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Pumpkin Seed Cannellini Meatballs in Tomato Sauce with Zucchini Spaghetti

Ida Hemmingsson-Holl
  • Serves: 4
  • Preparation: 25
  • Cooking: 50
  • Ready: 75

A real Italian pasta experience … without the pasta and the animal protein – 100% healthy and delicious!


For the pumpkin seed cannellini meatballs

  • ¾ cup pumpkins seeds, soaked in hot water for at least ten minutes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • 2 cans cannellini beans, well rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the tomato sauce

  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1½ tablespoons thyme
  • 1½ tablespoons oregano
  • 10 leaves fresh basil
  • 8 large tomatoes (ideally the dark red, juicy kind), chopped into large chunks
  • 200 g tomato paste
  • 1 cup red wine (a good full-bodied one ideally!), more to taste
  • 1½ cups water, more if needed
  • 2 tablespoons agave syrup or other sweetener
  • 1 teaspoon salt, more to taste

For the zucchini spaghetti

  • 4 large zucchinis/courgettes


To make the meatballs

Place the pumpkin seeds in hot water and turn the oven to 180°C/ 350°F/gas mark 4.

Add the olive oil, red onion, garlic, thyme and oregano to a frying pan. Leave on a low heat while occasionally stirring until the onions start to soften. Then remove the water from the pumpkin seeds, and add those and the well-rinsed cannellini beans to the pan. Increase the heat and fry for a minute or two while stirring.

Remove the pan from the stove and blend it all together thoroughly using a hand mixer. It will be very sticky, perfect to form small meatballs (as soon as it has cooled a little, enough to use your hands). Add baking paper to a baking tray place the meatballs on this.

Bake in the oven for approximately 40 minutes (depends on oven and size of meatballs so keep a close eye, and roll them around a few times to get them a little crunchy on all sides). If you like, you can make these a day or two beforehand and keep in the fridge.

To make the sauce

Add the olive oil to a pan and bring to medium heat. Add the garlic and the herbs and fry while stirring for a minute or two before adding the rest of the ingredients.

Let it boil for at least 40 minutes, until the tomatoes have become soft enough to blend in with the rest of the sauce.

10 minutes before serving, taste, and adjust the flavour with more salt, thyme, oregano, red wine etc. Add a little more water and red wine throughout cooking if needed to get to the right consistency.

To make the zucchini spaghetti

Make spaghetti out of well-washed zucchinis (courgettes) using a mandolin, spiraliser or even a potato peeler.

Additonal notes

Recipe courtesy of Ida Hemmingsson-Holl, creator of the plant-based food blog Ida cooks vegan food, free from gluten and white sugar.

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