Vegetarian Meatballs with Spaghetti

This plant-based alternative to classic Italian-style meatballs is packed with flavor and nutrition and not quite as challenging as our veggie burger recipe. We enjoy them over spaghetti with homemade marinara sauce.

STEP ONE – Preparations

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F with an oven rack in the middle.
  2. Lightly spray a baking sheet with canola spray.
  3. Get out a food processor, colander, and medium-size bowl.
  4. Have a medium-size pot ready.

STEP TWO – Oven Roast the Base


8-ounce container of fresh mushrooms
½ of a 15-ounce can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
Extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Wash and dry the mushrooms and pulse them in the food processor into very small pieces.
  2. Drain and rinse the chickpeas.
  3. Add the mushrooms and chickpeas to the bowl and lightly toss them with olive oil.
  4. Place the ingredients on the baking sheet and bake in the oven for 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes or so, until they’re dry and lightly browned.

STEP THREE – Make the Binder


1 egg plus 1 egg white
½ cup of panko breadcrumbs
1 garlic clove
2 green onions
1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper


  1. In the food processor, pulse together all the ingredients.
  2. Add in the chickpea and mushroom mixture and blend to a smooth consistency.
  3. Place the binder in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up while you make the sauce.

STEP FOUR – Make the Marinara Sauce


1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup of minced onion
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 28-ounce can of tomatoes or 8-10 fresh tomatoes cut into very small pieces with the seeds removed
Salt and pepper
Red pepper flakes
2-3 leaves of fresh basil


  1. Heat the oil in the pot over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the tomatoes and spices and cook for 15 minutes until they’ve reduced to a nice and hearty sauce.
  5. Allow the sauce to cool a bit and then puree it in a blender or food processor. You can also leave it as is if you prefer your sauce chunky.

STEP FIVE – Finish the Meatballs

  1. Using your hands, roll the meatball mixture into 12 balls.
  2. Heat a large frying pan on medium-low heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil to coat the pan.
  3. Once the pan has warmed, add in the meatballs and cook for 6-8 minutes on each side so they cook through and are lightly browned.
  4. Add the meatballs to the simmering marinara sauce and allow them to soak up the flavor for 10 minutes or so.
  5. Serve over spaghetti or another pasta of your choice and top with grated parmesan and sprigs of garden basil.

Recommended serving size: 3 meatballs with 1 cup of pasta

Exchanges: 3 starch, 2 protein, 1 veg

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Nourish is all about wholesome food preparation for those with disordered eating. Our mission is to provide delicious recipes anyone can make at home, along with education and support for individuals recovering from eating disorders and their caregivers.

15 thoughts on “Vegetarian Meatballs with Spaghetti

      1. I also find many recipe for veg meatballs,but never think of mushrooms. I love mushrooms and I like that you combined both mushroom and beans. I will sure try your recipe.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, mushrooms are an excellent alternative for meat. We’re not huge fans of them plain, but usually enjoy them in other foods, like these meatballs. We really hope you enjoy the recipe 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

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