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  • Prep-time: / Ready In:
  • Makes 8 cups pasta and sauce + 20 lentil balls

This whole-food vegan take on classic spaghetti and meatballs is as healthy as it is satisfying. The lentil “meatballs” take some time to make, but they’re well worth the effort. They also freeze beautifully for up to a month: After baking, freeze them in an airtight container. Reheat in a 350°F oven 20 to 30 minutes.

This recipe calls for store-bought marinara sauce, but if you’d rather make your own, try Mryna’s Marinara Sauce.


Big plate of vegan spaghetti with vegan meatballs and red sauce served in gray-blue bowl and table


  • 1 cup dry brown lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1 8-oz. package button or cremini mushrooms, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 3 small cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons no-salt-added tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. dry whole grain spaghetti
  • 6 cups purchased oil-free marinara sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil


  1. In a large saucepan combine lentils and 1 cup water. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Cover and cook about 15 minutes more or until lentils are tender. Uncover and cook until any remaining liquid has evaporated.
  2. Stir in the next seven ingredients (through salt and pepper). Cook, uncovered, over low about 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and pan is very dry, stirring occasionally. (Watch carefully so lentils do not scorch.) Spread mixture in a shallow baking pan; cool completely.
  3. Preheat oven to 250°F. Line a 15×10-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Scoop out 2 Tbsp. lentil mixture, shape into a ball, and place in prepared pan. Repeat to make about 20 lentil balls. Bake 45 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp.
  4. Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package directions. In a saucepan heat marinara sauce. Drain spaghetti, return to pot, and toss with 3 cups of the warm marinara sauce.
  5. To serve, top spaghetti with lentil balls and top with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle with basil.

Comments (5)

(4.33 from 3 votes)
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Liz2 days ago
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You can make this even healthier by spiralizing zucchini for your noodles.

Pat4 days ago
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Can I sub Gluten free oat flour or almond flour to make them GF?

Sarah3 days ago
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I haven’t made this yet, what can I sub the mushrooms for? I’m allergic to mushrooms so I need an alternative

Connie Warner4 days ago
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Made this last night. It came out to 25 meatballs but maybe my measurements were slightly off. I loved this and so did my picky Italian husband! :-D. It does take some time, but I find joy in preparing meals w/ plants. Will make again. Thank you!

Evan1 week ago
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Yum!! Worth the effort. Freeze some for later.

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about the author

Darshana Thacker

Darshana Thacker is chef and culinary project manager for Forks Over Knives. A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, she is the author of Forks Over Knives: Flavor! She created the recipes for Forks Over Knives Family and was a lead recipe contributor to the New York Times bestseller The Forks Over Knives Plan. Her recipes have been published in The Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease Cookbook, Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook, Forks Over Knives: The Plant-Based Way to Health, and LA Yoga magazine online. Visit for more.

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