Wooden board with bowl of no-meat balls in a marinara sauce, served with spaghetti and crusty bread. Taken from Vegan Fakeaway book by Katy Beskow.

no-meat balls with marinara sauce

Recipe from Vegan Fakeaway by Katy Beskow (Quadrille, £15) Photography © Luke Albert.

There’s nothing more comforting than no-meat balls and a classic marinara sauce. Serve with egg-free spaghetti (100g/3½oz per person) cooked until al dente, or loaded into sub rolls for the ultimate hot sandwich.

Serves 4

Marinara sauce suitable for freezing

For the no-meat balls

3 tbsp sunflower oil

1 medium (about 300g/10oz) aubergine (eggplant), evenly diced

1 red onion, roughly chopped

1 tsp dried oregano

4 thick slices of white bread

generous pinch of sea salt and black pepper

handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

For the marinara sauce

1 tbsp sunflower oil

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 x 400g (14oz) can chopped tomatoes

1 tsp sugar

handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

get ahead

The marinara sauce can be made in advance and frozen. The no-meat balls are best when cooked fresh, however the uncooked mix can be made and chilled one day ahead.

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan (skillet) and add the aubergine, onion and oregano. Cook over a medium-high heat for 10–12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until gently browned. Blitz the bread in a food processor to fine breadcrumbs. Spoon the breadcrumbs into a bowl and set aside.

Blitz the cooked aubergine and onion in the food processor until semi-smooth. Add the breadcrumbs in three stages, blitzing after each addition, to form a firm mixture. Stir in the parsley and season well. Allow to cool for a few minutes.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the frying pan over a medium-high heat.

Roll the mixture into walnut-sized balls and carefully place in the oil. Cook for 3–4 minutes on each side, until golden at the top and bottom. Remove from the pan, drain on kitchen paper and keep warm.

To make the marinara sauce, heat the oil and garlic in a pan over a medium heat for 2 minutes. Pour in the chopped tomatoes and sugar, then simmer for 8–10 minutes, stirring often. Remove from the heat, stir through the parsley, then season to taste.

Serve the no-meat balls alongside the hot marinara sauce, with spaghetti or loaded into bread subs.

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