Pumpkin seed cannellini meatballs in tomato sauce with zucchini spaghetti

It doesn’t get much better than this tomato sauce. It’s amazing with pasta, sure, but also with this raw zucchini spaghetti I find myself eating so often these days. A really delicious and very healthy meal. And it gets particularly great if you also take the time to prepare these vegan pumpkin seed cannelloni bean meatballs to serve with it.My top tips to get the sauce perfect are: use a full-bodied dense good wine (some say it’s a waste, I say its not). Have plenty of tasting spoons at hand to taste and adjust the flavouring until your absolutely happy. Don’t be nervous to add extra herbs. And for special occasions, upgrade to fresh thyme and oregano (instead of dried).
Pumpkin seed cannellini meatballs in tomato sauce with zucchini spaghetti
  • ¾ cup pumpkins seeds, soaked in hot water for at least ten minutes
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. thyme
  • 1 tbsp. oregano
  • 2 cans Cannellini beans, well-rinsed
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 – 3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1.5 tbsp. thyme
  • 1.5 tbsp. oregano
  • Approx. 10 leaves fresh basilica (more to garnish)
  • 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
  • 1.5 cup water, more if needed
  • 2 tbsp. agave or other sweetener
  • 1 tsp. salt, more to taste
  • 3 medium sized, well-washed zucchinis (or more, if your guests are hungry!)
  1. The Meatballs: Place the pumpkin seeds in hot water and turn the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Add the olive oil, chopped red onion, chopped garlic, thyme and oregano to a frying pan. Leave on low heat for a couple of minutes while occasionally stirring until the onions start to soften. Remove the soaking 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.
  3. 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 (you will need to let it cool a little first so you can use your hands). Add a baking paper to a baking tray on which you place the meatballs. Bake in the oven for approximately 40 minutes – it depends on oven type 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.
  4. The Sauce: Add the olive oil to a large 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.
  5. Ten minutes before serving, taste, and slowly and patiently adjust the flavour with more salt, thyme, oregano, red wine, agave etc. Add a little more water and red wine throughout cooking if needed to get to the right consistency.
  6. The Zucchini Spaghetti: Make spaghetti out of well-washed zucchinis using a mandolin, spiralizer or even a potato peeler. Place the spaghetti on serving plates, add the meatballs and then very generously pour over the tomato sauce. Garnish with some fresh basilica.