Flavorful and tender vegan meatballs with spaghetti and tomato sauce, anyone?
Succulent and bursting with Italian flavors, these super easy meatless meatballs are the ultimate vegan and budget-friendly comfort food.
These vegan meatballs are a healthier and cheaper alternative to your regular meatballs, they make a perfect family meal and delicious meal prep or school lunch box (totally kid-approved.
They’re packed with protein, easy to make and they don’t require any baking or tricky pan-frying.
Plus, there’s good news…
They won’t fall apart!
WHAT ARE THESE VEGAN MEATBALLS MADE OF?
You don’t need fancy ingredients, you can find black beans, breadcrumbs and everything you need at your local supermarket. When I say healthy, cheap and easy, I mean that 😉
- Black beans
- Sunflower seeds
- Vegan Worcestershire sauce or soya sauce
- Tomato paste
- Basil or parsley
- Salt & pepper
HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE:
- Put the ingredients in a food processor (except breadcrumbs)
- Pulse until you get a coarse mixture
- Transfer the mixture into a bowl
- Add breadcrumbs
- Use your hands to mix everything thoroughly
(kneading the mixture bind ingredients together)
- Form about 18-20 small meatballs
- In the meanwhile cook spaghetti and tomato sauce
- Add the vegan meatballs to the tomato sauce
(please note, to cook an easy Italian tomato sauce see the recipe card below)
- Stir gently and cook for about 12-15 minutes
- Stir in spaghetti and serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and fresh basil
RECIPE NOTES & QUESTIONS?
Are beans cheaper than meat? Yes, beans are amazing cupboard staples and are much cheaper than meat.
This skillet of succulent vegan meatballs in tomato sauce costs about $ 3 ( spaghetti not included). Moreover, it’s ready in less than 30 MINUTES.
What not to love?
ARE BLACK BEANS HEALTHY?
Black beans are packed with protein, fiber and they’re also rich in calcium and magnesium to promote healthy bones. Plus, they help to decrease blood pressure and promote heart health and their selenium content prevent inflammation and might reduce tumor growth rate.
If you serve these vegan meatballs with whole wheat pasta, you’ll get more fiber and micronutrients. Fiber is an important part of your diet, as it prevents constipation, helps control blood sugar and reduces the appetite.
Research shows that eating three servings of whole-grain food per day helps you to live longer. That sounds nice 🙂
HOW DO YOU MAKE VEGAN MEATBALLS STICK TOGETHER?
Common binders are wheat germ, oats, quinoa, couscous or ground flaxseeds mixed with water.
However, I simply use bread crumbs.
That might sound a bit unusual, but breadcrumbs are a pretty common “binder” in Italian recipes. Breadcrumbs are a cheap cupboard essential and work well in this kind of recipes, they absorb the moisture and add texture. For example, my mum used to make the classic meatballs mixing ground beef and breadcrumbs!
HOW TO MAKE VEGAN MEATBALLS THAT TASTE GOOD?
I tried meatballs made with chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans and in my opinion, black beans are still the best option. They don’t dry out and their flavor is rich and meaty.
Plus, in this recipe, the beans are then blended with savory ingredients like mustard, tomato paste, and flavorsome Worcestershire sauce that add complexity to the dish.
Also, to improve their texture, we can add seed or nuts like delicious walnuts or almonds. However, I love sunflower seeds, they’re cheaper than nuts and give a great texture. Please, don’t skip this ingredient.
As I mentioned above, if you enjoy these vegan meatballs with tomato sauce and spaghetti, you don’t need to pan-fry or bake them first. They hold their shape when they’re gently cooked in the tomato sauce.
But if you prefer a crispier outer texture or if you want to enjoy them on their own, I would recommend baking them in the oven for about 15 minutes (360F).
Freezable: yes, totally freezable. Make a big batch and freeze the mixture in an airtight container.
If you enjoy these meatless meatballs with spaghetti, you will love more vegan pasta recipes then:
You have to try this simple and easy recipe soon, and please let me know if you have a question.
Leave a comment, rate it or tag a photo #theclevermeal on Instagram.
I would love to hear from you!
Vegan meatballs in Italian tomato sauce
- 1 15oz-can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 3/4 Tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce or low sodium soya sauce
- 1 Tsp tomato paste
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 tsp mustard
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 onion
- 1 small handful fresh basil
- 1/4 tsp fine salt
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
SIMPLE AND EASY ITALIAN TOMATO SAUCE
- 1 Tbsp olive oil or extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 1-2 garlic cloves, chopped or finely sliced
- 1 15oz-can tomato sauce
- 1 handful fresh basil
- 1 Tsp oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add black beans to a food processor along with onion, seeds, basil, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, mustard, oregano, salt and pepper. Pulse to combine until a textured dough forms (Don't overmix, you don't want a puree').
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl, add breadcrumbs and mix all the ingredients with your hands.
- Form small meatballs, about 18-20 pieces and place them on a plate greased with oil or lined with parchment paper. If time allows, refrigerate them for 10 minutes and in the meanwhile cook your tomato sauce.
- Make a super simple tomato sauce: In a medium skillet/pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté garlic cloves for 3 minutes, then stir in the tomato sauce and cook for 5 minutes. Season with oregano, salt, and pepper according to your taste.
- Reduce the heat and add the meatballs to the pan. Cook them gently for about 12-15 minutes and keep the lid on. However, if you prefer a crispier outer texture, I would recommend baking them in the oven for about 15 minutes (360F), and then add them to the sauce.
- In the meanwhile, cook spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water.
- Drain spaghetti and stir in the skillet along with tomato sauce, vegan meatballs and shredded basil leaves.
- Serve immediately topped with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and extra fresh basil leaves.