Don’t let the chickpeas put you off these spaghetti and veggie balls! The veggie balls are surprisingly flavoursome with a great texture too – deliciously crunchy on the outside and tender in the middle.
Pile the veggie balls on top of creamy tomato spaghetti and you’ve got a great vegetarian alternative to traditional spaghetti and meatballs.
With plenty of veggies, chickpeas and wholemeal spaghetti, this meal is full of nutrients but still very tasty.
Can’t get enough of meatballs? Here are some other meatball loaded dinners.
Note: This post has been updated on 7th May 2020 with new images. Recipe remains the same!
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Don’t let the chickpeas put you off these spaghetti and veggie balls! The veggie balls are surprisingly flavoursome with a great texture too - deliciously crunchy on the outside and tender in the middle.
MAKE VEGGIE BALLS
Process bread in a food processor to form breadcrumbs. Grate carrot and roughly chop spring onion. Add carrot, spring onion, drained chickpeas, parmesan, cashews, egg, garlic and oregano to food processor. Season with salt and pepper. Pulse to form a coarse paste. Roll mixture into 20 balls.
Preheat oven to 200ºC (390ºF) bake. Line an oven tray with baking paper. Add oil to a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add veggie balls, cooking and turning until browned all over. Remove from pan, place on prepared oven tray and bake for 15 minutes.
While veggies balls are cooking, dice onion and crush garlic. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook spaghetti for 10 minutes, until al dente. Return frying pan to a medium heat and add onion, cooking for a few minutes until soft. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and stock and simmer rapidly for 5 minutes or until reduced a little. Stir in spinach to wilt. Stir through cream, if using, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
Drain pasta and add to the sauce, tossing to combine. Divide between serving bowls and top with veggie balls. Serve sprinkled with parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves.
WINE MATCH: Try a Gewürztraminer or a Pinot Gris.
GLUTEN-FREE OPTION: Make breadcrumbs from gluten-free bread (or use ready-made gluten-free breadcrumbs). Check the cashews aren’t at risk of containing gluten, replace the pasta with your favourite gluten-free pasta and make sure your vegetable stock is gluten-free.
EQUIPMENT TIP: You can use a stick blender, regular blender or smoothie maker if you don’t have a food processor.
INGREDIENT SWAP: If you’re not keen on having this as a vegetarian meal, you can try 400g (14oz) chicken mince in place of the chickpeas. If you can’t find pesto flavoured tomatoes, substitute with crushed tomatoes and 2 tsp sugar. You can use 1/2 tsp vegetable stock dissolved in 1/2 cup boiling water instead of ready-made liquid stock.
LIGHTEN UP: For a healthier version, replace the cream with evaporated milk or lite cream cheese.
STORING AND REHEATING: Package individual servings together in airtight containers, refrigerate and reheat in the microwave as required.