I love pasta. My wife, on the other hand, isn’t such a spaghetti hound. Because of that, pasta nights at our house used to occur quarterly at best. Notice the past tense? That’s right, my friends, the pasta drought is over, and I have this recipe to thank. Shae not only went back for seconds but she began vehemently denying that she had ever been indifferent to pasta. It’s a meatless meatball miracle.
Recently, we wanted to make a friend a special birthday dinner. I took advantage of the opportunity to make spaghetti and meatballs because who doesn’t like pasta with a nice glass of Italian red wine? Side game realness: spaghetti and meatballs is a very safe dish to make for others which appealed to Shae’s practical side. So while the two of them were chatting, eating cheese, and sipping wine, I was in the kitchen creating my best pasta-focused masterpiece to date.
Full disclosure – these vegan meatballs require a good amount of effort and produce a significant amount of dishes, but the benefits balance the time and effort. These meatless meatballs deliver a delicious flavor complexity, layering in black bean, quinoa, fresh basil, and red pepper flakes. I found their lightness to be refreshing when compared to the density of the pasta and the traditional greasy heaviness of meatballs. These babies are worth the effort when you have the time.
Looking for some more pasta dinner ideas? Check out my vegan baked ziti, vegan garlic bread, vegan stuffed shells, creamy avocado pasta, or broccoli cauliflower pasta with tahini sauce. If you make these vegan meatballs with pasta and drink some wine, let me know how it goes. Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #plantandvine on Instagram.
vegan meatballs and spaghetti and wine pairings
Welcome to an easy wine pairing exercise. The acidity of the tomato sauce, the chewy density of the spaghetti, and the peppery punch of the meatless meatballs calls for an Italian red. If you’re interested in learning more about wine pairing, check out my wine pairing guide for vegan food. Here are some wine pairing ideas to get you started:
- Sangiovese: can you ever actually go wrong with Sangiovese? It’s one of my favorite grapes and favorite words to say, and it often conjures one of my favorite flavor profiles: green olive. The acidity of the tomato sauce is divine when you chase it with a sip of Sangiovese.
- Suggested Regions: Chianti, Tuscany, Italy
- Valpolicella Ripasso: if you want to dial into the savory aspects of Italian reds without dialing up the price point, Valpolicella Ripasso is a good bet. Valpolicella Ripasso wines are some of Italy’s best value wines. Surprisingly savory with almond nuttiness.
- Suggested Regions: Veneto, Italy
- Barbera: Plum, strawberry, blackberry, licorice, and nutmeg. Savory, fruity, delicious, and affordable.
- Suggested Regions: Asti, Alba, Puglia, or Sardinia, Italy
These vegan meatballs are awesome. They add savory depth to your pasta dinners.
- Prep Time: 40 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 80 minutes
- Yield: 12 meatballs
- Category: Vegan, Vegetarian, Pasta, Main
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American, Vegan, Healthy, Italian
- 1 cup quinoa, cooked and cooled
- 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed, drained, and dried
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup shallot, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup vegan parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons vegan worcestershire sauce
- Prepare quinoa according to package directions.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Add rinsed, dried black beans to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, until beans appear cracked and feel dry to the touch (see photo for reference).
- Remove beans from the oven and then increase oven heat to 375 degrees F.
- Heat a large, oven-safe skillet or dutch oven over medium heat. When hot, add oil, garlic, and shallot. Sauté for 3 minutes, until slightly softened, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.
- Add black beans to a food processor with garlic, shallot, salt, oregano, and red pepper flake. Pulse until consistency is a loose meal. Do not overmix. You want it to be coarse, not paste-like. Add cooled quinoa, vegan parmesan cheese, tomato paste, fresh basil, and vegan worcestershire. Pulse to combine until a textured mixture forms. Again, you’re looking for texture, not perfectly smooth.
- Taste and adjust flavor as needed. If it’s too tacky, wet, or sticky, add more vegan parmesan cheese and pulse to combine.
- Scoop out heaping 1 1/2 tablespoon amounts and form into small balls using your hands. Add to a plate and refrigerate for 15 minutes (see picture for reference).
- Heat an oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add meatballs and sauté for 3-4 minutes, gently turning the meatballs to get a slight crust on all sides. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, until golden on the edges and slightly dry to the touch.
- Serve with cooked pasta, marinara, and additional vegan parmesan cheese.
- Leftover meatballs keep in stored container in refrigerator for 4-5 days.
*Recipe is a guide. Adapt as desired. Inspired by Minimalist Baker.
Keywords: vegan meatballs, meatless meatballs, vegan meatballs and spaghetti, vegan pasta