Spaghetti and My Ex-Boyfriend’s Meatless Balls

Made with nuts, Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs, you'd never guess these balls were meatless.


  • 1 cup almonds or walnuts, toasted
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 large eggs
  • 28 ounces (about 3 cups) marinara sauce of your choice
  • Flavorless oil, for frying
  • 8 ounces spaghetti, cooked according to package directions
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or basil, for serving


  1. In a food processor, combine the nuts and garlic and pulse to a coarse crumb. Add the parsley, salt, a few turns of pepper, parmesan and breadcrumbs, and pulse to combine. Add the eggs and process until the mixture holds together in a ball. It may still look crumbly, but it should hold together when you squeeze it.
  2. Roll 1/2 tablespoon-sized balls, packing them just firmly enough so that they hold together. Place them on a plate or sheet of parchment paper.
  3. Warm the marinara sauce in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  4. In a skillet, heat 1/4 inch of oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook the balls, turning them, until they're golden brown on all sides.
  5. Transfer the balls to the tomato sauce, and enjoy over spaghetti, topped with additional cheese and chopped fresh parsley or basil.