Spinach “Meatballs” In Spicy Tomato Sauce – Vegan & Paleo!


Working in a grocery store when they’re predicting a snow storm certainly is an interesting experience. People literally panic, as if the end of the world had just been announced. It’s kinda funny actually.

This latest snow storm we had however, was a little bit different. What are the items people go for the most when they think they’re gonna get stuck at home for days? The staples, right? Milk, eggs, bread, water… Well, this time, the three things I got asked for the most were sauerkraut, bread crumbs and pasta sauce. I’m dead serious. Pasta sauce and bread crumbs, I get it. Maybe a lot of people wanted to go the comfort food route, and make spaghetti and meatballs or something. I don’t know. But sauerkraut? I don’t quite get that one. But hey, to each his own. At least it’s a healthy choice!

And speaking of spaghetti and meatballs. We’ve been trying to find a good recipe for vegan or vegetarian meatballs forever. We’ve made a few attempts, none of them exactly successful (read, a complete mess) . But, you know what the one good thing about being stubborn, middle eastern blooded Spaniards is? We don’t give up easily. We just thought a little bit outside of the box, and came up with this little piece of yumminess. Not your typical meatballs, but… nothing wrong with being a little different, right?


5.0 from 4 reviews
Spinach Balls in Spicy Tomato Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 lb frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • ¼ - ½ tsp salt (to taste)
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp raisins
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  1. Heat olive oil in a non stick skillet. Add garlic and cook over medium - low heat for 2 minutes. Add spinach and continue cooking for 10 minutes. Add salt, pepper, lemon zest and raisins and cook until all the water has evaporated and spinach is dry, about 6-8 more minutes
  2. In the meantime, place pine nuts in a dry pan and toast over medium heat for 3-5 minutes,stirring frequently and keeping an eye on them so they don't burn
  3. When spinach is ready, remove from heat, add pine nuts and mix well. Set aside until cool enough to handle
  4. Once the spinach has cooled and working with about 1 tablespoon at a time, form "meatballs" by rolling them in your hands. Carefully place them in a wide pan with the spicy tomato sauce and warm up over low heat
The spinach balls are delicate, make sure you handle them with care.
if you don't have time to make your own tomato sauce use your favorite pasta sauce and add some hot red pepper flakes for heat

5.0 from 4 reviews
Spicy Tomato Sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1-15oz can crushed tomatoes
  • ¼-1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
  • ⅛ tsp pepper
  • ¼- 1/2 tsp red hot pepper flakes (to taste)
  1. In a large skillet, sautée onion and garlic in olive oil 6-7 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes
  2. Cook on high for 3-5 minutes. Simmer for 20 minutes
if you don't have time to make your own tomato sauce use your favorite pasta sauce and add some hot red pepper flakes for heat


spinach balls in spicy tomato sauce



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39 Responses to Spinach “Meatballs” In Spicy Tomato Sauce – Vegan & Paleo!

  1. Amy @ What Jew Wanna Eat January 7, 2014 at 11:00 pm #

    I love the addition of raisins and pine nuts! Sweet and spicy and healthy- these are calling my name!
    Amy @ What Jew Wanna Eat recently posted…Pomegranate Homemade Fortune CookiesMy Profile

  2. Shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com January 8, 2014 at 10:51 am #

    These spinach balls with pine nuts sounds like a win win! you gave me a chuckle from reiterating that people were asking you for sauerkraut, bread crumbs and pasta sauce before a snow storm!
    Here’s hoping we start thawing out soon
    Shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com recently posted…1st WIAW of 2014My Profile

    • Vicky & Ruth January 9, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

      Who knows, maybe Dr. Oz spoke a bout sauerkraut 🙂

  3. Aimee / Wallflower Girl January 8, 2014 at 11:44 am #

    What an interesting recipe, I’m so intrigued to try it – it looks great!
    Aimee / Wallflower Girl recently posted…DIY Christmas Treat BagsMy Profile

  4. Consuelo @ Honey & Figs January 8, 2014 at 11:58 am #

    These look fantastic! I never get decent vegetarian meatballs, and I’m dying to try this recipe. It sounds great with the pine nuts addition, I love those 🙂
    Consuelo @ Honey & Figs recently posted…+60 Comfort Food Healthy MakeoversMy Profile

    • Vicky & Ruth January 9, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

      Thank you Consuelo, we love the combination of raisins and pine nuts with the spinach.

  5. Hindy January 8, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

    This looks amazing! I love vegan meatballs! Do these hold together well?
    Hindy recently posted…Sriracha Chex MixMy Profile

    • Vicky & Ruth January 9, 2014 at 4:13 pm #

      They are very delicate so handle them with care. Place them in tomato sauce and reheat them gently. One of our readers told us that she added chia seeds to the spinach. I will check with her how that came out.

  6. Kumar's Kitchen January 10, 2014 at 8:38 am #

    what a beautiful and delicious vegan dish…a winner,thanks for sharing 🙂
    Kumar’s Kitchen recently posted…Delicious & Creamy Cauliflower Curry With Coconut MilkMy Profile

    • Vicky & Ruth January 11, 2014 at 8:59 pm #

      Thank you, so glad you enjoyed the recipe.

