Meatless Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles

This plant-based spaghetti and “meatball” dish is a lighter, vegetarian-friendly take on the classic dinnertime favorite.



  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups diced onion
  • ¼ cup chopped garlic
  • 16 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 2 slices of toasted, whole-grain bread
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • ¼ cup milled flax seed
  • 2 teaspoons parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Zucchini Noodles

  • 3⁄4 teaspoon iodized salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 large zucchini, spiralized
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  •  1 3⁄4 cups marinara pasta sauce

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 35 minutes

Total time: 55 minutes


  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. For the meatballs: In a medium sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions, garlic and mushrooms until golden and pan is dry. Remove from heat.
  3. In a food processor, add the toasted bread and pulse until finely ground.
  4. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until consistency of ground beef. Form 28 balls and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.
  5. In batches, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat. Sauté 1/3 of the zucchini for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Remove from pan and keep warm. Repeat with remaining 2 teaspoons oil and 2/3 zucchini. Plate zucchini, top with sauce and meatballs.

Tip: To make this a gluten free recipe, replace the bread with whole grain gluten-free bread.

Recipe courtesy of the ALDI test kitchen. Visit for more kid-friendly recipes!

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