A vegetarian spin on an italian classic. Easy, hearty food which will make you wonder why you ever ate real meatballs in the first place!
One of my favourite comfort foods! Yum! who doesn’t love spaghetti and meatballs? Wonderfully Italian, rich in tomato flavour with hints of bay leaf, yum, yum, yum.
I love the texture of these meatless balls. One of the hardest things to try and re-create with vegetarian food is the meat texture and I often think there is no point in trying. It is better to create a new texture that will go just as fittingly with the dish, rather than try and copycat something that is pretty impossible to replicate. In my opinion, if you are going to recreate a classic meat dish in vegetable form, then just embrace the vegetable textures!
So, for this meatball, I have combined black beans, portobellos and cooking oats to create a form holding and yet juicy vegetable ball. Form is very important when creating this dish after all, you want the vegetable balls to hold together and not fall apart when you fry them. That’s where the oats come in as they help to bind the vegetables together.
If you want to make this dish vegan, then do so by excluding the parmesan cheese and replacing with 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast and by using a vegan egg substitute in place of the egg.
- 1 packet dried spaghetti
- salt, for seasoning
- pepper, for seasoning
- For the 'Meatballs':
- 400 g tinned black beans
- 6 large Portobello mushrooms, chopped
- 1 large onion
- ¾ teaspoon garlic, minced
- ½ cup quick cooking oats
- 30 g parmesan cheese, grated
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp dried or fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp dried or fresh oregano, chopped
- 1 egg
- For the pasta sauce:
- Fresh basil leaves for garnish (optional)
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 400 g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar , or red wine vinegar
- 2 bay leaves
- Add olive oil to a frying pan and add the mushrooms, onions, garlic and fry on a low heat until all the liquid has gone from the mushrooms and the onions are translucent and soft.
- Remove the pan from the heat.
- Add to the mushrooms/onions the oats, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, black beans, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and mix.
- Add the egg to the mixture and stir in well.
- Roll into balls, cover with plastic film, and leave in the fridge for 20 minutes (the longer the better).
- Heat a pan with olive oil and fry the 'meatballs' so that they are brown on each side and cooked through.
- Cook your spaghetti as per packet instructions.
- In a large saucepan add 1 tablespoon olive oil and fry the onion until the onion is translucent but not brown.
- Add the tomatoes, vinegar and bay leaves.
- Cook for 7 minutes until everything has reduced a little.
- Mix the meatballs in with the sauce and then serve on top of the spaghetti.
- Garnish with a couple of basil leaves and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.