If you’re into juicing, like me, several times a week you make an awesome fresh juice in the morning. And end up with juice pulp you just can’t stand to throw out. Everyone I know who’s gotten into juicing has always, almost from the start asked me: Hey, what can I do with the pulp? My favorite solution is to save it in a container in the fridge and that night (or maybe the next day) use it for… Spaghetti and Vegan Meatballs. (also known as: Notmeatballs). My other favorites include adding it to pancakes, muffins, or using it for veggieburgers.
The best pulp for this recipe, in my experience, is from apple, carrot, beet, and celery juice. Can you use any pulp for these fake meatballs? Theoretically, yes, but they might be kind of weird if you made apple-pineapple juice this morning. Since we almost always have carrots and often beets in our morning juice, the veg side of things keeps it from getting too fruity. Too much whole lemon or wheatgrass or fruit might be weird, but experiment! Take chances. Go wild. You’ll have thousands of other meals to make up for it and failed experiments always make good cooking stories, don’t they?
I’ve included tips at the end on how you can make this without pulp, which works well, too. The flavors will actually be more intense, so you might want to use less salt and spices.
Don’t panic if your Notmeatballs crumble or fall apart in the sauce. This can happen if you stir them in the sauce too much or they don’t bind well. You’ll just have an equally tasty Notmeat (bolognese) sauce!
Spaghetti and Vegan Meatballs (Notmeatballs)
serves 2-3 / time: 40 min
2 cups / 400g / 3-4 large tomatoes chopped or pureed
1 cup water or veg stock
1 small onion diced
1-2 cloves garlic diced
1 Tbs tomato paste
1 tspn lemon juice or balsamic vinegar
1 tspn herbs / Italian seasoning ground/chopped (basil, oregano, rosemary, sage)
1/2 tspn black pepper ground
1/2 tspn salt
1/2 tspn sugar or agave
1-2 Tbs olive oil
- In a large sauce pan, heat olive oil.
- Sauté garlic and onion with pepper, 2-3 min.
- Add tomatoes, tomato paste, bring to low simmer.
- Add herbs, spices, salt, sugar, lemon juice / vinegar, 1/2 cup water; stir, return to simmer.
- Continue to cook tomato sauce on low, adding water gradually, stirring regularly.
- Sauce should be thinner than usual as Notmeatballs will soak up some liquid.
- Continue to simmer and reduce sauce on low for about 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently (the last 5 min or so should be with Notmeatballs in the sauce).
250g Spaghetti or other pasta
- Set water to boil in a large pot.
- Boil noodles according to directions, starting when tomato sauce is simmering.
- Drain pasta, toss with a bit of oil, cover, set aside.
1 cup / 220g juice pulp (see Variations)
1/2 cup / 115g / 4 oz tofu crumbled / mashed
2-3 Tbs chickpea flour
1/4 cup sunflower seeds ground
1 tspn sesame seeds ground
1 tspn flax seeds ground
2-3 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 Tbs soy sauce
1/2 tspn sesame oil
1/2 tspn salt
1/2 tspn black pepper ground
1 tspn herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, sage, etc.)
1 Tbs lemon juice or balsamic vinegar
oil for frying
- Heat about 1/2 to 1 inch (2-3 cm) of oil for frying on medium high in a small pot or saucepan.
- Grind nuts and seeds*, mix all Notmeatballs ingredients in mixing bowl thoroughly.
- Add more chickpea flour until batter sticks together.
- Wet hands and form walnut-shaped balls.
- Oil is ready when a bit of batter sizzles intensely and rises to the top.
- Fry 5-8 balls at a time in oil, turning / rolling frequently until dark brown but not burnt, 5-6 min.
- As balls finish, use slotted spoon to transfer them to the tomato sauce.
- Roll and drench balls in sauce, cover and keep on low.
- Repeat for all balls until finished, mix in sauce gently and cook, covered for 2-3 min.
- Arrange noodles and top with sauce and Notmeatballs.
- Garnish with fresh basil or parsley and serve.
If you don’t have a juicer or juice pulp, you can substitute 1/2 cup shredded carrot + 1/2 cup diced onion for the 1 cup of pulp. You’ll probably need to add 1-2 Tbs of water (or soy milk) to the Notmeatballs batter to make up for the moisture difference. The sauce can be altered in countless ways, including using chili, a dash of cooking wine, sliced mushrooms, more herbs, some soy/almond milk for a creamier sauce. Last night I made the Notmeatballs with finely chopped smoked tofu, which worked very well, too.
*The ground seeds/nuts are not absolutely essential, but will add to the flavor and binding. I use a coffee grinder, but you could use a small food processor — or mortar and pestle if you’re feeling old school and masochistic. If you don’t use any nuts you will need to add more flour to get the right batter consistency.
Let me know what you come up with and how it turns out for you!