  7. jc January 10, 2014 at 9:23 am #

    Delicious vegan food is one reason why the number of vegans has doubled in less than 3 years.

    Join the revolution! 21-Day Vegan Kickstart http://www.pcrm.org/health/diets/kickstart/kickstart-programs

  8. Chanie@BusyInBrooklyn January 11, 2014 at 10:17 pm #

    I love the idea of meatballs without meat in them. I’m surprised they held together so well without egg and breadcrumbs!
    Chanie@BusyInBrooklyn recently posted…Tuscan White Beans with SpinachMy Profile

    • Vicky & Ruth January 13, 2014 at 9:42 pm #

      We have to confess that they are delicate, but we were surprised as well. We were even able to reheat them and they kept their shape!

  9. Jamie Geller January 12, 2014 at 6:34 am #

    looks good – you girls love pine nuts – luckily so do I.

    • Vicky & Ruth January 13, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

      We do love pine nuts, we only wish there were a little more affordable!

  10. stephanie January 12, 2014 at 8:59 pm #

    i love this idea! meatballs are my favorite, but spinach balls sound like a great alternative.
    stephanie recently posted…Chicken SaladMy Profile

    • Vicky & Ruth January 13, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

      Thank you, it is a great vegetarian alternative!

  11. Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic January 13, 2014 at 9:26 am #

    Definitely nothing wrong with being a little different, especially if it looks this delicious! 🙂
    Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic recently posted…Kyoto and First Impressions of JapanMy Profile

    • Vicky & Ruth January 13, 2014 at 9:38 pm #

      Thank you Bianca, thank you for stoping by and leaving a comment even when you are on vacation. Enjoy your trip!

  12. Melissa {lilmisscakes} January 13, 2014 at 11:00 am #

    This is such a smart idea! I love the idea of spicy sauce, yum.
    Melissa {lilmisscakes} recently posted…30th Birthday Collage CakeMy Profile

  13. Tamar Genger January 13, 2014 at 2:33 pm #

    YUMMY, these looks so great!! I really can’t understand the Sauerkraut thing though either, what does that say about the people in your community?
    Tamar Genger recently posted…Comment on Tu B’Shevat Celebration Menu by Melissa Kaye ApterMy Profile

    • Vicky & Ruth January 13, 2014 at 9:33 pm #

      Thanks. Not quite sure about the Sauerkraut….

  14. Amanda January 13, 2014 at 3:23 pm #

    yum! I’d love to try these with kale, collards, and parsley!

    • Vicky & Ruth January 13, 2014 at 9:32 pm #

      That’s a great idea, let us know if you do and how you like the “meatballs”

  15. Kelly January 14, 2014 at 7:44 am #

    Wow, I love this idea of vegan meatballs! I love spinach and tomatoes and they sound awesome both ways 🙂 What a tasty and healthy dish!

  16. Alison@AliBabka January 14, 2014 at 10:29 am #

    The additional pine nuts and raisins add so much! Awesome recipe!
    Alison@AliBabka recently posted…Freezer Space and First ImpressionsMy Profile

  17. Jessica @ Jessiker Bakes January 15, 2014 at 11:58 am #

    Wow these look good! You’re on a roll with the vegan/paleo recipes!
    Jessica @ Jessiker Bakes recently posted…How To Make Creamy & Cheesy Herbed Scrambled EggsMy Profile

    • Vicky & Ruth January 15, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

      Thank you Jessica. We are having fun creating vegan pale recipes!

  18. Ashley January 16, 2014 at 6:53 am #

    Oh my gosh I always crack up when everyone freaks before a snow storm – my personal favorite is when you see someone buying like 5 things of milk – do you really need all that for one storm??? And these spinach meatballs look delicious – spinach is a favorite of mine so I know I would love these!
    Ashley recently posted…Skillet Cornbread with Goat Cheese and Sun-Dried TomatoesMy Profile

    • Vicky & Ruth January 16, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

      Yep, people are funny! We love spinach as well!

  19. Shelley @ Two Healthy Kitchens January 16, 2014 at 9:49 am #

    I am so, so excited about this recipe! It’s just stunning, so healthy and looks absolutely scrumptious! Love the addition of pine nuts and raisins, plus the fresh, bright lemon zest! Yum! Totally pinning ASAP! Oh – and I think that’s so funny about the sauerkraut! I love sauerkraut, but it sure isn’t the first thing I’d grab in a snowstorm!! 😀
    Shelley @ Two Healthy Kitchens recently posted…Cheesy Pepperoni Pizza BurgersMy Profile

    • Vicky & Ruth January 16, 2014 at 3:28 pm #

      Thank you so much Shelley, so glad you enjoyed this recipe.

  20. Mumsedso January 17, 2014 at 7:41 pm #

    I had some thawed spinach that I lost interest in a few nights ago so this really caught my eye. It was amazing, even without the spicy sauce. I didn’t have raisins on hand for my very last minute attempt, so I used dried cranberries – wow. Really great!

    • Vicky & Ruth January 18, 2014 at 9:57 pm #

      So glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing!


  1. Paleo Recipes With Tomato Sauce - paleorecipesgood.net - April 24, 2015

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