These vegan meatballs with tomato sauce are a perfect hearty, weeknight meal that will leave you feeling super satisfied and full. This recipe uses Linda McCartney’s vegetarian meatballs – I really love the texture of these meatballs, but another brand that you like will work just as well.
Alternatively, if you prefer to avoid meat alternatives, you could try making your own veggie meatballs from black beans, pui lentils, o chickpeas, but these often result in slightly crumblier ‘meatballs.
How to make meatballs with tomato sauce
To make this Linda McCartney meatballs recipe, let’s first look at all the ingredients you’ll need:
- Linda McCartney meatballs: These are about £2.50 from the frozen section in most supermarkets (I’ve found them in Tesco, Waitrose, and Sainsbury’s). Other vegan meatballs you might like are the Green Cuisine ones, or the Beyond Meat meatballs.
- White onion
- Tomato puree
- Mixed herbs
- Tinned tomatoes
- Rigatoni pasta
Making your vegan meatballs sauce
What makes this recipe really special, in my opinion, is the warming tomato sauce that brings everything together to result in a beautiful, hearty vegan meatballs recipe. Once you know how to make a simple tomato pasta sauce, you’ll never need to buy a ready-made jarred version again.
To make the sauce, you start by finely dicing your white onion and mincing your garlic.
You then saute these over a gentle heat in a frying pan for 5 – 10 minutes, waiting until the onions are soft, translucent, and starting to caramelize in places – being patient with your onions is really important, it does pay off!
Once the onions are cooked, add tomato puree, mixed herbs, salt and pepper. After cooking the puree and spices with the onions for another minute or so, tip in your tinned tomatoes and stir. Fill the tin with water about a third of the way up, then add this too.
Bring the sauce to a boil, and then simmer for 15 minutes. If you like your sauce a little chunkier, it’s ready to eat – but you could also remove the sauce from the heat and blend with an immersion or hand blender for a smoother consistency.
Meanwhile, you’ll be roasting your vegan meatballs and vegetables in the oven (for about 25 minutes).
I love bulking up my dishes with roasted vegetables – not only does this normally mean I can make an extra portion out of what I’m cooking, but it’s also an easy way to get some healthy nutrients into hearty meals like this.
In this recipe, I simply roasted red pepper and mushrooms chopped into bite-sized chunks in a little olive oil alongside the meatballs.
Other great vegetables for pairing with vegan meatballs with tomato sauce are courgette (zucchini), aubergine (eggplant), red onion, butternut squash, and fresh cherry tomatoes.
What’s the best pasta for vegan meatballs?
Of course, the most traditional pasta to use for a vegan meatball dish would be spaghetti. However, I actually prefer using rigatoni for this dish!
I find it just works better with meatballs and chunky roasted vegetables. However, feel free to use whatever pasta shape you prefer most!
- 1 pack (240g) Linda McCartney Vegan Meatballs (or other meat alternative meatballs)
- 1 white onion
- 2 gloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tsp mixed herbs
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes (400g)
- 40g mushrooms
- 1 red pepper
- 150g rigatoni pasta
- 1 handful of fresh basil
- 1 tsp oregano
- Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees C/ 350 degrees F/ Gas mark 5
- Chop your mushrooms, and red pepper into bite-sized pieces, and place on a baking sheet with a drizzle of oil and salt and pepper. Add your vegan meatballs to the oven and cook for 25 minutes.
- Meanwhile, diced your onion finely and mince your garlic. Saute gently in a pan with a little oil until the onions are soft and translucent.
- Add your herbs, the tomato puree, and the tamari, and cook for another 1 -2 minutes.
- Add your tinned tomatoes and a quarter of a tin of water.
- Bring the sauce to a boil and then simmer.
- (Optional) if you want a smoother sauce, you can use a hand blender to blend the sauce and then return to the heat on a low simmer.
- Cook your pasta according to the packet instructions, and add about half a cup of the pasta water to the sauce.
- Drain the pasta, then stir in the sauce, roasted vegetables, and meatballs.
- Serve and top with fresh basil.
This meal is also lovely topped with some grated vegan cheese, and you could also bulk it up with more roasted vegetables like courgette, aubergine (eggplant), and black olives if you wanted.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 315Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1006mgCarbohydrates: 59gFiber: 6gSugar: 9gProtein: 15g
Nutritional information is not always 100% correct.