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!
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.
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 🙂
1cupcooked white beans(160g; your choice of cannellini, navy, or Great northern beans)
1teaspoondried oregano or Italian seasoning blend
Black pepper to taste
1teaspoonred wine vinegar
For the Pasta Dish:
8ouncesspaghetti, linguine, or fettuccine(or another favorite pasta shape)
2cupsmarinara sauce of choice(480ml; store-bought or homemade)
1/2cupchopped basil leaves(20g)
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.
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.
That’s it for today, friends. Happy pasta preparation!