‘Spaghetti & Meatballs’ is such a crowd favorite….and just because you are not a meat-eater….that shouldn’t devoid you from having it. This is a nice, fresh and healthy dish to start off the New Year!
This dish is as fancy as it’s meat counterpart and yet is simple, flavorful and healthy. I made this recipe completely vegetarian and vegan. To make these Veggie-balls I used few of my favorite veggies, but you could definitely substitute the ones you love. It is also a really nice way of feeding kids their vegetables. Also, add lots of leafy greens to further up the nutrients. Other good things about this dish are that these veggie balls are baked and the spaghetti is multi-grain. So, Veggies-Baked-Multigrain-and-No Cheese surely equals guilt free to me. Try these out and you’ll start making it often….not only vegetarians out there but also the meat-lovers!
And the tomato sauce I made for this is as simple as it can get. Onions, Garlic, Tomatoes and just a couple of spices & herbs for flavor…..and you have a delightful homemade tomato sauce/marinara to go with the spaghetti. Since, the veggie balls are baked, they may come out a little dry. So, add them to the tomato sauce and simmer for a couple of minutes just so that they breathe in the flavors of the sauce. Serve them for a weekend lunch or a friday night dinner!
Prep + Cook Time: 1 hr
Serves: 4 or 5
For the Veggie Balls, (Makes around 20 balls)
- Potatoes – 4 small-sized
- Carrots – 4 medium-sized
- Green Beans – a handful – finely chopped
- Spinach – 1/2 cup
- Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
- Red chilli powder or Paprika – 1 tsp or less as per taste
- Ginger & Garlic paste – 1/2 tsp
- Dried Basil – 1/2 tsp (optional)
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Bread Crumbs – 1/2 cup + 1 Table-spoon
- Olive oil – a few tsps
1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 deg F and ready a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
2. In a deep pot, heat some water and add potatoes, peeled carrots and green beans. Boil the veggies until they are nice and tender. Remove the carrots and green beans in around 8 to 10 mins. Let the potatoes boil for an extra 5 to 8 mins. In the same water, blanch the spinach leaves for a minute.
3. Peel off the skin off potatoes (It should come off pretty easily now). Cut them into little chunks and take them in a mixing bowl. Now, cut off the ends of the green beans, cut them finely and add to the bowl. Squeeze off excess water from the blanched spinach leaves, roughly chop them and add to the bowl.
4. Using a masher or a spoon, mash all the veggies and mix until well blended. Now, add all the spices - turmeric red chilli powder, ginger-garlic paste, dried basil and salt (If using egg add now). Also add a table-spoon of bread crumbs now. Mix everything together really well.
5. In a small bowl, take bread crumbs. Make small to medium lime-sized balls out of the mashed-and-spiced veggies. Then, roll them in the bread crumbs and place onto the baking sheet. Line the balls with some space in between each of them.
6. Drizzle all the balls with olive oil and place into the oven. Let bake for around 20 to 25 mins and remove from the oven. If they haven’t browned well, finish it off on the stove in a pan with about a tsp of oil.
For the Tomato Sauce,
- Tomatoes – 4 ripe ones
- Onions – 1/2 cup – finely chopped
- Garlic – 3 cloves
- Red Chilli powder or Paprika – 3/4th tsp
- Ground Pepper – 3/4th tsp
- Salt – 1 tsp or as per taste
- Basil – a fistful – chopped
1. In a sauce pan, heat about 2 tsps of olive oil. Add finely chopped onions and grated garlic cloves. Saute for a couple of minutes until the onions are translucent.
2. Add red chilli powder/paprika, freshly ground pepper and salt. Saute for a minute or two.
3. Choose some ripe tomatoes, dice them finely and add to the sauce pan. Saute and let them cook until nice and tender. Turn of the stove and puree the mixture.
4. Take the sauce back into the pan. Add the veggie balls into the sauce and simmer for a couple of mins.
Spaghetti – I chose the Multi-grain type
- Serve the cooked and warm spaghetti on a plate/bowl. Add the veggie balls and extra sauce on top. Finish off with some freshly chopped basil and/or parmesan cheese (if using).
- You could add an egg while making the veggie-balls as it helps in binding. I was out of eggs then, so didn’t use any but they still came out really good.
- I skipped using any cheese in the balls as well as in the tomato sauce. Feel free to add around 1/4th cup to the mashed veggies and another 1/4th cup to the sauce to make it even more irresistible.