These Easy Vegan Meatballs and Spaghetti are infused with amazing Italian dried herb and flavor. These are oil-free, dairy-free and made with chickpeas and couscous for amazing texture.
The day has arrived. You now have this amazing "meatball" recipe that I shared a teaser photo of on both IG and Facebook, which everybody went wild over. Guys, it is almost a bit "scary" how meaty these are, hahaha. These Easy Vegan "Meatballs" are LOADED with flavor and spice and incredibly moist. They are moist without hardly any fat and zero oil.
I can't even count how many times I have been asked about turning my popular Spicy BBQ Lentil Loaf into "meatballs". Unfortunately, that mixture is way too wet to form into balls, but it has been on my list to create some veggie "meat" balls for a long time. One of my ALL-TIME favorite meals to eat pre-vegan was the classic, Spaghetti and Meatballs. Simple, comforting and delicious. My husband would always take me to eat at Carrabba's Italian grill and 9 times out of 10, that is what I would get.
Several years ago before I become a mom, I was heavily into fitness. Like, I worked out 6 days a week, sometimes-twice-a-day-fitness. I still workout now regularly, but I don't stress out obsessively if I miss a workout, like I did in the past. So silly, but that is how it was and I enjoy my life so much more now than being that old person. Anywaysssss, back then I trained for a figure competition and the first thing I wanted after the competition was over, which involved many weeks of intense training and strict eating, was one thing.....to go to Carrabba's Italian Grill and eat spaghetti and meatballs. My hubby took me and it was amazing. Since becoming vegan, I have not had a meal like that...until now.
Now, do they taste exactly like meatballs?? No, of course not, they aren't meat... nor do I want them to. But they have a very similar meaty texture and chew to them, which is exactly what I was after.
HOW DO YOU MAKE VEGAN MEATBALLS?
There are several key ingredients to nailing both an amazing flavor AND texture to these Italian veggie meatless balls. I used ketchup and salsa in them, as well as some chili powder. It gives them amazing kick of flavor that is only further enhanced by a delicious spaghetti sauce. They have a good kick of heat from the salsa and chili powder, but not too spicy. You can always use half the chili powder if you like. Also, make sure to use a mild salsa as well and that will totally make them less spicy. I used Trader Joe's medium regular plain salsa and they are perfect. The ketchup gives a very subtle sweetness to these balls, which plays well with the Italian herbs because if you think about it, Italian sausage has a bit of sweetness to it and I really thought the ketchup would go great in them, and I was right. I tried regular tomato paste and tomato sauce, and no, just not the same at all!
SO, for the meaty texture, what did I use?? COUSCOUS. Yes, couscous, it has a really chewy, hearty texture that worked freaking amazing in these balls! I tried several different things and I'm here to tell you, none of them were that great, but the couscous was the final win! I tried cornmeal, like I did in my lentil loaf and it didn't work at all because the balls are so much smaller and cook much faster than the lentil loaf does.
These even hold together and don't fall apart when you stick your fork into them, just like traditional meat. That was the biggest challenge I found when trialing these.
And oh boy will you be stuffed off this meal, just like a classic spaghetti and meatball dish. I mean, stuffed. Best part about this, besides the yum factor, it is sooo healthy and cholesterol-free, unlike the meat version.
Serve them with my 5 minute pizza sauce, which works amazing here as spaghetti sauce, and some spaghetti and you have total comfort food!
I hope you all really love this vegan classic of spaghetti and meatballs and enjoy every bite of these Homemade Italian Vegan "Meatballs"! Be sure to make the recipe as is for the amazing results and then leave me feedback below after!
If you make this recipe, please do not repost it in full on your site, please link to me instead giving proper credit. I work very hard to create my recipes and share them for free, so please be respectful and link properly. If you are inspired by this recipe, again, please give proper credit and do not simply post it on your site.