ever seen! I adore all of these ingredients and never would have thought to combine them like this. I may have to surprise my parents by bringing these on Thanksgiving.

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Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate November 13, 2013

Yikes! That sure won’t be fun to clean up! Then lentil balls look delicious though, I love that they have mushrooms in them!

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Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar November 13, 2013

I love these – so full of protein!

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Anele @ Success Along the Weigh November 13, 2013

Aww, sorry about the bubblin’ pie! There’s nothing worse than that when you’ve put in the work and it goes all Vesuvius on you. I did that once and then put it on a cookie sheet ever since just in case. I’m making my first apple crumb pie this weekend so I’ll have to remember to do that!

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Suzanne @ hello, veggy! November 13, 2013

I am so envious of your Arizona getaway! I could really use a good de-thawing, and it’s not even December! Hopefully these lentil balls will keep me warm :)

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Abby@TheFrostedVegan November 13, 2013

Oh lordy, that poor pie!! These balls more than make up for it I think, I don’t typically like mushrooms but these look divine!

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Christine @ Gotta Eat Green November 13, 2013

I LOL’d when I saw that pie fall on instagram! That’s a good one. I hate it when that happens, but good for you for laughing it off! Have a blast in Arizona!

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allie November 13, 2013

just returned from Arizona on Monday :-) Hiked Piestewa Peak instead of Camelback. What a great weekend and time to recharge as a couple. Loved it. Enjoy!!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 13, 2013

Oh fun! I’m going to look up Piestewa Peak now :)
We’ll be hiking a lot..cant wait!

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Alex @ Kenzie Life November 13, 2013

Thank you for this post! I’ve been thinking about a recipe to bring to my second round of Thanksgiving with my friends and since I know I’ll make the lentil walnut loaf for the Thanksgiving with my family, I needed something else and these will be fabulous! Thanks Angela!

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Alex @ Kenzie Life November 13, 2013

Oh and do you think Chanterelle mushrooms would be ok to substitute? Even though they’re ridiculously expensive, they’re the only kind I really like.

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Nikki @ The Road to Less Cake November 13, 2013

You’re totally right, you’ve got to laugh at food fails. I got so angry at the weekend because I had to make a cake three times, but I should’ve just laughed it off.

This is such a pretty plate full of food.

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Erica {Coffee & Quinoa} November 13, 2013

Can’t wait to check out the #piefail hashtag! And yes to mushrooms + sherry vinegar – yum. Loving the looks of these lentil balls. Can’t wait to try them out!

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Lauren November 13, 2013

Lol, they have a hashtag for everything. Where are you going in AZ? I’m in Tucson. :-) I’m sure the weather will be a stark contrast from Canada. We always begin to see snowbirds from Minnesota (my mom’s home state) around this time of year, as our 80 degree temps are much preferred!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 13, 2013

We’ll be in Scottsdale and Sedona :)

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Joelle November 13, 2013

Oh, I’m the one who mentioned Penzey’s yesterday. I see you’re going to Arizona. You have to check them out if you’re in one of these cities. You won’t be sorry! I don’t work for them or anything…just love them!

Phoenix Area

Paradise Valley Marketplace

10810 N. Tatum Boulevard
Phoenix, AZ 85028
(602) 971-7277

Mon.-Sat.: 10:00AM – 6:00PM
Sun.: 11:00AM – 5:00PM

View Map

Tempe Marketplace
2010 E Rio Salado Parkway
Ste. 110
Tempe, AZ 85281
(480) 990-7709

Mon.-Sat.: 10:00AM – 6:00PM
Sun.: 11:00AM – 5:00PM

View Map
Tucson, AZ

4128 North Oracle Road
Tucson, AZ 85705
(520) 887-0777

Mon.-Sat.: 10:00AM – 6:00PM
Sun.: 11:00AM – 5:00PM

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) November 13, 2013

you. are. awesome.

thanks!! This place will be the first on my list.

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Leslie November 18, 2013

These meatballs sound amazing! Can’t wait to try them with my Penzeys Spices (and I do work for them in Dallas – we love our customers!). Angela, I’m looking forward to exploring your blog after finding this recipe on Pinterest. We are just getting started eating Vegan.

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Ruth November 14, 2013

Penzies Extra Fancy Vietnamese Cassia Cinnamon!!! It does not come any better than this! Grocery store cinnamon is just brown dust compared to this. Another great thing about Penzies is that they have apothecary-like jars of each offering that you can open and smell. (I’ve even been known to take a pinch and try.) Hope you can fit a visit in on your trip!

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Keri November 13, 2013

I am so grateful for this recipe! Since we finally made a decision to stay home this year (I’m too scared to travel for Thanksgiving at 34 weeks pregnant!) I want to make the whole week as special as possible. Will definitely be making these in the next few weeks! Do they freeze well do you think? Would be great to have some leftovers ready to go!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 13, 2013

I have some in the freezer right now, so I will update this post when I get back and try them out! I can’t see why not.

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Elizabeth November 27, 2013

I just made a double batch of these and would like to freeze some – did you freeze them before or after baking? Thanks for the beautiful recipe!! Can’t wait to taste it :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 29, 2013

I froze them after baking :)

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Lunana July 22, 2014

How did they come out after freezing?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) July 23, 2014

they came out good! Just thawed them and then a quick reheat in a skillet

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Olivia November 13, 2013

Wow, these look beyond amazing! I think I need to try these. :)

Many blessings…
Olivia

fit2behealth.blogspot.com
nutrisimo.com

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Sara November 13, 2013

I’m very sorry about the pie, but those balls look phenomenal! Love the addition of sherry vinegar, and that they can be made in advance. It’s going to be hard to decide…cranberry or mushroom gravy! :)

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Sheryl November 13, 2013

This looks reminiscent of the genius similar too the revisited walnut lentil loaf that is a staple in my home. Can’t wait to try this!

