If you haven't picked up on it yet, we kind of have an obsession with Italian food in this household, there's just something so satisfying about all those carbs! I've posted our favorite Lasagna Recipe as well as a recipe for Almond Tofu Ricotta, which is a perfect Pizza topper, and today, I'd like to share a recipe for the best pasta and meatless balls you'll ever try!
You may have noticed in the picture above that half the plate is covered in spinach salad; that's absolutely intentional. I whole heartedly believe that being a healthy and conscious eater doesn't meaning giving up all your favorite foods - moderation is the key! You may have also noticed that both the salad and the pasta appear to be topped with Parmesan Cheese - here's a link to Minimalist Baker's Vegan Parmesan Cheese - it is divine, it is life changing, I will never not have a container of this cheesy goodness in my fridge at all times. OK, time for the recipe!
LINGUINE & BEAN BALLS (SERVES 4)
- 1 15 oz. can of Dark Red Kidney Beans
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/2 of 1 White Onion - diced
- 1/3 cup Parsley - chopped
- 1 cup Button Mushrooms - diced
- 2-3 cloves Garlic - minced
- Red Wine
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- 1/2 cup Panko Breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
- 1 Box Linguine Noodles
- 1 and 1/2 jars of Marinara Sauce (We like Arrabiata but if you don't want it spicy, just use regular)
- Vegan Parmesan - for topping
- Step One: Preheat your oven to 375°F. Rinse and drain the can of beans in warm water and place them in a large mixing bowl. Using your hands, mash them up until no whole beans are left.
- Step Two: Heat a large pan or skillet over medium heat and when hot, add a bit (1 or 2 Tbsp) of olive oil.
- Step Three: Add the onion, parsley, and mushrooms and sauté for 5-7 minutes before adding in the garlic.
- Step Four: Add in a splash or red wine, the salt, the pepper, & the red pepper flakes.
- Step Five: Combine the mixture into the large mixing bowl with the mashed up beans, add in the bread crumbs and the nutritional yeast. Once evenly combined, you can either put the mixture in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes, or you can go ahead and form your balls, they are easier to make if you let them cool but it's not absolutely necessary.
- Step Six: If your sauté pan isn't oven friendly - find a large dish that you can put into your oven and pour the pasta sauce in it. If you can put your sauté pan in the oven, wait until you have sautéed the bean balls and add the pasta sauce to the same pan.
- Step Seven: Using your hands, form the mixture into small balls. You'll probably get about 10-12 balls. In a sauté pan over medium heat, with about 1 Tbsp of oil, sauté the balls until the outside edges begin to brown and caramelize, this will only take a couple of minutes.
- Step Eight: Now you can either add the pasta sauce to this pan or add the balls into the oven safe dish you have ready. Bake for about 20 minutes.
- Step Nine: Cook your linguine according the package directions, drain, and return to pot.
- Step Ten: Now it's time to put everything together! Remove the bean balls from the sauce, add the sauce to the pasta and toss; to serve: add the balls to the pasta and top with Vegan Parmesan.
Side note: This whole process takes about an hour - I use the same skillet for the entire recipe - less clean up! Also, when it comes to buying packaged pasta and pasta sauce, I firmly believe that you get what you pay for. If you want this to taste amazing, fork over the $5-$7 for the nicer jar of pasta sauce and skip the store brand pasta in favor of a more authentic brand. This is coming from someone who typically buys store-brand organic items... when it comes to pasta and sauce, it's worth the money to spend a little extra. Bon appétit!