This vegan pumpkin pasta with pumpkin bean balls (AKA meatless meatballs) is just about the most festive fall vegan recipe ever. Spaghetti noodles are topped in a creamy, warming pumpkin sauce that’s perfect for cozy fall dinners.
Vegan meatballs really round out pasta dishes, and I couldn’t stop myself from making them pumpkin flavored. These bean balls are so easy to make that you may never buy frozen veggie meatballs again!
How do you make vegan meatballs?
These “vegan meatballs” or “bean balls” are blended together in a food processor using a few simple ingredients:
- Cannelini beans (white beans) are the heart of the bean ball, providing protein, texture, and the bulk of meatball shape
- Rolled oats and a flax egg (you can sub for regular eggs if you don’t follow a vegan diet) work together to bind the pumpkin bean balls
- Other than contributing to the name and the flavor, pumpkin adds a nice smoothness to the final product
- Spices: sage, pepper, onion powder, garlic, red pepper flakes, and a bit of salt. Keep it simple and enjoy the fall flavors!
- Pumpkin seeds add variety to the texture and are a delightful punch of nutrition
There’s two options here for how to prepare the meat balls.
- Saute/lightly fry the bean balls in a tablespoon of olive oil. This gives them a crunchy outside and slightly dryer inside. I personally prefer them this way (I also don’t know how to say no to fried foods), but this way also adds another dish to wash.
- Simmer the bean balls in the vegan pumpkin pasta sauce for about 10 minutes. This warms and cooks the bean balls, but you don’t get that great cripsy surface. However, it saves a dish and still tastes delicious.
Whichever way you decide to cook the bean balls, they’ll be delicious!
How do you make vegan pumpkin pasta?
This pumpkin pasta sauce is a classix roux with a few substitutions. As with any other cream sauce or roux, start by heating the oil in a medium pan. Once hot, add the garlic and cook for about a minute. Add the all purpose flour (sub for gluten-free as needed) and nutritional yeast and cook until lightly browned, about a minute.
Slowly pour in the liquid, which in this case is non-dairy milk- any kind will work. You want to slowly pour the liquid while whisking the mixture to prevent clumping. I use this method in a few other recipes, like my vegan mac n cheese and this creamy vegan garlic spaghetti (one of my first recipes – beware).
Mix in 8 ounces of cooked spaghetti or linguine and pumpkin bean balls. Serve and top with additional pumpkin seeds and red pepper flakes. Enjoy!
Vegan Pumpkin Pasta with Pumpkin Bean Balls
For the Vegan Pumpkin Pasta
- 8 ounces spaghetti noodles, dry
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 cups non-dairy milk, such as soy milk
- 1/2 cup canned pureed pumpkin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dry ground sage
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ground black pepper, to taste
For the Pumpkin Bean Balls
- 1/2 cup canned pureed pumpkin
- 1 can (15.5 ounces) cannelini beans
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, raw or roasted
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon ground sage, dry
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme, dry
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
To Make the Vegan Pumpkin Pasta
- Prepare spaghetti noodles according to package instructions. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Saute the minced garlic for 1 minute or until aromatic. Stir in the flour and nutrition yeast, cooking until lightly browned (about 1 minute).
- Slowly pour in the non-dairy milk. Continuously whisk the mixture to prevent clumping. Add in the pumpkin, whisking to combine. Add salt, sage, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer.
- Simmer until sauce is thick and creamy, about 2-3 minutes. If the sauce gets too thick, add additional non-dairy milk or pasta water to thin it down.
- Combine cooked spaghetti, pumpkin sauce, and pumpkin bean balls. Top with additional red pepper flakes, fresh sage, pumpkin seeds, and fresh ground black pepper.
To Make the Pumpkin Bean Balls
- Prepare the flax egg by mixing ground flax seed and water together in a small dish. Let rest for three minutes before using.
- Drain and rinse the beans. Pat dry with a towel to remove excess moisture.
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Processor until mostly broken down but not entirely pureed. Let the mixture rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This makes it easier to form the bean balls.
- Form the refrigerated mixture into 10-12 ping pong sized balls. To prepare by frying, heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a medium pan. Add the bean balls to the hot oil, stirring occasionally to brown all sides. They are ready when the outsides are lightly browned and crispy. Alternately, prepare the bean balls by adding them to the simmering pumpkin sauce. Cook for about 10 minutes, until warmed through.