Spaghetti with meatless meatballs – a recipe for plant-based nostalgia

Deciding to eat less meat doesn’t mean missing out on your favourite classics. Nostalgic for a good old plate of spaghetti and meatballs? Future Farm meatballs come to the rescue. They look just like meatballs, taste just like meatballs, cook just like meatballs, but are totally plant-based, with a delicious juicy texture that works perfectly with the tomato sauce of this American-style pasta family favourite.

This is an arrabbiata tomato sauce version of the classic recipe. If you don’t like spicy heat, just leave out, or reduce, the amount of chilli flakes and fresh chilli.

Arrabbiata spaghetti sauce with meatballs recipe

Serves 4-6

Total time: 50 minutes


3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 packs Future Farm meatballs

1 onion, finely diced

6 garlic cloves, finely chopped or grated

1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes

1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

2 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked

3 x 400 g tins of tomatoes, finely chopped

1 tablespoon sugar

A few sprigs of basil, plus extra to garnish

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (optional)

1 tablespoon vegan worcestershire sauce (optional)

500 g spaghetti

Vegan parmesan, finely grated, to serve

Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a large, deep heavy based frying pan.
  2. Fry the meatballs in batches for 2 minutes on each side until golden. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add the remaining oil and the onion – scraping up any caramelised meatball bits. Turn the heat right down and cook for 10-12 minutes until very soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until fragrant.
  4. Add the chilli flakes, chopped chilli, oregano and thyme, and cook for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the tinned tomatoes and 400 ml of water (fill up a tin with water to measure). Sprinkle over the sugar, add the basil sprigs and season well. Simmer on a low heat for 30-40 minutes until slightly thickened and reduced by 1/3.
  6. Once the sauce has cooked, remove the basil sprigs and season again to taste – it may need a splash of balsamic vinegar, vegan worcestershire sauce or more sugar, depending on the acidity of the tomatoes.
  7. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the spaghetti for 8-9 minutes until al dente.
  8. A few minutes before the pasta is ready, stir the meatballs gently into the tomato sauce and warm through.
  9. Drain the pasta, reserving a large mugful of pasta water to adjust the sauce if it needs thinning down. Toss the pasta with the sauce.
  10. Serve with plenty of freshly grated vegan parmesan and basil leaves.

Future Farm arrived in South Africa in July 2021 and is available nationwide through Checkers or order online at, and to learn more about Future Farm products, visit the official website 



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