The Substantial Salad is founded by Global Explorer, Fellow Foodie, and Art Aficionado, Nicole F. Her plant-based recipes are created with love, to nourish and inspire. Follow her on the ICBRKR blog for new healthy, mouth-watering recipes.

These meatballs are inspired by Ottolenghi (one of my favourite chefs) — with a little twist and served on courgetti instead of spaghetti for a comforting low carb dish! The sauce is my vegan creation of a beloved childhood favourite pasta sauce; tomato and mascarpone! (Serves 4)

What you need

Meatballs 🎱

  • 250g chestnut mushrooms (sliced)

  • 200g extra firm tofu (roughly crumbled)

  • 150g silken tofu

  • 4 cloves garlic (crushed)

  • 2 tbsp tahini

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

  • 5 spring onions (thinly sliced)

  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • 1 tsp dried fennel seeds (crushed)

  • 30g panko breadcrumbs

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • Salt and pepper

Tomato Sauce & Courgetti 🍅

  • 1 white onion (finely sliced)

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes

  • 1 tbsp tomato puree

  • ½ tbsp red wine vinegar

  • 150g silken tofu

  • Handful fresh basil

  • Salt and pepper

  • 4 courgettes (spiralised and patted dry with paper towels)

  • Vegan cheese (optional)

How to make

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Fry the firm tofu and mushrooms in a pan with a little oil until golden, add the garlic at the last minute. Remove from the heat.

2. Pulse in a food processor until roughly chopped.

3. Combine in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients and season well. Form the mixture into small well-compressed balls with your hands. You should be able to make around 20! Space them out on a parchment-lined tray and bake for 25 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, make the sauce by frying the onion and garlic in a little oil until softened in a pot. Then add the chopped tomato, puree and vinegar and simmer for a few minutes, season well.

5. Remove from the heat and transfer to a blender with the silken tofu. Blitz until smooth then transfer back to the pot to heat through.

6. Stir in the courgette and basil, heat for 30 seconds.

7. Serve with the meatballs and a sprinkle of grated vegan cheese.

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