Vegan Spaghetti and Meatballs
I love traditional Italian recipes, but today I wanted something slightly different. I bought some vegan precooked meatballs and needed to use them, so I decided to make a dish that just screams ‘American food’ to me: Spaghetti and Meatballs.
For me, this dish brings me back to my childhood, although my mother never served spaghetti this way. Partially this must be because of the iconic scene from Lady and the Tramp, and partially because when I was young, whenever we had spaghetti it was spaghetti bolognese with the sauce served separately. We were picky eaters, and serving the sauce separately allowed each of us to get exactly the ratio we wanted, whether that was mostly pasta with just a touch of sauce (me) or mostly sauce with just a few noodles (my brother).
Fortunately, I have developed a lot since then and I am not a picky eater at all anymore. Nowadays I tend to mix the pasta with the sauce before serving to get that perfect even coverage – but with a sauce like this, on top is the way to go! For this recipe, I decided to go with a bolognese style sauce, by simply replacing the vegan minced meat with the vegan meatballs. This is probably(?) not the way it’s usually made, but I loved the results!
How do you prefer to serve your pasta: sauce mixed in, or separately/on top? And what kind of sauce do you use for spaghetti and meatballs? Let me know!
Vegan Spaghetti and Meatballs
- 250 g spaghetti I use lentil spaghetti, but (whole) wheat spaghetti or any other pasta works too.
- 2 tbsp olive oil You could use less, but I feel this sauce does well with a little more oil.
- 1 onion
- 2 stalks celery
- 5 cm piece of carrot
- 120 ml white or red wine Good way to use leftovers of a bottle of wine that doesn't taste good enough for drinking anymore. You can leave it out – add some more tomato paste instead.
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 400 g canned diced tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp dried thyme and/or rosemary
- 1 tsp miso paste (optional) Adds more umami flavor – you could leave it out and add some more nooch at the end.
- 200 g vegan meatballs (storebought or homemade) Use the kind that are precooked / only need to be heated up. Sub for vegan mince to make a bolognese-style sauce!
- salt and pepper to taste
- nutritional yeast to taste (adding lots of nooch is allowed)
- Heat a large pot of salted water and boil the pasta for 1-2 minutes shorter than the package instructions – it should be al dente. Drain the pasta and (only if your sauce is not done yet when the pasta is) rinse with cold water to prevent the pasta from getting overcooked.
- While the pot of water is heating up, finely dice the onion, celery and carrot. (Sometimes when I'm in a hurry I blend them in my small food processor, this works just fine for this recipe!)
- Heat up a pan, add the olive oil and then the onion, celery and carrot. Add a bit of salt and fry for a few minutes until the onion starts to become translucent.
- Add the tomato paste and fry for another minute or two.
- Deglaze the pan with the wine and wait for it to evaporate a bit, then add the canned tomato, bay leaf and dried herbs. Let simmer for 5-10 minutes until sauce thickens (or until your spaghetti is almost cooked).
- Stir in the miso and add salt and pepper if needed.
- For the last 5 minutes of cooking, add the vegan meatballs (or mince), and stir to cover them with the sauce. Place a lid on the pan if your sauce is already quite thick.
- Serve the spaghetti in bowls, topped with the sauce and meatballs (distributed more or less evenly) and some nooch.