Vegan ‘Meatballs’ with Spaghetti and Tomato Sauce

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To me, nothing says more comfort than a delicious big bowl of pasta, especially spaghetti with a flavorful tomato sauce! And it’s best when you have also an extra addition on top, like these vegan ‘meaty’ bean balls which contain also protein. This is really one of those meals you can always turn to when you want something to lift your mood and make you feel satisfied. ?


One year ago I’ve already shared a recipe for vegan ‘meatballs’ made of black beans on my blog. Since this time I variated the ingredients now and then and tried some other combinations but I think with using beans as a base they just get the best texture and taste. I don’t want to pretend that these balls taste like traditional meat balls, but I can assure you these are a perfect flavourful plant-based option with a great texture! It makes me happy creating vegan alternatives which taste so good that even people who are not vegan are convinced. That’s always my goal with vegan and vegetarian recipe creation. I just want to show you options so that you can see that it’s possible to cook delicious meals even without meat. The hardest part of recipe creation is always choosing which ingredients (in this case beans), I should use. But finally, kidney beans won so far because I used black beans last time and I always use chickpeas in my falafel. But you can, of course, also use other beans for this recipe. Just be creative! ?


To infuse some flavours, I added aromatic mushrooms and some Italian seasonings, such as fresh basil, dried oregano, smoky paprika, and tomato paste to the mixture. For an extra special nutty flavour, toasted walnuts really took it all to the next level. I really love the combination of walnuts and tomato (like in my ‘walnut pesto‘), but you can also use any other nuts or seeds, such as pine nuts or sunflower seeds for a nut-free version. Otherwise, you can also leave them out completely, but then you won’t have this certain special taste.


I baked the bean balls in the oven until golden and quite firm, so they don’t get mushy in the tomato sauce. In the meantime, I cooked the pasta and prepared the tomato sauce in a pot. Once it’s ready I gently fold in the bean balls to cover in the sauce and then serve it immediately. The bean balls will soften with time, so it’s best not to leave them in the sauce for too long. With a sprinkle of nutritional yeast flakes and freshly ground black pepper, this yummy nutrient-rich dish taste just heavenly!

By the way, for any variety, you can also shape the bean ball mixture into burger patties instead of balls to make a delicious sandwich or burger if you like. They’re also great as a snack for in between or to take away. ?

If you tried the recipe, I would appreciate a comment. You are also welcome to post a picture on Instagram and link it to @biancazapatka, so that I can see your post and leave a comment. ?


Vegan 'Meatballs' with Spaghetti and Tomato Sauce

These vegan and healthy Mushroom and Bean 'Meatballs' are simple to prepare and make a perfect lunch or dinner! Especially in combination with a flavorful tomato sauce and pasta, it’s truly a winner! This dish is quick & easy to make and a delicious plant-based alternative to the traditional 'meatball' based dish. You can even make these in bulk and freeze a batch for future meals or form them into patties to make a burger or enjoy them just as a snack!
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Lunch & Dinner, Main Course, Side Dish, Snack, Snacks
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 2 servings
Author: Bianca Zapatka


For the bean balls:

  • 1 15 oz can kidney beans
  • 200 g mushrooms chopped (*see recipe notes)
  • 1/3 heaped cup walnuts (or other nuts, seeds*), finely chopped and toasted
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 1/2 cup (gluten-free) rolled oats processed into a coarse flour (*see recipe notes)
  • 1 flax egg (*see recipe notes)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • a handful of fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp tamari sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • pepper
  • chili powder (optional)
  • a splash of lemon juice

For the tomato sauce:

  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 can tomatoes chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cube vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
  • salt, pepper (to taste)

further ingredients:

  • 9 oz spaghetti pasta


Bean Balls

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees Celsius) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Add the oats to the food processor and process until coarse flour.
  • Cut the mushrooms and onion. Mince the garlic cloves.
  • Rinse and drain kidney beans.
  • Toast the walnuts in a pan without oil until fragrant and golden.
  • In another pan, heat some oil and sauté diced onions for 3 minutes. Add the minced garlic and sliced mushrooms cook for 2-3 minutes more.
  • Add the sautéd onion, mushrooms, and garlic along with toasted walnuts and kidney beans to a food processor and pulse until coarse.
  • Stir in ground oats (or bread crumbs), the flax egg, tamari sauce, tomato paste and the seasonings.
  • Combine well and shape into balls.
  • Place each ball on the prepared baking sheet an inch or two apart.
  • Bake for about 25-30 minutes until golden on both sides. (Gently flip the balls halfway through.)

