Spaghetti and Meatballs gets a fun vegetarian make-over with plump delicious mushrooms and protein-packed quinoa. These vegetarian meatballs are delicious served over spaghetti with a rich tomato sauce.
This post was sponsored by Australian Mushroom Growers Association. All opinions are my own.
Sophia Loren once said "Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti." The same can equally be said of our parents.
It's Mother's Day, a time to reflect and recognise our mothers and the role they have had in our lives.
They bring us into this world. They soothe our tears when we cry and are there for us when we need them.
One of the things I recall eating regularly when I was growing up was Spaghetti Bolognese.
It was something my family loved, but although I wasn't officially a vegetarian back then, I just never really liked the taste of meat.
I loved the spaghetti, but often ate mine with just a bit of butter!
So today I have recreated the traditional spaghetti and meatballs - but this version is entirely plant-based.
It's a vegetarian spaghetti recipe that even die-hard carnivores would have a hard time passing up.
I know, because my die hard carnivore husband Troy hovered around the kitchen while I was cooking my Spaghetti and Vegetarian Meatballs waiting for it to be ready. He even sneakily "quality tested" some before I'd cooked them in sauce! 😉
These vegetarian "meatballs" are essentially my Mushroom and Quinoa Burgers formed into "meatballs" instead of patties.
These meatless meatballs are then browned in a frying pan before they finish cooking in a warm bath of tomato sauce.
If you want a completely vegan version of this recipe, simply leave the eggs out of the base and brown the mixture as you would the meatballs. (Or check out this vegan mushroom bolognese recipe!)
And if you love these vegetarian meatballs, be sure to check out these other amazing pasta recipes:
- One-Pot Creamy Mushroom Pasta
- Thai Green Curry Noodles
- Tortellini with White Wine and Sun Dried Tomato Sauce
Spaghetti and Vegetarian Meatballs
- 5 oz quinoa
- 1 ½ cups water
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- 1 onion peeled and diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 7 oz mushrooms button, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp parsley finely chopped
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 eggs beaten
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 onion finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 carrot peeled and diced
- 1 tbsp thyme leaves roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp rosemary leaves roughly chopped
- ½ cup red wine
- 28 oz chopped tomatoes canned
- 14 oz spaghetti
- salt and pepper to taste
- grated parmesan optional for serving
- Rinse the quinoa well in a fine mesh sieve under cold running water. Place in a saucepan with the water and a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Cover and cook for 12 to 20 minutes. Check after 12 minutes to see if the quinoa is tender and you can see the little quinoa "tails" appear. (Cooking times can vary by brand, so check the package directions.)
- Heat a large frying pan over a medium low heat and 2 tsp olive oil and add the onions cook until lightly golden. Remove from the pan and place in a large bowl. Increase the heat to medium high and add another 2 tsp of olive oil. When the pan has come to heat add the mushrooms, garlic and thyme and cook for 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce and cook for a further 2 minutes or until the liquid has almost evaporated. Place in the same bowl as the onions and leave to cool.
- Add the cooled quinoa to the bowl along with the onions and mushrooms. Add the breadcrumbs and parsley and mix to combine. Test and adjust seasonings with sea salt and pepper as necessary. Add the beat egg and mix until well combined.
- Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Place a large frying pan over a medium heat. Using a dessert spoon as a measure, form the mixture into vegetarian "meatballs". If the mixture feels too loose, and is difficult to form into balls, add more breadcrumbs and refrigerate for another 30 minutes before forming into "meatballs".
- Add 2 tbsp of olive oil to the pan and fry the "meatballs", on all sides, carefully turning them with a spatula, in batches until golden. Place on a plate lined with paper towel.
- Wipe out the frying pan and place it over a medium low heat and add the remaining oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic, carrot, thyme and rosemary and cook until the onion turns golden and soft. Increase the heat to medium high and add the red wine. Cook until the red wine has almost evaporated before adding the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and adjust as necessary. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to low and add the "meatballs" and cover.
- When the meatballs go into the pan start the spaghetti. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil and season well with salt. Add the spaghetti and cook according to the packet instructions.
- Drain the spaghetti and top with the "meatballs" and sauce and serve immediately.