close
description

Want more recipes?

Download our recipe app and get hundreds of whole-food, plant-based recipes at your fingertips.

4.7
description
Download the app
  • 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. Try more of our reader-favorite vegan recipes today!

 

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.
tags:

Comments (36)

(4.05 from 19 votes)
Your Rating has been added Your Comment has been added
Add a Comment and/or Rating
Leave a Reply
Recipe Rating
Please provide a rating
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
You need to provide a comment or rating to submit
Beth2 months ago
Reply
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

Delicious but I did add a lot of flavor enhancers to the sauce. As others said, the balls did fall apart but so what! I will make this again.

Joe2 months ago
Reply
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

6

D’Arcy2 months ago
Reply
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

This recipe is a hit in our home. As other comments have mentioned, we were skeptical about the amount of onions and the use of mushrooms. Don’t be… the onions cook down nicely. And the mushrooms go through a vegan-voodoo process and add a nice meaty texture and flavor. Enjoy!

patricia3 months ago
Reply
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

Yum! I thought it was delicious in flavor and I always appreciate recipes where I can make things a day or so in advance.

My only problem was in keeping the balls intact- like homemade veggie burgers, they fell apart. Ideas??

Tofu Cat3 months ago
Reply
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

What can be used in place of the mushrooms? Mushrooms are gross.

Allyson1 month ago
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

Delicious! I make these all of the time. We’re hooked!

D’Arcy2 months ago
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

While untested in our home, you may consider chickpeas, zucchini or even sun dried tomatoes as substitutes for mushrooms.

Sherry Siddall3 months ago
Reply
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

I love Forks Over Knives recipes. That said, it would be helpful if you included nutritional information. For this recipe I used a food processor to chop the onions and mushrooms and garlic, and it worked well. I did add an additional half cup of water to the lentil mixture about halfway. A tasty recipe.

Lydia4 months ago
Reply
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

I’m actually pretty surprised at the negative reviews. I’ve made these half a dozen times and they’re always a hit. I make them exactly as the recipe instructs and I freeze the leftovers to enjoy for longer.

Susan FitzGibbon4 months ago
Reply
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

One cup of water for one cup of lentils is insufficient to cook the lentils. Final taste of meatballs was just OK, nothing special.

Chris G.4 months ago
Reply
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

The meatball were pretty rough. Way too many onions (and then onion powder on top of it?). The texture is crunchy because the onions and garlic are almost raw testing, which is odd. And the flavor is just not good overall. It has potential though. Next time I’ll half or even quarter the amount of onions. Sauté the onions, garlic and mushrooms before adding to the lentils as well. Once the lentil mixture is done cooking in the pot, I’ll add them to a food processor to mince up. Then roll into balls and pop in the oven. Think this will be a step in the right direction.

Tina4 months ago
Reply
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

Takes a bit of time but, WOW, delicious! Here are my tips:

1. I omitted the tomato paste for a more all-round flavor for use in other dishes (perhaps a veggie stir-fry or on top of a salad).
2. I added the frozen meatballs to a sauté pan to heat up with the pasta sauce and they broke apart, giving me more of a bolognese sauce than meatballs (still delicious). So keep separate if you like that ‘meatball’ look and feel.
3. They freeze incredibly well! Once baked and cooled, I froze them on the baking tray until solid, then transferred them to a silicone freezer bag… easy to pull out one or two as needed instead of a giant clump of meatballs.
4. Great use for mushrooms that are a bit past their prime but are still edible
5. It does take time… make this while you’re doing other meal prep and it’s a breeze.
6. Lastly, I was sorry I didn’t make two batches

Sandy N4 months ago
Reply
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

I was very disappointed by this recipe. I’m a good cook and know how to follow a recipe — this recipe did not turn out well. I will not make it again. I will finish what I’ve made because I hate to throw out food but I won’t enjoy it.

Rebekah Welch2 months ago
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

These lentil balls are delicious! I followed the recipe as written and they are yummy! One cup of water to one cup of lentils is truly all the water you you need. When you then add the mushrooms (along with onion and garlic) the mushrooms introduce more moisture. The only thing I did change was at 250 degrees for 45 minutes I found I wanted more cooking time, so I increased the temperature to 350 and baked them for an additional 20 minutes. I highly recommend this recipe and if you follow the recipe as-is they should turn out perfectly.

