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Want meatballs without the meat? This vegan spaghetti and meatballs is the best recipe you’ll find: complete with vegan Parmesan on top.

Vegan spaghetti and meatballs
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This post was created in partnership with One Degree Organic Foods. All opinions are our own. 

Let’s talk vegan spaghetti and meatballs. Vegan wha? Half of you reading probably think that vegan meatballs sound incredible; the other half wouldn’t touch them with a 10 foot pole. But we promise: this vegan spaghetti and meatballs are absolute cozy, comforting deliciousness that you need in your life stat. Here’s the backstory behind them.

Related: 10 Romantic Dinner Recipes

Sprouted oats

Creating this vegan spaghetti and meatballs

In February, I took a trip to New York City right after our Pretty Simple Cooking cookbook launch and stayed my friend Gena Hamshaw of the blog The Full Helping. Trust me, if you’re on the fence about vegan food, hang around Gena for a few minutes and you’ll see how delicious it can be! Gena took me out to a fantastic vegan restaurant called Candle Cafe West. While there were lots of tasty sounding items on the menu, I stopped reading when I got to vegan spaghetti and meatballs with vegan Parmesan. It sounded so comforting and delicious, so I ordered it. And promptly fell in love.

Returning home, I told Alex about this delicious vegan spaghetti and meatballs with vegan Parmesan from New York City. Could you help me recreate a recipe? The next day, I had an event and was out late. When I got home, Alex had some really, really amazing vegan spaghetti and meatballs waiting for me. I can’t quite explain the comfort of sitting in our dark kitchen at 10 pm, twirling pasta doused with tangy marinara and topped with vegan meatballs.

Now, some of our recipe testers claim this vegan spaghetti and meatballs recipe would win over a meat lover. At the very least, they’re perfect for vegetarians and vegans who want that cozy vibe of meatballs without the meat. To us, they’re a special occasion meal when we’re in the comfort food mood.

The ingredients for the meatballs are simple: just oats, potatoes, cashews, garlic and spices! They’re best when pan fried in a bit of oil, but we’ve added a baked option below as well. High-quality marinara sauce is key here: it brings in the flavorful, savory component even more. Or you can use our Easy Marinara Sauce or Homemade Spaghetti Sauce! And the vegan Parmesan — well, we’re new converts! It’s got the texture of shaker can Parmesan cheese, but it’s fully-plant-based and super savory. >> How to make vegan Parmesan.

Vegan spaghetti and meatballs

The farmers behind it all

Do you know the names of your farmers? Maybe for produce, but how about foods like…oats? Get this: the farmer of the oats used in this vegan spaghetti and meatballs recipe is Eldon Kebernik from Alberta, Canada. I just watched a video of him talking about his passion for organic farming! Kind of surreal, right?

This kind of magic comes from One Degree Organic, the only business I know that is this intentional and thoughtful in sourcing quality ingredients from family farmers. They bring food from a farm to your table so there’s only one degree of separation between you and person who grew your food. And they’re a family business too! My friend Sondra’s family runs it, and her son Andrew is very close in age to Larson. (Side note: Larson loves looking at his internet friend Andrew on their organic cereal boxes.)

Using sprouted oats

You can use any oats for this recipe — however, One Degree Organics are the only oats we know of that are sprouted, organic and gluten-free, and traceable to the exact farmer who grew them. What’s the difference with sprouted grains? Sprouted oats boast more nutrients and are easy to digest. But to us, the most compelling thing is getting to see the farmer’s face and hear him talk about his passion for organic farming. Pretty incredible. Thanks to One Degree and Eldon for making these vegan meatballs possible!

Where to buy these organic sprouted oats? Find One Degree Organics in a store near you!

Spaghetti with Vegan Meatballs

This vegan spaghetti and meatballs recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free. For gluten-free, use gluten-free spaghetti noodles.

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Vegan Italian Recipes

Vegan Spaghetti and Meatballs

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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Want meatballs without the meat? This vegan spaghetti and meatballs is the best recipe you’ll find: complete with vegan Parmesan on top. 




  1. Boil ½ cup water. Place the oats in a bowl and cover with the boiling water. Soak 5 minutes until the water is fully absorbed.
  2. Meanwhile, wash and dry the red potatoes, leaving the skin on. Chop them into quarters and place them in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the texture is evenly chopped and has a consistency like rice (scrape once and pulse again to ensure there are no large chunks). Transfer the potatoes to a clean, dry towel and squeeze out the moisture by wringing the towel a few times (using a dark towel is best because the red skin can color the towel). Then measure out 1 ½ cups of the chopped potatoes (discard any remaining).
  3. Peel the garlic. To the food processor, add the cashews and garlic and process until finely chopped. Add the potatoes, soaked oats, oregano, onion powder, chili powder, cumin, kosher salt, and black pepper. Pulse a few times until fully combined.
  4. Form the potato mixture into about 1-inch wide balls by squeezing the dough together, then rolling it lightly, making about 28 in all. Place the balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet. When ready to fry, cover the entire bottom of a large frying pan with a layer olive oil and heat at just over medium heat. Place the balls into the oil; it should lightly bubble when the balls meet the oil (if not, adjust the heat). Fry the balls in two batches, turning each one frequently until all sides are golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Take care of the hot oil, as it may spit. Remove the balls to a plate lined with paper towels. (Alternatively, you can bake the balls in a 400F oven on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes, then flip and brush with olive oil; bake another 25 minutes until browned and crisp.)
  5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. Boil the pasta until al dente, following the package instructions. If the pasta finishes before the meatballs, place it back into the pan with a drizzle of olive oil to prevent sticking.
  6. Serve the meatballs with the pasta covered in high-quality marinara sauce (your favorite brand, or homemade if desired), and top with Vegan Parmesan.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian

Looking for vegan Italian recipes? 

Here are a few more vegan Italian recipes you should try:

Related: Vegetarian Meatballs

Looking for pasta recipes?

Here are a few of our favorite vegan and vegetarian pasta recipes:

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Jemi mcdonald says:

    What are ‘red potatoes’? Red-skinned new potatoes? Yams? Sweet potatoes? And is oregano fresh or dried?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Red skinned white potatoes. Dried oregano.

  2. Chris neal says:

    Just wondering if you can use any kind of rolled Oats.

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      Any kind should work but we use standard old-fashioned.

  3. Francine Bollman says:

    These are amazing! Great texture, and they stay together. I made them exactly as written, then threw them in my homemade sauce to simmer. Hands down the best vegan meatball ever!

    1. Sonja says:

      We are SO so glad to hear this — thank you so much! They’re our favorite too :)

    2. keisha says:

      I know this is a long-shot since your comment is from over a year ago, but did you cook them prior to putting them in the sauce or cook them IN the sauce? I ask because for my traditional meatballs, I put the raw meat in the sauce to simmer, and I’m thinking I would like to do the same with these if they turned out well for you.

      1. Alex Overhiser says:

        Hi! We cooked them prior to the sauce. If desired, you could simmer the cooked meatballs in the sauce for a few minutes, but they’ll get a little soggy.

  4. Hazel says:

    Do you think this could be made with almonds or walnuts instead of cashews? To avoid an allergen, for example? Thanks!

    1. Sonja says:

      Good question! The cashews have a great texture that bring together the meatballs. However, I do think you could try them with walnuts since it’s a softer nut. Let us know if you try that out!