Romantic (maybe?) Date Night Spaghetti & “Meat”balls v2.0 (VG, GF-Option, Oil-Free)

(But Chriiiiiiiis you already have a spaghetti and meatballs post, why are you duplicating??? Well I’m glad I asked, there’s more than one way to prep a delicious meal, and this is a different recipe that just so happens to be a touch healthier too!)

It’s not too often that Andreea and I get an opportunity to spend too much time together these days. Ironically – we’ve been under lockdown on-and-off since March 2020 but seemingly now more so than ever we are both constantly busy! I’m forever doing things with work, volunteering to help organize conferences, or out for runs – and she’s forever coaching, studying or working.

I exaggerate a little, we do still see each other a fair amount, like with our daily walks – but it’s rare we get to spend quality 1-on-1 time together JUST focusing on each other. Well a couple Saturday’s ago we got that chance.

Diana was going to be at work, we had plans to watch “Showstopper! The Improvised Musical” live streamed and we were going to play some board games, as we hadn’t in a while. But what to cook for dinner?

Too short and quickly thrown together wouldn’t have been romantic, too long and complex and I risked wasting time that could have been spent with Andreea.

So something with pasta. Basically.

We had some of the Birds Eye Meat Free Meatballs kicking about in the freezer, we had some whole-wheat spaghetti in the cupboard and we were both feeling something warming, garlicky and indulgent, without the dense calorific approach of “ordering a takeaway”. So I did what I always do – I improvised. The result, well… try it for yourself, but I was pretty darn happy and we were both full, content and (after a little of the left over wine) a little buzzed!

Simple Spaghetti and Meatballs

  • Servings: 2 very hungry people, or 2 plus a third wheel
  • Difficulty: Easy
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A staple, a classic and as it turns out, a cheap, easy and delicious date night dish!


Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 large or 2 medium Brown Onions, finely chopped
  • 5 large cloves Garlic, 2 of them sliced thin, the rest finely diced
  • 1 medium or large medium-hot Red Chili, seeds removed and finely sliced
  • 3 tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 1 tin Chopped Tomatoes
  • 150ml Red Wine (and another 50-75ml in case more liquid is needed)
  • 2 tbsp Tamari (or Soy Sauce)
  • 1 “glug” (or 1 tsp-ish) vegan Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp Smoked or Sweet Paprika (Not hot)
  • 2 tsp Mixed Herbs
  • 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1.5 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper

Other Ingredients:

  • Enough Spaghetti for 2 (or 3 if you’re third-wheeling) – we used about 120g total uncooked for 2 of us (GF, regular or whole-wheat)
  • Your favorite vegan “Meat”balls of choice, or homemade – this is optional, as the sauce is cheap and easy and goes great on the pasta even without the meatballs!


  1. Cook the “meat”balls as per the directions on the packet/recipe (just short of the packet cooking time, you’ll finish them off in the sauce)
  2. In a pot over a medium-high heat, cook the chopped onions stirring frequently to prevent sticking (use a tbsp or two of water if needed) until translucent, about 4-5 minutes
  3. Add the garlic and chili and stir-fry for a further 2 minutes
  4. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and stir together, taste with a small spoon – add extra salt, chili, tamari or herbs at this point to taste (I only needed an extra glug of worcestershire sauce)
  5. Bring to the boil and then cover and turn down to a simmer for about 15 minutes, stir every 5 mins to prevent sticking
  6. Remove the lid from the pot, stirring the sauce every now and again but mostly leaving to simmer (if it gets too thick at any point add a little extra of the reserved wine) for a further 20-25 minutes
  7. Whilst the sauce is cooking, prepare and cook the spaghetti to packet instructions in a pot of salted water
  8. Whilst you wait for the Spaghetti to cook, add the “meat”balls to your sauce, stir through and turn heat right down to keep warm – if your sauce is still quite liquid, turn the heat up a little more as you do want it to be nice and thick when served
  9. When ready, drain and plate up the pasta then top with the “meat”balls and sauce, and optionally top with our Vegan Parm

Buon Appetito!

The world is a pretty crazy place at the moment so hopefully this post inspires you, and we would love to hear what you’re cooking and also we’d love to see your attempts at the above dish and how you change it to be yours, so tweet us @rockinblues and @PlantBasedSQL on Twitter and let us know your snug story!