Vegan Spaghetti and Beetballs! A beautiful twist on the comforting familiar classic. Beets, black beans, walnuts, and basil make these plant-based meatballs scrumptious and so satisfying. Top with an easy rustic tomato sauce for a meal the whole family will love!
May you take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention. ~ John O’Donohue
We are getting serious with comfort food here folks! Sitting down to dinner with a plate of this before you will have you celebrating the little pleasures of life. And the fact that it is vegan and gluten-free takes it to a whole new level of goodness.
The best thing about these Vegan Beetballs is that they are completely bursting with flavor. Black beans give depth, toasted walnuts give richness and texture, and fresh basil enlivens everything. Additionally, these Beetballs are jam-packed with nutrients, plant protein, and they are gluten-free! Deliciousness + healthy = a perfect meal!
Rustic tomato sauce consists of classic ingredients providing just the right balance- little tang, a bit of spice, and lots of savory flavor creating a perfect complement to the beet-balls. With minimal effort, the sauce comes together quickly with a few pantry staples.
Vegan meatballs are baked in the oven while you prepare the tomato sauce. Serve over pasta or in a roll (they make a delicious meatball sandwich), or for a lighter version try them with zucchini noodles. Both the sauce and beetballs can be prepared ahead of time.
We are honoring the beautiful beet in this vegan Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe.
- Beets work so well here giving succulent earthy flavor and gorgeous color!
- Beets are high in phytonutrients making them rich in antioxidants that help to fight inflammation and repair cell damage.
- Beets are shown to improve cognitive health and brain function. Um…. yes please!!!
While walnuts are toasting and cooling, chop onions, garlic, beets and carrots.
Lightly caramelizing onions with add tons of flavor.
Pulse walnuts and basil together. Set aside once the texture is like coarse sand.
Next pulse everything but the beans. Pulsing ingredients in separate sessions helps to achieve a meatier texture to the finished beet-ball.
We use psyllium fiber for a binder. It has a very neutral flavor and it also adds nutrition. Yay!
We like this vegan Worcestershire for a great flavor booster.
Here is the texture we are going for. Pulse a few times, stopping to check consistency and to scrap down the sides if needed. Add beans and pulse a few more times. It is ok if beans are not completely broken down.
Add nuts back in. Pulse 2-3 times until just mixed.
At this point, you can refrigerate the mixture for up to a day.
Scoop balls onto a parchment-lined tray. A cookie scooper is helpful here. The mixture is quite moist.
Baking for 40 minutes at 335 allows time for the beet-balls to firm up and cook through. Let them cool on the tray as they will firm up more.
With the Beetballs in the oven, start on the sauce.
It begins with olive oil, garlic and red pepper flakes (optional of course!)
Whole tomatoes are preferred here as they break down beautifully, give vibrant flavor and perfect texure for sauce.
Simmer the sauce about 20 minutes and it’s ready!
Make the optional “Cheezy Sprinkles”
Toast up ground walnuts, hempseeds, and nutritional yeast for a quick vegan cheesy topping for your spaghetti and vegan meatballs!
Toss the sauce with cooked spaghetti, zucchini noodles or even spaghetti quash. Top with the Beetballs and “Cheezy” Sprinkles.
A healthy delicious plant-powered meal.
More beet recipes you may like:
- Poke Beets!
- Farro Salad with Beets and their Tops
- Warm Lentils with Wilted Chard, Roasted Beets and Goat Cheese
- Beet Salad with Feta & Pistachios
A comforting plant-based version of a classic! Flavorful and tender vegan gluten-free beet balls pair perfectly with pasta. Topped with easy delicious rustic tomato basil sauce. Serves 6.
Beetballs (makes 24)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium beet, chopped in roughly 1/2 inch chunks (5oz or roughly 1 cup full)
- 1 medium carrot, chopped in roughly 1/2 inch chunks ( 2 1/2 oz or roughly ½ cup)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire
- 1/8 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon ground psyllium (see notes)
- 1 cup or 3 oz walnuts, toasted
- 1 cup or 1 oz fresh basil leaves
- 15 oz can of black beans, drained
Tomato Sauce (makes 3 1/2 cups)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, 2 tablespoons minced
- 1/8 –1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional (see notes)
- 28 oz can whole tomatoes and juices
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- a small handful of fresh basil leaves torn
Vegan Cheesy Sprinkle
16 ounces dry spaghetti, or linguini
Make the Beetballs:
- Heat oven to 335 degrees.
- Toast raw walnuts for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- In a pan over medium heat, saute’ onion and garlic for about 10 minutes, until soft and lightly caramelized. Let cool a few minutes.
- In food processor, add cooled walnuts and basil leaves. Gently pulse, until the texture resembles coarse sand. Remove walnut mix from the processor and set aside.
- In the same food processor add the cooled caramelized onion/garlic mixture, raw beet chunks, raw carrot chunks, oregano, salt, pepper, tomato paste, Worcestershire, nutritional yeast and psyllium, pulse until mixture is just finely chopped- allowing for a bit of texture.
- Add black beans to the beet mix. Pulse 3-4 times.
- Then add the walnuts. Pulse a time or two. Just enough to incorporate everything. The mixture will be quite moist. Refrigerating for 30 minutes can help firm them up but is not necessary.
- Scoop onto a baking tray. Bake 40 minutes at 335. Remove from oven and allow to cool on the pan.
Set pasta to boil, cook according to package directions.
Make the Tomato Sauce:
- Add olive oil to a saucepan over medium heat. Throw in minced garlic and red pepper flakes, stirring until lightly toasted, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add tomatoes, smashing in with a fork to break them up. Add oregano and salt.
- Keep at a low simmer for 20 minutes, stirring and mashing the tomatoes every 4 minutes or so. The sauce will thicken as it cooks.
- Add fresh basil leaves a few minutes before removing from heat.
Make the “Cheesy” Sprinkle
- In food processor pulse together walnuts, hemp seeds, nutritional yeast and salt.
- Toast in a skillet over medium-low heat.
- Stir constantly for about 5 minutes or until you start to smell the toasty aroma. This sprinkle will keep for a few weeks. It freezes well.
Toss the cooked pasta with the sauce, top with a few beetballs and sprinkle with “cheesy sprinkle”.
Psyllium husk works as a binder and is very mild in flavor. Ground flax seeds can be substituted. The beet balls will work without this addition. They will just be softer in texture.
The sauce has a bit of a kick! Adjust red pepper flakes in the sauce to your taste and spice tolerance.
The beet ball mixture can be made ahead of time but are best baked just before serving.
- Serving Size: 4 Beet Balls, 1/2 cup sauce
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