Tomato Sauce

  • Heat up olive oil in a saucepan and add the onions. Cook on medium heat for around 5 minutes until glazed.
  • Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Then add the chopped tomatoes, vegetable stock, tomato puree and fresh basil. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly.
  • After baking, fold the balls into the sauce. Serve with spaghetti or other pasta and tomato sauce and sprinkle some of nutritional yeast on top, if you like.
  • Enjoy! 🙂


- Instead of mushrooms, you can also use other vegetables or just leave them out completely.
- To make this recipe nut-free, you can use sunflower seeds instead.
- Instead of oats, you can also use (gluten-free) bread crumbs.
- To make the flax egg, whisk together 1 tbsp ground flax and 3 tbsp water in a mug and let it swell until jelly.


These vegan and healthy'meatballs' made of beans and combined with a spicy tomato sauce + pasta are a perfect lunch or dinner! This dish is quick & easy to make and a delicious plant-based alternative. Instead of balls, you can also form patties for burger or enjoy them just as a snack.


  1. Avatar
    17. April 2018 / 17:20

    Another great recipe, Bianca! Quick, healthy and extremely tasty. I really enjoyed the texture and the “meaty” flavour. Thanks for sharing!

    • Bianca Zapatka 17. April 2018 / 22:28

      Hi Zaneta,
      Thank you so much for your positive feedback!?
      So glad to read that you liked the recipe.
      Much love,
      Bianca ❤️

  2. Avatar 16. May 2018 / 6:13

    Lovely and vibrant!

  3. Avatar
    29. May 2018 / 7:18

    Wow this was amazing. Tasted so “meaty” and was a winner even with my fussy 5yr old. I had to add some rice crumbs to the mix as it was a little runny so thickened it up a little.
    I am going to use the meatball recipe as the meat for my sausage rolls. Very impressed thanks!

    • Bianca Zapatka 30. May 2018 / 11:26

      Hi Clare,
      So glad to read that you like the recipe and even your child ?
      Much love,

  4. Avatar
    4. June 2018 / 10:28

    These look delicious! Roughly how many balls will this make please?

    • Bianca Zapatka 5. June 2018 / 17:38

      I usually make about 10-12 but it depends on the size you prefer ?

  5. Avatar
    4. June 2018 / 12:24

    Hi Bianca. This looks delicious! Can’t wait to try it. Roughly how many balls will this make please?

    • Bianca Zapatka 5. June 2018 / 17:44

      Hi Ola,
      Thank you! ?
      I usually make about 10-12 but it depends on the size you prefer.
      Have fun trying the recipe.
      Much love,
      Bianca ❤️

      • Avatar
        7. June 2018 / 1:18

        Thanks for the reply! Do you think the cooked balls will freeze well in the sauce?

        • Bianca Zapatka 8. June 2018 / 12:16

          Hi Ola,
          Yes sure! I usually freeze them in the sauce. You can defrost slowly in the fridge. I always remove from the freezer in the evening when I want to eat them next day. At lunchtime I easily heat it up in a saucepan.
          Much love,

  6. Avatar
    19. October 2018 / 15:39

    These are probably the best vegan meatballs I’ve ever had! Thanks for the recipe 🙂
    Just one question, every time I’m trying to make any kind of vegan balls they never seem to hold their shape well enough…do you think adding more flour will help?

    • Bianca Zapatka 20. October 2018 / 12:08

      Thank you so much Emilia! So happy that you like the recipe! You could add a flaxseed egg or a little more flour, of course. Lots of love, Bianca ❤️

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