Timeless Vegetarian "Meatballs" by Fernanda Baggio

These delicious plant-based alternative to traditional meatballs are brought to you by Fernanda Baggio, a Le Courdon Bleu graduate who now works as Research and Development Sous Chef at Aquerello, a two Michelin star restaurant in San Francisco. We sent chef Fernanda some Timeless products, and she used THREE different ones to develop these satisfying and savory vegetarian meatballs that can go with the pasta of your choice. What are you waiting for?!?

Serves:           2-3 people 

Prep time:      45 minuntes 


For the vegetarian meatballs:

150g Timeless Black Beluga Lentils 

100g Timeless Farro or Purple Prairie Barley 

100g Timeless Black Butte Chickpeas 

1 whole egg 

2 tbsp olive oil 

1 tbsp all-purpose flour 

1 tsp garlic powder 

1 tsp onion powder 

1 tsp smoked paprika 

Salt and black pepper to taste

Yields: 36 balls of 10g


For the tomato sauce

  • One 28-ounce can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes.
  • 4 table spoons olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic chopped
  • 7-8 basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


For the vegetarian meatballs

The day before you make the meatballs, soak your Timeless Black Butte Chickpeas in plenty of water. The next day, cook the Timeless Black Beluga Lentils, Farro or Purple Prairie Barley, and Black Butte Chickpeas in separate pots until all are cooked according to package instructions. Drain well and then place them all in a food processor and blend for about 2-3min. There will still be some grains left in the middle without processing, which helps give texture. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and combine with all other meatball ingredients. Stir until everything is incorporated. Roll into small balls, about 10g each. 

For the tomato sauce

Add the San Marzano tomatoes and their juices to a food processor. Pulse to chop the tomatoes to your desired texture. Add the olive oil and chopped garlic to a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook for two minutes, stirring often, until it turns golden brown. Add the chopped San Marzano tomatoes to the pan along with the chopped fresh basil leaves and sugar. Be careful because your pan is hot and the tomatoes will want to bubble up. Stir everything to combine and increase the heat, allowing the sauce to come to a simmer. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Let the flavors simmer together for about 8 – 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and set aside. 

Finishing your dish

In a frying pan on medium heat, fry the vegetarian meatballs in a little olive oil. Turn them from side to side until they become golden brown. Add the vegetarian meatballs in your tomato sauce. Cook your pasta in boiling salted water, drain it well, and pour it into your meatball tomato sauce. Cook for a few seconds to ensure flavors and aromas meld together. Place the pasta on a plate and add grated fresh parmesan cheese, basil leaves and finish with a drizzle of olive. Enjoy!