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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