Vegan Zucchini Spaghetti and Lentil Meatballs in Roasted Pepper Sauce [Video Recipe]

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Spaghetti made from zucchini tossed in a spicy roasted red pepper sauce with pan fried vegan lentil meatballs.


So Summer is pretty much out of here. The fruits are going off the shelves. And pretty soon, so will the veggies. So I wanted to use up some gorgeous summer zucchini before it goes out and this Zucchini Pasta definitely improved my mood, and let's hope, my health too.

I am a stress eater. I wish I was the other kinda of person who feel no hunger when stressed, aka Gee. But unfortunately, I am drawn to food when I am stressed. Just yesterday, I downed 2 aloo parathas with so much butter. I was in a buttery heaven but I definitely bid goodbye to my diet. 

Recently I have been under quite a bit of stress. I also read somewhere that STEM careers are in the top of careers that cause a burn out in women along with medicine and journalism. So it's an accepted piece of the job. But all that stress is making me crave carbs - bread, rice, pasta. Just give it to ME!

So today, I was very reasonable. I cheated my stressed inner foodie. I had Quinoa Tava Pulao for lunch where I took this recipe and replaced the white rice with quinoa. Just healthifying my lunch. But that wasn't enough and I did it again for dinner. But honestly, I'm very happy, cause I did not miss my carbs at all.


So my dinner today is this ah-mazing Vegan Pasta where the pasta is actually just fine strips of zucchini. I don't own a spiralizer, so I just use my potato peeler to make fine ribbons of zucchini and then I cut it into thin strips with a sharp knife. This pasta done not really need to be cooked, I just tossed it in hot sauce and let the heat from the sauce soften it slightly. I have been considering investing in a good spiralizer for some time, so if you have suggestions on which product is good, leave me a comment. It will be really appreciated. 

The sauce - well, you can use ANY sauce you want when it comes to Pasta. But I LOVED this roasted red pepper sauce. And it is so simple. I wouldn't say quick, unless your roasted pepper came out of a bottle. But roasting your own peppers is not difficult at all. I rubbed the gorgeous red peppers with some good olive oil and roasted them in the oven. Keep turning them once in a while so that it chars throughout. Once you remove them from the oven, cover the peppers and keep aside for some time. Covering makes it very easy to peel. I just removed the peel and the stalk and seeds. I left the char on the pepper as is, cause I love the smokiness it adds to the sauce.  Once you are done roasting all you do is cook it with some onions and garlic and blend it into a sauce. Add oregano or thyme for added taste. I kept it simple and just added red chilli flakes for heat. 

The star of this dish is really the vegan meatballs made from red lentils, chickpeas and walnuts. It is so delicious, I'd suggest you make a lot more than what the recipe calls for. The below recipe made around 10 and I can tell you they were not enough. I could eat them just like a snack with tea. So take my advice and make more. You won't hate it. This is the only part of the meal that needs some planning. Especially since you have to soak dried chickpeas. While you could use canned one, the soaked dried ones give more texture to the meatballs, much like falafels. The flax egg, is optional if you are frying the meatballs, but they definitely made it moist. So I'd recommend it. You can also bake the meatballs. 

Finally just toss everything together and enjoy guilt-free!



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Vegan Zucchini Spaghetti and Lentil Meatballs in Roasted Pepper Sauce


Spaghetti made from zucchini tossed in a spicy roasted red pepper sauce with pan fried vegan lentil meatballs. 

Recipe Type:  Main
Cuisine:            International
Prep Time:     30 minutes
Cook time:     1 Hour 30 minutes
Total time:     10 Hours
Yield:                Serves 2

Ingredients:


For the Lentil Meatballs


0.5 cup dried Red Lentils
0.5 cup dried Chickpeas
1 Tbsp Flax seeds
4 Walnuts
4 Garlic Cloves
1 small Onion
1 Tbsp Flour
0.5 tsp Paprika
0.5 tsp Garlic Powder
2 tsp Oil
Salt to taste
Water as required
Oil to fry the meatballs

For the Roasted Pepper Sauce


3 Red Peppers (capsicum)
1 small Onion
4-5 Garlic Cloves
1 Tbsp Red Chilli Flakes
1.5 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp Sugar (Optional)
Salt to taste
Water as required

For the Zucchini Spaghetti


2 medium Zucchini (around 6")

Method:

To make the Lentil Meatballs:


1. Soak the dried chickpeas in water for 8 hours.
2. Wash the dried red lentils and soak them in water for 30 minutes.
3. Heat 4 cups of water in a pan and allow it to come to a rolling boil.
4. Drain the lentils and add to the boiling water.
5. Cover and cook until the lentils are cooked through. Drain out the excess water and keep the lentil aside to cool.
6. Coarsely grind the walnuts.
7. Drain the chickpeas and coarsely grind them.
8. Grind the flax seeds into a powder. Mix in 2 Tbsp of water and keep aside.
9. Saute finely chopped garlic and finely chopped onion in 2 tsp olive oil until the onions are translucent.
10. Once the lentils have cooled, add the walnuts, ground chickpeas, sauteed onions and garlic, garlic powder, paprika, flour and salt and mix well.
11. Chill for 2 hours or freeze for 30 minutes. If the batter is still very wet to form balls, add a spoonful of flour or breadcrumbs.
12. Divide the batter into 10 equal parts and roll into balls using your palms.
13. Take a shallow pan and add oil to it. Once the oil is hot, add the meatballs.
14. Keep turning the meatballs when one side browns. Continue to cook until the entire meatball is browned.
15. You can also bake the meatballs.

To make the Roasted Pepper Sauce:


1. Preheat the oven to 200 degree C.
2. Coat the red peppers with 0.5 tbsp of olive oil.
3. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Turn the peppers after every 10 minutes.
4. Remove the peppers from the oven and place in a bowl. Cover and keep aside.
5. Once the peppers have cooled, peel the peppers and remove the stalk and the seeds. Chop roughly and keep aside.
6. Heat the remaining oil in a pan.
7. Crush the garlic and chop them roughly. Add the garlic to the pan.
8. Once the garlic is fragrant, add finely chopped onion and fry until translucent.
9. Add the red pepper and mix well.
10. Add the red chilli flakes, salt and 0.5 cup of water.
11. Cook until the water reduces.
12. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
13. Grind into a smooth puree with little water.
14. Add the puree back to the pan and allow it to heat up.
15. Add more salt, paprika or sugar if required at this stage depending on your taste.
16. You can store this sauce in a clean glass jar in the fridge for 2-3 days after it cools.

To make the Zucchini Spaghetti and assembling:


1. Use a spiralizer to make zucchini spaghetti or slice the zucchini into fine strips.
2. Heat up the roasted red pepper sauce.
3. Add the zucchini to the sauce and mix well. Leave it on the heat for 2-3 minutes until the zucchini is cooked to your liking.
4. Add the meatballs and mix well.
5. You can top the pasta with parmesan.
6. Serve hot with crusty bread.


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