RECIPE: Better than meatballs

Updated: Jun 19

Polpette (meatballs) are traditionally made with ground meat. Of course, you could use a store-bought vegan mince, but I love the rich and meaty texture of walnuts. Not only are these polpette simple to make, they're also nutritious and oil-free. Infuse the garlic in the passata instead of frying in oil for a completely oil-free dish.

Polpette with Pomodoro Sauce

Makes approximately 15 polpette balls


Walnut Polpette

2 cups walnuts

2 slices seeded bread (or your favourite bread)

1 tablespoon vegan 'beef' style stock powder

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes

¼ cup water

handful of fresh parsley

several generous dashes of liquid smoke (optional)

Pomodoro Sauce

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, finely sliced

700g tomato passata

1 teaspoon salt

few basil leaves (optional)



Into a blender or food processor, pulse walnuts and bread briefly.

Add remaining ingredients except the water and process until it begins to resemble mince. Now with the blender still running, add the water. The mixture should now be moist and malleable.

Roll the mixture into balls the size of a walnut shell (or slightly larger if you like) and place on an oven tray lined with baking paper.

Bake in a preheated 180C oven for 25 minutes. Turning over carefully half way through.

Meanwhile, make the pomodoro sauce.

Pomodoro sauce

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over a low-medium heat and add the garlic. Allow the garlic to infused for 1-2 minutes, stirring often, ensuring it doesn't brown.

Stir through the passata, salt and basil leaves. Cover and simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once out of the oven, stir the polpette gently through a simple Napoli-style tomato sauce and simmer on low for a few minutes so the balls soak up some of the liquid.

Remove from the heat and stir through your favourite pasta or enjoy on their own as a side or starter along with fresh crusty bread for dipping.


These can easily be made gluten free - just replace with slices of your favourite gluten free bread/breadcrumbs.

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