Vegan Spaghetti & White Bean Balls
4.67 from 3 votes

This dish of spaghetti & white bean balls is a vegan interpretation of a classic pasta dinner! The white bean balls are great with marinara and spaghetti, linguine or fettuccine. However, they’re a versatile vegan protein that can be served in many additional ways!

A white bowl has been filled with a mix of spaghetti & white bean balls, along with marinara sauce. It's topped with fresh, sliced basil.

Pasta is my forever meal. It’s the thing I cook most often, especially when I don’t have a recipe. It’s my favorite comfort food. And it’s probably the single food I’d choose if I were stranded on a desert island.

I’m always experimenting with new pasta recipes. Sometimes I get really creative. At the end of the day, though, I prefer the classics.

And what’s more classic than spaghetti and meatballs? This dish of vegan spaghetti & white bean balls is my answer to that classic. It’s nutritious, delicious, and definitely evocative of the traditional recipe.

The base of the recipe is very simple. Heat spaghetti and add your favorite marinara sauce. (Mine is Rao’s always and forever.)

The white bean balls, which are made with cannellini beans, quinoa, and walnuts, are what make it a little special.

An overhead image of a round, white bowl of vegan spaghetti & white bean balls, smothered in marinara sauce.

To save time and the recipe easy for busy nights, try prepping the marinara or the bean balls in advance.

I love the fact that the balls require no sautéing! Just whip them up in your food processor and get started.

To keep the preparation process streamlined, I definitely recommend your favorite, store-bought marinara or pasta sauce. However, if you’re intent on preparing your own, that’s great. I certainly won’t stop you 🙂

A white bowl has been filled with a mix of spaghetti & white bean balls, along with marinara sauce. It's topped with fresh, sliced basil.
4.67 from 3 votes

Vegan Spaghetti & White Bean Balls

Author – Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Yields: 4 Servings

Ingredients

For the White Bean Balls:

  • 1/4 cup dry quinoa (45g)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (60g)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced, sun-dried tomatoes (35g)
  • 1 cup cooked white beans (160g; your choice of cannellini, navy, or Great northern beans)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or Italian seasoning blend
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar

For the Pasta Dish:

  • 8 ounces spaghetti, linguine, or fettuccine (or another favorite pasta shape)
  • 2 cups marinara sauce of choice (480ml; store-bought or homemade)
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil leaves (20g)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place the quinoa in a small, fine sieve. Rinse the quinoa under cold, running water for a full minute. Drain. Add the quinoa to a small sauce pot, along with 1/2 cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat to low, cover, and simmer the quinoa for 13 minutes, or until it has fully absorbed the water. Remove the quinoa from heat. Allow it to stand, covered, then fluff it lightly with a fork. Re-cover the quinoa and set it aside until you're ready to prepare the bean balls. The quinoa can be cooked up to two days in advance of making the spaghetti & bean balls.
  • Place the walnuts, garlic, and salt in a food processor fitted with the S blade. Process until the walnuts have been ground up into a fine meal. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, white beans, a 1/2 cup of the quinoa, oregano, black pepper, and vinegar to the food processor. Pulse until the mixture is uniform and well mixed, but the beans retain some texture. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and add the remaining 1/4 cup cooked quinoa. Use a spoon to mix everything well.
  • Shape the quinoa white bean mixture into sixteen 1-inch balls. Place the balls onto a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping them over once halfway through cooking, or until the balls are turning golden brown. Set the bean balls aside.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions, then drain. While the pasta cooks, heat the marinara in a medium sauce pot until warmed through.
  • Divide the pasta into four bowls. Top each with 1/2 cup (120ml) of sauce, 4 bean balls, and a sprinkle of fresh basil. Serve.

Notes

Leftover bean balls will keep for up to four days in an airtight container in the fridge.

What a wonderful, homey meal. And if you happen to prepare it for one or two people, you can use leftover bean balls in salads.

Two bowls have been filled with pasta and a vegetarian protein. They're topped with marinara sauce and rest on a white surface.

That’s it for today, friends. Happy pasta preparation!

xo

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Recipe Rating




    88 Comments
  1. What and how can I substitute for sun-dried tomatoes? Thanks for the nice recipe!

    • Do you happen to have roasted red peppers in a jar in your pantry? You could drain those of their liquid, chop them, and use them instead!

  2. These are wonderful! I have made them twice, double batches each time. The second round, I used garbanzo beans since I was out of navy/cannellini. I added about 1/2 cup chopped parsley to mine as well. Super tasty as a salad topper when cold! Thanks for the lovely recipe!

  3. Your bean balls look amazing! I made something similar the other day but pureed it a bit too long, then it became (a very delicious) bean dip. Can’t wait to try this one.

  4. I just this week purchased my first box of Jovial brown rice pasta to try. Since I bought their lasagna noodles, I’ll say lasagna!

  5. Oh my goodness Gena! I LOVE the sound of these little bean balls. They are just jam packed full of protein and would make a fantastic addition to pasta. I have seen jovial products before, I buy their diced tomatoes, but haven’t seen their rice pasta. I’ll take a look for it though as I’m gluten free and so far the only brand I have really found is Tinkyada. As much as I love that brand, it’s always nice to switch it up. I’m SO making these bean balls soon!

  6. What pasta dish are you most excited to make with Jovial brown rice pasta?

    I LOVE pasta and can not eat wheat anymore, I’m very excited to bring this into my home and make all of the foods I used to adore!

    Oops did not mean to post without a name!

  7. What pasta dish are you most excited to make with Jovial brown rice pasta?

    I LOVE pasta and can not eat wheat anymore, I’m very excited to bring this into my home and make all of the foods I used to adore!

