Pesto Campanelle with Vegan Meatballs and Garlic Cream

There is a lot going on in this dish. I made it the other night for a dinner party and it was gone in seconds. The recipe will feed up to 10 people so cut it in half if you need and save the leftovers. I’m still remembering all the flavors and great texture of the meatballs. Doesn’t get any better than this.

I use a lot of basil in my dishes and always have a pesto on hand. The reason for this is because it’s one herb I can never tire of, and can be made in so many different ways and used on so many different dishes. Everything always tastes good with basil. You can make a pesto out of any herbs, parsley, cilantro, thyme, etc, not just basil. Mix it with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, and almonds if you like, and there you have it. Check out my pesto’s in the sauces category. All the dishes there have a sauce recipe that you can use with another dish you are making.

I also experiment with different pastas. Campanelle means bell flowers in Italian, and this type of pasta has a beautiful look and bite to it as well. The hollow center is great for catching sauces. You can find it in most supermarkets in the pasta section. Barilla makes it, and Barilla brand pasta is sold pretty much everywhere.


Yields: 1 cup pesto

  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup or agave
  • 2-3 handfuls of slivered almonds/pine nuts/cashews (I used almonds)
  • 2-3 cloves grated garlic
  • salt to taste

Blend all ingredients on low to medium or pulse. Do not whip on high for a long time. You want herb pieces, not a green smoothie. If you're allergic to nuts then just add a bit more basil.

  • Preparation time: 5 minutes

Pesto Campanelle with Vegan Meatballs and Garlic Cream

Pesto Campanelle with Vegan Meatballs and Garlic Cream

Yields: 6-10 people, 20-24 meatballs

  • 2 boxes campanelle pasta
  • 3/4 cup pesto
  • 1/4 cup finished pasta water (save after straining)
  • fresh chopped basil for garnish
  • Meatballs;
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 2 cups cooked teff
  • 2 cups cooked red lentils
  • 2 cups cooked buckwheat/quinoa/short grain brown rice/mashed black beans
  • 1 small (6oz) can tomato paste
  • 1 small grated beet
  • 1/3 cup pesto
  • 1/2 cup freshly and finely chopped basil
  • 4 cloves grated garlic
  • salt, pepper, chili flakes to taste
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs for breading, italian spiced (you can buy them like that or add an italian herb mix) or tapioca flour
  • Garlic Cream;
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews soaked in 1 cup water for 3 hours and drained
  • 1/2 cup water or unsweetened nut milk
  • 1 grated garlic clove
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Soak the lentils and cashews overnight. Prepare the grains and put to the side to fully cool. The red lentils, buckwheat/quinoa, and teff can cook together in 7 cups water, but if you are using brown rice that takes longer to cook, so make it separate. You can also sub for black beans, mash them first in food processor.

Make the pesto and put to the side.

Fry the mushrooms and onions in an oiled skillet on medium until brown and put to the side.

In a food processor mix the tomato paste, grated beet, pesto and all other meatball ingredients (not the grains), and be ready to blend that with the cooled grains for rolling into meatballs. Roll them in the breadcrumbs or in flour. Cook the meatballs on 350 for about 35-45 minutes until golden, rolling them over every 10-15 minutes on different sides. You can even fry them in a skillet.

Start the pasta.

When the pasta is done mix in the finished cherry tomatoes (heat them up a bit first), the finished pasta water, and pour the 1/2 cup pesto inside. Toss and heat if needed. Serve in bowls with the meatballs on top, fresh basil, and drizzled garlic cream.

  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Total time: 1.5 hours
Pesto Campanelle with Vegan Meatballs and Garlic Cream
Pesto Campanelle with Vegan Meatballs and Garlic Cream
Pesto Campanelle with Vegan Meatballs and Garlic Cream
Pesto Campanelle With Vegan Meatballs And Garlic Cream

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