I’ve never been one to like meatballs, as a consequence it took me years to even try a vegan version as I just never saw the need. The only reason I decided to try them is that I kept seeing stunning photos of meatball type dishes on Instagram and because I stumbled across a recipe for vegan meatballs from one of my favourite bloggers, Nicky from Nourished and Vibrant. You can find the original recipe here: https://www.nourishedandvibrant.co.nz/recipes/lentil-walnut-bbq-neat-balls/The recipe was so simple to make and the ingredients really appealed to me! I love the idea of getting legumes, whole grains, veggies and nuts all in one hit. I love veggie patties for the same reason. I’m so glad I made these lentil balls. My husband snacked on a few and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him happier in my life! He was even happier than when I make him his favourite Romanian style potato salad!
The main thing that gives the lentil balls flavour is your addition of barbecue sauce. It also means that they are incredibly easy to make as you don’t have to pull out a million different herbs and condiments out in order to give flavour. I struggle to find good store bought sauces that are healthy. Many sauces are loaded with refined sugar as well as lots of preservatives and chemical additives. I was happy to find an organic brand or barbecue sauce that used only natural ingredients, no refined sugar. Of course, you can feel free to use your favourite barbecue sauce but I would recommend trying to find a healthy version that isn’t overly reliant on chemicals and sugar to give it taste. To save time I made the lentil balls first in a large batch and froze them. It was then as easy as plonking the in with my bolognese sauce and heating them through. We also eat the balls just as a side and they go really well in a salad or in a wrap.
As for the spaghetti, I used my favourite wholemeal spaghetti from San Remo Pasta (they also do a spelt spaghetti that I really love) and used my trusty vegan bolognese sauce recipe minus the lentils (I used the lentil balls instead). I have a blog recipe for my bolognese recipe already. http://hazelandcacao.com/?s=Spaghetti+The recipe is a little involved as it requires lots of ingredients, but they are all very basic ingredients that anyone can find and it actually comes together really quickly provided you have the right equipment. I use my trusty food processor for both the lentil balls and the sauce. It’s just a standard food processor but it comes with a grating attachment that makes my life a lot easier! I highly suggest you get some sort of machine that can great all the vegetables for you and save your arm the effort.
Overall this recipe packs a huge nutritional punch. It’s full of vegetables as well as legumes and whole grains. It’s also extremely warm and comforting and an absolutely perfect family meal. My husband loves this meal so much he actually dreamt about it one night! I do apologize that it is a lot more involved than the majority of the other recipes on my blog but if you prep the lentil balls beforehand and freeze them or keep them in the fridge for a few days it can come together really easily and I promise you it as absolutely worth the effort.
|Vegan Spaghetti Meatball Bolognese with Lentil and Walnut Meatballs|| |
- wholewheat spaghetti (I used San Remo)
- VEGAN MEATBALLS
- 1 400g tin brown lentils drained and rinsed
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ¼ cup walnuts
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp mixed herbs
- 2 Tbsp tamari
- 2 Tbsp barbeque sauce
- 2 TBSP bread crumbs
- BOLOGNESE SAUCE:
- 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
- 1 brown onion- diced
- 1-2 cloves garlic - crushed
- 10 button mushrooms
- 1 large carrot
- 1 zucchini
- 3 celery sticks
- 1 cup organic passata sauce (pure tomato sauce/puree)
- Himalayan salt and pepper to taste
- ½ tsp paprika
- 2 tsp Italian herbs
- 1 tsp maple syrup ( optional to cut acidity)
- Cook spaghetti according to package instructions
- For the vegan meatballs: add walnuts and oats to a food processor and blend until a fine crumble forms.
- Add drained lentils and remaining spices, sauce and breadcrumbs and blend until combined. The mixture should be sticky ~ add some water if the mixture is too dry, one tablespoon at a time.
- Roll mixture into balls. Place balls onto an oven tray lined with baking paper and into the oven at 180 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Use as many as you like for the bolognese, the rest can be frozen and used in different meals.
- For the bolognese sauce: In a food processor, process mushrooms until fine. Attach the grater attachment and process the carrot, zucchini, and celery and set aside.
- In a saucepan, fry diced onion in olive oil once lightly browned add crushed garlic ( being careful not to burn)
- Add all the veggies from the food processor and cook for until soft, veggies have lost their water and the water has evaporated.
- Add tomato passata sauce, and tomato paste, mix well, reduce heat and allow to simmer, covered for about 20 minutes or more. ( the longer it cooks, the more flavourful)
- Add salt pepper according to taste and herbs and cook for a few more minutes.
- Add optional maple syrup, stir in and serve on top of cooked spaghetti. Serve with vegan parmesan or parmesan of choice and garnish with extra herbs