El4 months ago
Reply
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

Will the recipe still work without the mushrooms or is there a good substitute?

Ella4 months ago
Reply
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

I too am looking for advice on what to substitute for the mushrooms, as I don’t tolerate them well. I haven’t made this recipe yet, but I’m thinking of trying a combination of finely chopped zucchini and walnuts (1/2 cup of each) in place of the mushrooms. Walnuts are great in other veggie meatball recipes, adding yummy protein and fat (including Omega-3); they can go in at the end, no need to cook them. I decided on zucchini as well for some neutral tasting vegetable bulk, but it is very nutritious as well. Depending on your tastes, I’m sure other veggies could be used – cauliflower has a meaty texture; carrots and red cabbage would be really pretty, if not meat-like. But who says this has to be brown? 😉

I saw some people asking about what to sub for wheat flour to make it gluten free – GF oat flour would work great, or brown rice flour. You’re just making the mixture less sticky so it’s easier to work with.

Sandy4 months ago
Reply
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

What gluten free flour can you use?

Shellie3 months ago
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

I would use gluten free oatmeal in place of wheat flour

Denise Wallace4 months ago
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

The flour is used to hold the lentils together. So badically you could use ground flax or chia instead. Those work wonders for anyone not wanting to use flour as a binder

Brenda4 months ago
Reply
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

I’m allergic to mushrooms, what can I use instead?

Roberta Double3 months ago
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

I would think some cooked brown rice would work in place of the mushrooms. I’d try 3/4 of a cup or six ounces. It would add the bulk, absorb the flavor and be sticky.

April5 months ago
Reply
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

These meatballs were not worth all of the effort. If the result had been amazingly delicious then I wouldn’t mind all the work, but these are certainly NOT worth my time.

Rachel5 months ago
Reply
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

This recipe is so good and it’s even husband-approved! 😉

Joan R4 months ago
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

Made these meatballs today- yummy!

Karen B6 months ago
Reply
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

I really like these lentil balls. Mostly because they really do freeze well and so make a tasty quick meal. I didn’t cook the lentils quite long enough so I imagine they will be even better next batch.

Heather6 months ago
Reply
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

Not sure what I did wrong, but I only got 15 vs the 20 listed in the recipe. That’s totally OK though. They tasted great. It does take some time to make them, but I think it was worth the effort since I can freeze them for future use. Definitely recommend and I would make them again.

Dorothy powell8 months ago
Reply
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

Wonderful meat ball recipe .I added red pepper flakes to recipe for spicer meatballs . They also freeze well.

Susan4 months ago
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

What amount of red pepper flakes did you add? Thanks!

Lorie11 months ago
Reply
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

One cup of water to 1 cup of dry lentils???

Debbie Ogata1 year ago
Reply
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

Is 250 really the correct temperature?

Liz1 year ago
Reply
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

You can make this even healthier by spiralizing zucchini for your noodles.

Pat1 year ago
Reply
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

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

Sarah1 year ago
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

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

Connie Warner1 year ago
Reply
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

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 year ago
Reply
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

Yum!! Worth the effort. Freeze some for later.

Cindi M.1 year ago
Do you want to report this comment as inappropriate?

I need to be patient and not take the lentil mixture off the burner too soon next time. The “meat” balls were delicious in spite of me! Not hard to make, but it does take some time. And patience 😉

Healthy eatingshouldn't be a hassle

description

With weekly meal plans, Forks Meal Planner takes the hard work out of making nutritious meals the whole family will enjoy.

Get meal planner

Learn how to cookplant-based meals at home

description

Forks Over Knives’ online cooking course will help you learn new techniques, flavors, and skills to live your very best life.

Join the course
description
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 DarshanasKitchen.com for more.

Big plate of vegan spaghetti with vegan meatballs and red sauce served in gray-blue bowl and table see more from this author
description
Free download

Free 5-Day Meal Plan!

Get a taste for healthy, fuss-free meal planning with this free five-day meal plan from Forks Meal Planner!

More from Forks Over Knives

Join our mailing list

Get free recipes and the latest info on living a happy, healthy plant-based lifestyle.

Copy link
Powered by Social Snap