Recipe from The Veg Box by David and Stephen Flynn, published by Penguin Life, £20 out now 

This delicious vegan take on spaghetti and meatballs is quick and easy, comforting and a great anytime dinner. A great way to get veggies and wholefoods into a familiar family favourite. As an optional extra, serve with some vegan Parmesan to give another pop of flavour.

Serves: 4 Time: 40 mins 


  • 100g cashew nuts
  • 400g dried wholemeal spaghetti
  • 100g uncooked beetroot
  • 2 red onions
  • 4 small cloves of garlic
  • 1 x 400g tin of black beans
  • 100g fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds (optional)
  • 2 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • A few fresh basil leaves, to serve


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C fan/190°C/gas 5. 
  2. Spread the cashews on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 6–7 minutes. Set aside. 
  3. Bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil and add a generous pinch of salt. Add the spaghetti and cook as per the packet instructions, then drain, rinse, and put the pasta back into the same pan. 
  4. While the pasta is cooking, let’s make our beetballs. Wash the beetroot and remove any dirt and blemishes, then coarsely grate it into a bowl. Finely chop the onions and garlic. Drain and rinse the black beans. 
  5. Put a non-stick pan on a high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and once hot add the onions and cook for 2–3 minutes, until they start to brown. Turn the heat down to medium, add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove half the garlic and onions and set aside to use later for the tomato sauce. 
  6. Add the grated beetroot to the onions and garlic in the pan, along with 1 teaspoon of salt and the drained black beans, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, then transfer to a food processor with the breadcrumbs, toasted cashew nuts, and a pinch of black pepper, and blend until smooth. 
  7. Remove the mixture from the food processor and shape into 14–16 small smooth balls about the size of a lime. Flatten each ball slightly. 
  8. Put the same non-stick pan back on a high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Once hot, add the fennel seeds and fry for 30 seconds, then add the reserved onion and garlic. Fry for another couple of minutes, then add the chopped tomatoes, 1 teaspoon of salt and a pinch of black pepper, and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook for 5–10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato sauce to the cooked pasta, mix well, and set aside while you cook the beetballs. 
  9. Put the same non-stick pan on a high heat and add 2 tablespoons of oil. Once hot, add the flattened beetballs and fry in batches until brown, about 2–3 minutes on each side. Remove from the heat. 
  10. Serve the spaghetti with 3 or 4 beetballs per person, with some basil leaves and grated vegan Parmesan scattered over. 

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