Meat Free Dinners : Courgetti and Vegballs

Courgetti and Vegballs
Serves 4
We should all be having more Meat Free Days but it can be hard to encourage children to chuck the chicken and skip the sausages. Cooking food that's recognisable to them but has a veggie twist can be a great way to win them over and this recipe is simple and really fun for them to be involved in the making. The recipe for the Vegballs was adapted from a great recipe from the Minimalist Baker and the sauce is the classic recipe by Marcella Hazan which is the easiest pasta sauce you will ever make and great for kids as there's no chopping or high temperatures involved! I decided to invest in a Spiralizer for our Kid's Cooking Classes as it's a fab way to get them excited about veg, I went for the Hemsley and Hemsley, which is currently only about £15I have been really impressed and most importantly the kids have LOVED getting involved to make the Courgetti!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
312 calories
27 g
90 g
19 g
10 g
11 g
330 g
290 g
8 g
1 g
6 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Amount Per Serving
Calories 312
Calories from Fat 168
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 19g
Saturated Fat 11g
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 5g
Cholesterol 90mg
Sodium 290mg
Total Carbohydrates 27g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 8g
Protein 10g
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
  1. For the meatballs - makes 20
  2. 1/2 white onion, finely diced
  3. 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  4. 1 egg, beaten
  5. 1 tin chickpeas rinsed and drained
  6. 30g Parmesan cheese +plus 20g (vegetarian if possible)
  7. 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  8. 50g bread crumbs
  9. 30g semolina
  10. Olive Oil for sautéing + Salt and Pepper
  11. For the sauce and courgetti
  12. 1 tin of good quality plum tomatoes
  13. 5 tablespoons butter
  14. 1 medium onion, peeled and cut in half
  15. Salt to taste
  16. 4 medium sized courgettes (you can use other veggies such as butternut squash, sweet potatoes or carrots)
  1. Make the sauce: Put the tomatoes and their juice in a saucepan, add the butter, onion, and salt, and cook uncovered at a very slow, but steady simmer for about 45 minutes. Stir from time to time, mashing up any large pieces of tomato with the back of a wooden spoon. While it cooks you can get on with your vegballs.
  2. For the Vegballs, preheat oven to 180 degrees. In a large frying pan, sauté onion and garlic in 1/2 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat until soft and translucent - about 5 minutes then set aside.
  3. Add the chickpeas to food processor and pulse to break down. Then add sautéd garlic and onion remaining ingredients apart from the extra cheese and semolina and mix, scraping down sides as needed. Check for seasoning then scoop out 1 Tbsp amounts and with wet hands, roll into walnut sized balls - this is brilliant fun for kids and much nicer than handling raw meat! Mix remaining bread crumbs and parmesan cheese together in a shallow dish. Add balls one or two at a time and roll to coat then place on a lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes until firm, longer if you want them crispier.
  4. While they are in the oven, make your courgetti - if you don’t have a sprializer you can use a vegetable peeler to make ‘ribbons’ of courgette. Just before the end of the vegball cooking time go back to your sauce. Taste and correct for salt, emove the onion, add your courgetti’ - and warm through, you don’t need to cook them just make sure they are piping hot. Serve the courgetti and sauce with the ‘meatballs’ on top and add a sprinkle of cheese.
  1. I've found that Chickpeas are a great pulse for kids as they are not too strong in flavour (or colour) and can be whizzed into different things. They are rich in iron but this is not as easily absorbed as the iron in meat so it's good to eat them with foods that are rich in vitamin C so this tomato sauce is perfect.
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