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The Chef’s Take: Vegetarian Meatballs from Daniel Holzman

veggie balls

“Vegetarians want the vegetarian option not to feel like an afterthought,” says Daniel Holzman. “And so the question was how can we celebrate vegetables and make something really delicious.” This question was particularly perplexing to chef Holzman, who, in 2010, along with his partner Michael Chernow, opened a restaurant called The Meatball Shop on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The plan, as you can imagine, was to specialize in meatballs. “We wanted to include a vegetarian meatball to be as inclusive as possible,” Holzman explains.

Their solution to the vegetarian meatball conundrum came in the form of this recipe, a green lentil meatball, which Holzman is partial to serving with a basil-spinach pesto, one of five sauces guests can choose from at each of the Meatball Shop locations (a sixth shop is opening this summer on New York City’s Upper West Side).

In developing this particular meatball recipe, Holzman says, he knew what he was after from the get-go. “I wanted something satisfying and filling that reminded you of home and the past. I wanted flavors you can understand. In the end,” he says, “the method for making this is like making a really hearty lentil soup.” The addition of breadcrumbs, Parmesan and …read more