  8. I would love to make a nice pasta salad to compliment the summery weather we have been having!

  9. These bean balls look delicious, nothing like pasta and “meat”balls with a beautiful, fresh tomato sauce. I originally was not a fan of whole wheat pasta myself, but I’ve come to really like it – its not for everything, but I find it really good with a sturdy sauce (not so great with tomato or cream based ones, but better with walnuts, rosemary, lentils, brussels sprouts and strong greens)

  10. I would love to try this pasta with kale and walnut pesto! I’d actually love to try this in general. The few times I’ve had rice pasta, I’ve not been thrilled with the texture so it would be great to find one I like.

  11. I would be excited to make Gena’s spaghetti and white bean balls and serve on top of Jovial’s rice noodles to prove to my husband that rice pasta is far better than whole wheat!!!

  12. I love Jovial brown rice pasta but I didn’t know they make olive oil and jarred tomatoes. I would like to try the pasta with a simple garlic and olive oil sauce with nutritional yeast or your hempesan sprinkled on top.

  13. My family and I have a favorite pasta dish that has cherry tomatoes, basil, lemon, olive oil, and whatever veggies are in season all tossed together! I would love to try it with Jovial pasta!

  14. I would love to make a veggie pasta dish with beyond meat crumbles! Thanks for this great giveaway.

  15. I would make a classic garlic, olive and and lemon pasta and serve it will grilled shrimp and grilled asparagus.

  16. I would love to try spaghetti and “sausage” – I’ve made seitan sausage and I was amazed at how good it is! I”d also like to try these “meat’ balls!! They sound good ‘n healthy!

  17. Gena these cannellini balls sound perfect! I love a comforting bowl of pasta every once in awhile, but this recipe has me planning out when I’ll get a chance to make it soon. It’s a bit chilly around here again, and this would be so perfect to warm up with!

  18. I actually enjoy whole wheat pasta, but I also really enjoy trying new things. (I just bought some farro pasta that I’m excited about!) I would like to see how the brown rice pasta does in a pasta salad since that is something I make quite a bit during the warm months. Thanks for the giveaway, and what looks like a yummy bean ball recipe!

  19. I am excited to make chicken meatball spaghetti! Thank you for the wonderful giveaway.
    Erin

  20. Yum, I’d love to use the pasta to make a creamy cashew lemon sauce to pair with mushrooms and roasted red peppers!

  21. I assume it’s cooked quinoa in the white bean balls? They look yummy! My favorite way of serving pasta is in an old Italian pasta sauce. The pasta is cooked for only 5 minutes in salted boiling water before being drained and added to a sauce made from 3 onions halved then cut lengthwise into very thin long strips (if they are thin enough, when it’s served they will look like strings of cheese hanging off the pasta) saute lightly in olive oil with 2 tsp freshly crushed/ground fennel seeds. and salt. The salt is important here as you want the onions softened not browned, and the salt helps release their juices into the pan and prevent them from browning. After the onion is very limp, turn the heat up to high and 2 cups diced tomatoes (with their juices) are added along with 2 cups of some kind of milk. I use unsweetened almond milk. Cook for a couple of minutes, until the tomatoes are heated through. (Now is when I add the pasta to the boiling water to cook for 5 minutes and 5 minutes only.) The milk curdles a little, but it is suppose to. The drained pasta is then added to the sauce, and cooked covered on low for 10 minutes. As the pasta finishes cooking in the sauce the sauce thickens and some of it is absorbed by the pasta. Keep an eye on the pasta, more almond milk might be needed. Each time I make it is different, and each pasta is different. Penne needs more milk than spaghetti noodles. Season with salt and pepper. The fennel seeds are what really makes this dish. Fennel + tomato = Delicious!

    • I was wondering the same thing. I will try this with cooked quinoa. Often the grain is coated with saponins so I am going to assume it is cooked. Also! I like your recipe too! 🙂

  22. I love jovial ‘s other products! I would make a simple cacio e pepe with the pasta first

  23. I’d love to try using Jovial’s fusilli in a pasta salad, because I have yet to find a gluten-free pasta that retains a nice texture once cold and thus works well in a cold pasta salad. Maybe this brand is the one that’ll do it for me? That’d be great, especially now that summer’s almost here, as pasta salad is one of my favorite picnic dishes!

    Your bean balls sound awesome, too, Gena. I’m sure they turn a humble spaghetti marinara into the most amazing dinner!

  24. I would like to make a macaroni salad or a baked macaroni and cheese, the two most common pasta dishes in our home.

  25. I am actually making a kimchi lentil pasta dish tonight and reading this post as the pasta boils. I was thinking how tasty it would be if I used a brown rice pasta instead of wheat!

  26. The first thing I would make would be a fresh spring pasta with lots of lemon, asparagus, white beans, chili flakes, and nooch. I make it every year once the asparagus come out and it’s one of the best spring meals!

  27. Einkorn wheat sounds intriguing and I love that they pack their tomatoes in glass!

  28. I definitely need to seek out Jovial products — they sound awesome! I would definitely make my favorite vegan baked mac&cheese.

  29. Weirdly, I generally dislike brown rice pasta and love whole wheat! I tend to find brown rice pasta weirdly gluey. But I would definitely try jovial’s, probably with cherry tomatoes and arugula!

  30. I’d try the pasta with pesto! We almost visited Jovial foods place in Italy last fall, but it was a little too out of the way. Now I’m wishing we would have gone anyway!

  31. My roommate was just diagnosed with celiac, so these would be perfect for our apartment!

  32. I’ve tried their Einkorn pasta, and I’m a fan. It has a nice bite and flavor to it. I enjoy it in mac & cashew cheese or with red wine infused mushrooms.

    BTW, your photos in this post are stunning!