Recipe courtesy of Rachael Ray

Meat-Free Meatballs in Marinara Sauce

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 30 min
  • Active: 30 min
  • Yield: 4 servings





Salad Dressing:

"Clean out the Fridge" Salad (see Cook's Note):


  1. For the balls: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F with a rack in the center of the oven. Heat a large pot of water for pasta. Line a baking sheet with foil and top with parchment paper.
  2. Put plant-based meat in a large bowl. Put panko in a small bowl and moisten with milk or half-and-half. Put the egg in small bowl and beat lightly. To the plant-based meat, add egg, moistened panko, cheese, salt, red pepper flakes, oregano, fennel pollen, granulated onion, garlic, parsley and a drizzle of EVOO (see Cook's Note) and mix together with your hands. Roll 24 balls slightly larger than golf balls and place on baking sheet. Roast 15 to 17 minutes to golden and remove from the oven.
  3. For the sauce: Meanwhile, heat a cast-iron enamel Dutch oven or large saucepan over low heat with EVOO, add garlic, red pepper flakes, fennel pollen and oregano, grate in the onion and stir. Add wine, raise the heat and cook 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, passata or puree and a sprinkle of sugar and salt, bring to bubble, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
  4. For the pasta: While sauce simmers the last 8 minutes or so, salt boiling water and cook pasta a minute or so less than directions. Reserve about 3/4 cup salty water, drain pasta and add back to hot pot. Add half the salty water, butter or EVOO, cheese and about two-thirds of the sauce. Toss pasta and adjust seasonings. Add roasted balls to remaining sauce.
  5. Serve pasta in a large family-style bowl or in shallow individual bowls topped with balls and basil. Pass more cheese and red pepper at the table.
  6. For the salad dressing: Whisk to combine vinegar, sugar, granulated garlic, granulated onion, dried oregano, dried thyme, fennel pollen and red pepper flakes in a medium bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil, season with salt and whisk until well combined.
  7. For the "clean out the fridge" salad: Place the lettuce, onion, celery, baby carrots and radishes (or whatever salad ingredients you have in your fridge) in a large salad bowl. When ready to serve, season with salt, drizzle dressing over salad and toss to combine.

Cook’s Note

You can add a drizzle of EVOO to the plant-based meatball mixture or spray the formed balls with EVOO non-aerosol spray. Since it's really a "clean out your fridge" salad, the ingredients listed are just suggestions. Use whatever combination of greens and veggies you have in your fridge.