With this vegan spaghetti recipe, satisfy your Italian cravings by making meatballs out of red kidney beans – fat-free, full of fiber and lower in calories than ground meat. Use these meatballs in a variety of dishes for a simple way to turn old favorites into healthy vegan recipes.
If you have the time to cook the beans from their dried form, you can slightly under-cook them for a chunkier texture.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Time from start to eating: 50 minutes
Makes enough for 3 large servings.
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Hello and welcome to Freshly Served, the healthy vegan cooking show. I’m Heather and tonight we are making the very special treat of spaghetti and meatballs. So for all you Italian food fan out there tonight is your night.
Now obviously as a healthy vegan recipe we’re not using meat for our meatballs and the way to make them healthy and vegan is to use bean. Now because they look kinda red and they’re a nice texture to mould into little balls, I’m using red kidney beans.
Now you want to cook these ahead of time or you can use canned. To cook them you just put them in a pot with some water and no salt. You can soak them overnight if you like, that’ll help soften them up and it will also reduce their cooking time and then you’ll just gonna boil them.
If you soaked them overnight it will only need about half an hour, if you haven’t soak them overnight you’ll put them in an hour and a half. And I’ve got them really nice and soft so that they mush really nicely into out meatball.
Now that they’re fully cooked you can test for doneness by smushing them into the side of the pot or bowl and you can see these ones are really soft. They’ve gone right in the edge of cooking. They’re perfectly ready to be made into delicious vegan meatballs.
Now I still call them meatballs because bean balls doesn’t really have the same ring and doesn’t sound as appetizing so mash your beans up just against this side of the bowl.
So once things are looking good and mashed over here, you season them and I’m going to add some salt and I normally would use oregano and parsley, I mean oregano and basil and parsley but I’m actually out of dried basil today so I’m gonna be using some fresh thyme that Phil and I have in our garden. It grows through the winter so it’s a nice one to use in the winter.
Alright! A good amount of thyme in there and then I’ve got some oregano that I collected from the garden in the fall and dried by hanging upside down and it is now very very handy.
So get a bunch of that in there. Bean can take a lot of seasoning so go nuts. I’m also gonna add some spoonful. I’m using some canned tomatoes for the sauce so I’m just gonna add a little bit of tomato juice from there to add a bit of moisture and add a little bit of flavor into here.
Most people will use ketchup or tomato paste or something like that in the meatballs so it’s a flavor that people are used to in there. If you do a really good job seasoning these guys you might be able to fool people into thinking they’re actually meatballs. Who knows?
Ok. So people when they’re making meatballs normally use an egg to help bind things together and of course vegans don’t use eggs so you may want something to help here. My kidney beans are really really soft and I think they’re gonna stick together just fine. I think what I actually need is something to dry it out a little bit and the flour serves the same purpose to bind or to provide texture.
So what I’ve got is some whole wheat flour over here, I’m just gonna sprinkle a little bit on and you’ll need to add a bit of moisture for this to work as a binder so the tomato sauce I think made stuff a little bit liquid over here and so the flour is gonna help dry that out just a little bit.
If you didn’t add any tomato, you need to add a bit of water here. Ok, then these are gonna go in the oven so I turn that on to 350F and then the fun part begins where you get in here with your hands and make them into balls. I’m gonna put them in this baking dish and we’ll get them going in the oven.
And what I’m gonna do next is the sauce because the sauce really like some time to simmer and come together with the flavors. I’ve got a sauce pot on the burner here heating up and I’m going to sauté some garlic.
I would normally also do a bit of onion here but because onions and garlic are fairly thinning to the blood, they helps circulate your blood and I actually have low blood pressure. I’m trying to eat a little bit less onions and garlic.
It’s all about balance and variety right? You can have too much of the good thing. So get those sautéing and just briefly. You just want the flavor to come out in the garlic so rather than having it just in the background in the sauce. If you sauté it first, it will preserve the integrity of the flavor so the garlic flavor will come through in the sauce. So just give it a few minutes and we’ll add the tomatoes.
Don’t be leaving your garlic alone because it will burn really quickly. You can see this is already starting to brown here. If I leave this sitting without stirring it fairly often it will burn.
Next thing I’m gonna throw in here is the tomatoes and I am using a canned of tomatoes because it is winter. Once we get that all together, we will season and I am going to use some salt, here we go. I’m going to use my oregano in the garden and again I would normally use basil but because I ran out of dried basil I’m going to use the fresh thyme in here as well.
I got a bit fair time in here; the last ingredient is just a little bit of unrefined sugar helps to soften the flavor of the tomatoes. You don’t need very much. Give it a stir, let it heat up but not – you don’t really need it to boil and then you’re just going to simmer it for at least half an hour, it will be nice if not longer. A few hours and you’ll have a really kick ass tomato sauce.
I’ve pulled my meatballs out after about 15 minutes and I just wanted to flip them over to make sure that the underside gets a little bit of browning as well. Anyway, whatever whole grain noodle you can find is gonna be lovely.
Just a small pinch of salt in the water to help it cook and I’m gonna put this on, wait for a boil. It should take about 10 minutes for it to cook at that point my meatballs would be ready to go and my tomato sauce would be ready as I let them be.
It’s obviously gonna be better if I leave them longer but you know sometimes you just can’t and it will still be really good. Once your pasta is done cooking, give it a strained and I would normally use your average colander but because I strained my beans into this guy I’m just strain them in this – saves dishes.
Then put it back in the pot and this is something that Phil likes to do, me I don’t care so much but it makes things a little bit nicer. All I’m gonna do is take some of these tomato sauce and I’ll taste a little bit before I put them on here to make sure the seasonings are correct. Ok, turn this off here as well. Nice!
So take a little bit of your tomato sauce, out it on your noodles and just mix it through and this way the noodles gonna be a bit of season before you top it with the tomato sauce.
Alright! And then I use this utensil here which I called a spork, some people call it different things. Take some of your pasta put it in a bowl or plate. Feel free to experiment here with different dishes then a little more tomato sauce coz really that’s my favorite part, it’s a big chunks of tomato on there and then a few of our meatballs that I took out of the oven here and your ready to go! Healthy Vegan spaghetti and meatballs!