Rigatoni Puttanesca with Veggie Meatballs Recipe | Vegetarian Times Skip to main content

Rigatoni Puttanesca with Veggie Meatballs

Vegetarian sausage substitutes make great “meatballs” that come together in a snap—without the need for adding eggs as a binder. If you prefer milder olive flavor, use California olives. For a more pronounced, salty flavor, use kalamatas.



Ingredient Line: 
4 oz. dried rigatoni pasta
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7 oz. (half of 14-oz. pkg.) soy sausage substitute, such as Gimme Lean (1 cup packed)
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½ cup breadcrumbs
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2 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish, optional
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1 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
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2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil, divided
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2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.), divided
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¼ tsp. ground black pepper
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1 cup tomato sauce, no salt added
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2 Tbs. chopped black olives, optional


1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, combine soy sausage, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, parsley, 1 Tbs. basil, 1 tsp. garlic, and pepper with fingers.
2. Coat large skillet with olive oil cooking spray, and heat over medium-high heat. Roll soy sausage mixture into 12 balls, about 2 Tbs. each. Cook meatballs 5 to 6 minutes, or until evenly browned. Add tomato sauce, olives, remaining 1 Tbs. basil, and remaining 1 tsp. garlic. Cover, and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 3 to 5 minutes to let flavors meld.
3. Drain pasta, and stir into tomato sauce mixture. Divide between two plates. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, if using.

Nutrition Information: 

30 g
Total Fat: 
4 g
Saturated Fat: 
1 g
86 g
4 mg
796 mg
6 g
12 g
Serves 2

Comments on this Recipe

I highly recommend the Gimme Lean sausage; it actually browns and has that "meaty" texture. It has a strong sage flavor that is traditional for any kind of sausage. If you don't like sage, then you will not like this product...

This was a great quick recipe. The "meat"balls are really good. I will definitely be making this again. The one thing I changed about this recipe was that instead of using plain tomato sauce (with the extra tsp of garlic and Tbs of basil) I just used my favorite spaghetti sauce (Tomato, onion and garlic flavored). Oh - I guess two things - I skipped the olives (hate them).

This recipe was not to my liking. I'm fairly certain that the gimme lean sausage substitute was the culprit. I had never used this product before and both the flavor and texture ruined the good things that were happening with the sauce. I may be trying it again with a different "sausage," but I recommend staying away from Gimme Lean in any recipe.

Haven't used to gimme lean yet, but have made a "sausage" not sauce using field roast Italian style "sausage" not and it was very good, going to try this recipe this week

I know it's optional but parmesan isn't vegetarian. Just stating as this might confuse new vegetarians. Otherwise, great tips :) looking forward to replicating.

There are very few mixes in rural Ireland. Also,there are additives I cannot escape from! I really do,prefer to make my own and would love mixes made from individual ingredients please. I have never heard of the ingredient here and have limited access to Internet provision but do not trust much anyways. Also people do not like it because we have no,postcode but rural folk have the same address for miles and the posties just know who and where we are. They sort out the same address into 500 piles sometimes!