Rainbow Lentil Meatballs with Arrabbiata Sauce

A vegan version of a family favourite recipe, these rainbow lentil meatballs made with red and brown lentils is an easy crowd-pleasing pasta dish with a delicious arrabbiata chilli sauce for an extra kick.

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This dish is loaded with protein and fibre from the health-busting lentils and vitamin C-rich canned tomatoes – both are a must for the vegan store cupboard.

Serves 4
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 45 min
Total time: 1 h 5 min


For the lentil meatballs:
300g (10oz) cooked red lentils, thoroughly drained
85g (3oz) cooked brown lentils, thoroughly drained
3 tbsp aquafaba, lightly beaten
45g (1½ oz) panko breadcrumbs
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
Zest of 1 large lemon
¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper
400g (14oz) egg-free spaghetti
Plant-based Parmesan cheese, to serve (optional)
For the arrabbiata sauce:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 x 400g (14oz) cans chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp crushed dried chillies
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4). Lightly oil a baking tray. In a large mixing bowl, combine the red lentils, brown lentils, aquafaba, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, oregano, lemon zest, and cayenne.

2. With your hands, form approximately 1 tablespoon of the lentil mixture into a meatball and place on the baking tray. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Bake for 25 minutes, rotating the meatballs halfway through.

3. Meanwhile, to make the arrabiatta sauce, in a saucepan warm the olive oil over a medium–low heat. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes, or until soft. Add the tomatoes and chillies. Simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes, or until the sauce is warmed through. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. While the sauce is simmering, add the pasta to a large pan of boiling salted water and cook for 8–10 minutes or according to packet instructions. Drain and return to the pan.

5. Place the pasta and meatballs on 4 plates, top with the sauce, and serve immediately. Sprinkle with plant-based Parmesan cheese, if you like.

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