Spaghetti and meatballs=heavy, comfort food=winter. Am I right? A few changes to one of my favorite meals turns it into a lighter, more summer-appropriate dish. Zucchini noodles+quick tomato sauce+bean balls=an easy, healthy, and light summer meal.
I’m not going to try to pass off zucchini noodles as regular pasta. They are a vegetable, a raw vegetable, so let me state the obvious: they don’t taste like pasta. That’s not the point. The point is that you can use these lovely noodles as a vehicle for traditional pasta sauce and meatless balls and instead of feeling heavy and tired after the meal, you’ll feel energized like you should after dinner.
I don’t have a spiralizer. I made these zucchini noodles with this ten dollar julienne peeler. It works beautifully to create long, thin noodles with all kinds of vegetables and doesn’t take up precious kitchen real estate. It could not be easier to use. Plus, it’s only $10. I highly recommend it.
The tomato sauce is heartier than a regular marinara sauce thanks to the addition of portobello mushrooms, which really give it a meaty texture. Of course the flavors of a tomato sauce will intensify if you let it simmer for hours, but the reality in my kitchen is this sauce is ready in 30 minutes.
The bean balls are also quick and easy to make, also. You simply mash the beans, mix in the rest of the ingredients, and bake them in the oven for 18 minutes. They hold together nicely and are perfect with this chunky tomato sauce. They aren’t the prettiest food on the block, but I’ll show you a picture just so you can see what they look like when they aren’t swimming in a sauce.
We have enjoyed this as a light spring/summer meal twice now and it will definitely make an appearance on my meal plan throughout the warm months. I hope you love it, too!Print
Zucchini Noodles with Chunky Tomato Sauce and Bean Balls
Zucchini noodles, paired with a chunky tomato sauce and bean balls makes for a light, healthy summer-time meal that is vegan and gluten-free. Zucchini noodles (zoodles) are easy to make with an inexpensive julienne slicer.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: main meal
- Cuisine: American
- 12 small or 6 large zucchinis
For the tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon organic refined coconut oil, or oil of choice
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 portobello mushroom caps, chopped
- 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1 (15 1/2 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon marjoram
- 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
For the bean balls
- 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
- 2/3 cup rolled oats
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (parmesan cheese may be substituted)
- 3 tablespoons Italian seasoning blend
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Make zucchini noodles by using a julienne slicer (or a spiralizer if you prefer). Set aside in a large bowl.
- To make your sauce, start by heating the oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven.
- Cook the onion and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped mushroom and allow to cook another 10 minutes.
- Stir in the tomatoes, tomato sauce, oregano, marjoram, salt, and pepper. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in the fresh basil.
- While your mushrooms are cooking during the sauce-making, start making your bean balls. Put your beans into a large bowl and mash (I use a potato masher for this). It’s okay to have a few beans in tact.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Use your hand to knead the mixture together, making sure the ingredients are well incorporated.
- Roll the bean mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls and place them on a baking sheet that is either lightly coated with oil or lined with parchment paper. You will get about 28-30 balls.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 16-18 minutes, turning once halfway through the cooking time.
- To serve, place a serving of zucchini noodles on a plate, top with 4-6 meatballs, and finally cover it all with the tomato sauce. If you aren’t vegan and can enjoy dairy, feel free to top it with some freshly grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
- Serving Size: 1 serving
- Calories: 246
- Sugar: 12.1g
- Sodium: 321mg
- Fat: 16.1g
- Carbohydrates: 43.5g
- Protein: 11.1g