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- 2 cups cooked lentils
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup Ricotta (or Greek yogurt for a lighter alternative)
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- pinch of each: dried fennel seed, dried thyme, dried rosemary
- handful of cherry tomatoes
- ½ cup packed basil leaves
- olive oil
- sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Arrange cherry tomatoes in a baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and place in oven. Keeping a close eye on them, cook for about 5 minutes until they’ve burst and melted, but not burned or dried out. Keep oven heated for the meatballs.
2. Drizzle a pan with olive oil, place over medium high heat and add onion. Sauté for about a minute until translucent. Add the garlic and dried herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper, sautéing for about another minute or two until soft and fragrant. Turn off heat and set aside to cool.
3. Place lentils in a food processor with tomato paste and a drizzle of olive oil and pulse until smooth.
4. Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add ricotta and mix with beaten eggs until combined. Add lentils and mix together until smooth. Add onion/garlic/herb mixture from the frying pan, parmesan and panko breadcrumbs and season with salt and pepper. Mush together (hands are best for this) until combined. If the mixture is still feeling wet, add more breadcrumbs until the mixture is dry enough to stick together and roll into balls.
5. Place basil in mortar and pestle, drizzle in about 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, and grind until it forms a thick oil (it’s ok if there are still bits of basil).
6. Roll lentil mixture into small balls and place on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for about 8-10 minutes. Turn balls, and bake for another 5 minutes, until slightly browned.
7. Drizzle with basil oil and serve alongside cherry tomatoes.