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Amari @ Eat Chic Chicago November 13, 2013

Cheers to you for keeping calm and carrying on with a new recipe despite the horrific death of your poor pie! The meatballs look delicious so it appears you came out a winner in the end! I probably would have quit the kitchen for the day in tears after the food claimed victory.

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Claire (Eat Well. Party Hard.) November 13, 2013

Well, don’t these look just lovely, even if the pie didn’t quite work out :) D’you think any other type of bean or legume would work in place of lentils? I love ‘em, but they’re not a very common grocery store item where I currently live–would still LOVE to give these a shot for an upcoming Thanksgiving party.

Thanks as always for kitchen brilliance!

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Katie November 13, 2013

These look awesome! I make a lentil loaf that’s very similar, but without the sherry vinegar. However, it always tastes like it’s missing something– can’t wait to try my”loaf” with the vinegar.
And, when I cook the lentils, I add a few bay leaves and garlic cloves to the water to add a little flava’.
The cranberry sauce looks awesome, too!
Thanks for the yummy ideas :)

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat November 13, 2013

I just checked out the #piefail hashtag… LOL!! As for this recipe, I don’t normally say this of foods that resemble ground meat but they are beautiful! I use more balsamic vinegar than anyone I’ve ever met but absolutely love sherry vinegar too, especially with mushrooms! Thanks for the reminder – I’m going to pick some up this weekend!

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Johanna GGG November 13, 2013

these look amazing – already bookmarked (and amazed at how popular these are – I was the 366th person on Delicious to bookmark these already!!!! Which is huge compared to most things I bookmark there. Deservedly so!) Full of my favourite things and make me wish I had a thanksgiving menu to plan!

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Johanna GGG November 13, 2013

just relooked at my bookmark and found I have bookmarked the recipe as your blog home page – no wonder there were so many bookmarks – will fix this stat

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Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health November 13, 2013

Thank you for sharing your failure. As much as I feel bad for you, it made me feel better about my luck with desserts in the kitchen lately. Good for you for laughing it off!

These balls look like a perfect way to make up for the pie fail. They’re so festive!

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Amanda November 13, 2013

Mmm, those look so good! I wonder if I could trick my meat-loving fiance into eating them… :)

PS Where are those white plates from? Love them!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 13, 2013

Thanks Amanda!
They are from Homesense, I think :)

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Sherry November 13, 2013

Another awesome creation – looks better than pie in my humble opinion. Also wanted to say congrats on making the Greatist list of Top 50 Bloggers Making a Difference in Fitness, Health and Happiness. I always look forward to your stories, posts and delicious recipes.

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Jessica November 13, 2013

Do you think red lentils would work well for this recipe?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 15, 2013

Hey Jessica, I don’t think they would hold up enough since they are much softer than green lentils.

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Ella November 13, 2013

Wow these look so good! :)

Ella | towanderandtoroam.blogspot.com

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Ella November 13, 2013

Oh no! So sorry about the pie :( do you think I could sub an equal amount of apple for the pear in cranberry sauce? trying to find a killer cranberry sauce recipe for this Thanksgiving to impress my extended family (they are strong believers that a meal must contain meat in as many forms as possible in order for it to taste good and I want to prove them WRONG!)
Looks delish as usual ;)

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Lauren November 13, 2013

I live in Scottsdale. Hope you are having an awesome time and loving the warm weather!!!

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cyndi November 13, 2013

Made these tonight… Took awhile; like almost two hours, but I’m not the most efficient cook! They were tasty, but I especially loved the (warm!) cranberry pear sauce! I have to cut down the garlic in most of your recipes – the hubby is not a garlic fan, so next time I think I’ll bump up the herbs a bit. I’m new to the vegan scene and I have to say that these are much better than the fake meatballs I’ve bought at the store. Thanks for the recipe!

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Ceara @ Ceara's Kitchen November 14, 2013

These lentil balls look amazing, so healthy and satisfying! I can’t wait to try them! Hehe, and thanks for the pie enlightenment – I had no idea they could explode!!

Have a beautiful day! :)

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Emma November 14, 2013

I saw the #piefail on ig and had to have a giggle. We’ve all had kitchen disasters in our time it’s fun to share and laugh about it :)
Great looking recipe! Kind of reminds me of the filling for Dreena’s awesome festive chickpea tart with the cranberries, oats, walnuts and savoury herbs. I love all those things so am sure I’ll love this!

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lea November 19, 2013

Oh Emma, I tried Dreena’s Festive Chickpea Tart for Cdn Thanksgiving this year….sooo goood. I am going to make these lentil balls this week. I have no doubt they will be as awesome as Angela’s Lentil Loaf, a staple in my home.

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Amber November 14, 2013

I’m sorry to laugh at your pie, but it was just what I needed this morning! Thanks for keepin it real and hope you have a great trip!

ambernouveau.com | a londoner’s lifestyle blog

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Laura-Jane November 14, 2013

Oh dear, the dreaded pie explosion. I’ve definitely been there!

These lentil walnut balls look perfect for one of my many festive neighbourly gatherings coming up! The cranberry-pear sauce is a nice combo.

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Deb Oswald November 14, 2013

This looks fabulous!! and I had to smile and then groan at the thought of cleaning up after that piefail. Oy.
So one of the only few foods I don’t care for in this world is pears- I am thinking apples would be a good sub? OR I could use my cranberry chutney recipe as a sauce for these as well….. hmmmmm. LOVE the foods you make- thank you!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) November 15, 2013

Im sure many fruits would work! Apples (but be sure to finely chop and mash them up a bit) orange would also be lovely. Enjoy!

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