Spinach Spaghetti and Vegan Meatballs

I spent the last year abroad in Japan, and while I was living in a University dorm I tried to maintain my vegan lifestyle. Out of fear and lack of awareness of Japanese food markets, my first month was an assortment of pasta recipes. Let’s be honest, vegan or not, pasta–the American way–is easy to cook. Boil water, cook noodles add sauce, and voila!

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When I first went vegan the easiest thing I tried to make was vegan pasta; however, it wasn’t always a healthy vegan pasta.

I’m hoping that this recipe will provide some quick alternatives for cooking a vegan pasta that is packed with nutrition.

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So first off let’s talk spaghetti. Anyone on a diet will turn their noses up at the carb heavy white grain pastas, but luckily we have alternatives. When I went to Sprout’s the other day I found a beautiful bag of al dente pasta company’s bona chia. It was a spinach fettuccine that was vegan. I really love veggie pasta because I feel like I get fuller faster than all wheat pasta. Of course if possible I’d love to make my own pasta, but who has time for that, seriously? So for those of us on a time crunch a pasta that cooks in 3 minutes is awesome.

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Then of course the real inspiration for this pasta adventure in the middle of a 104 degree summer was a forgotten bag of vegan meatballs. I found the abandoned bag tucked away in my freezer and with just one look my mom said, “Let’s have pasta for lunch!”

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I started cooking when I was 16, worked my way up from microwavable meals to full course dinners. Now I would consider myself a household cook–meaning I cook for my household. Though I love cooking for loved ones, I especially love cooking with them. I cooked the pasta while my mother came up with this wild salad (pickles, sunflower seeds, green beans, kale, carrots and chickpeas with a vegan ranch dressing she made). Therefore, this meal is extra special–a collaboration between my mother and me.

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Plus I’ve included a link to the spotify playlist “Folks Always Say” that we listened to as we cooked together. Feel free to check it out!

Spinach Spaghetti and Vegan Meatballs

Prep Time: 15 minutes                        Bake time: 30 minutes*                       Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 3 tbs of vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1 bag of frozen vegan meatballs (if you don’t have this substitute portobello mushrooms)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 cup of diced zucchini
  • 1 cup diced mushrooms
  • 3 cups of vegan pasta of choice

Instructions

  1. First you’ll want to start by boiling water in a large enough pot.
  2. While water is boiling in a large sauce pan, On another stove top add 2 tbs of vegan butter and melt it in a sauce pan on medium heat. Once it is melted add in your diced vegetables.
  3. Then add the juice of one lemon.
  4. Once the vegetables start to become fragrant add in the meatballs, the last tbs of butter, and the last juice of the second lemon.
  5. Let the meatballs cook on low heat, and put a top over the pan.
  6. While the meatballs and veggies are cooking in your lemon butter sauce, add the pasta to the now boiling water.
  7. Cook your pasta till it’s completed time, then drain and add to the sauce pan.
  8. Mix the pasta, meatballs and sauce well and cook for 2 minutes mixing regularly. Once the pasta is well mixed and well-coated in the lemon sauce transfer from sauce pan into a pasta bowl. It is now ready to serve.

Notes

*I added fresh basil and rosemary from our herb garden to the pasta sauce at the end.

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