Walnut Polpette with Pomodoro Sauce

Recipe by Nadia Fragnito

Enjoy these nourishing walnut meatballs with pasta or crusty bread for a hearty Italian meal that will impress the whole family.

Serves: 6 
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour


Walnut Polpette

  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 2 slices seeded bread (or your favourite bread)
  • 1 tablespoon vegan ‘beef’ style stock powder
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • ¼ cup water
  • handful of fresh parsley
  • several generous dashes of liquid smoke (optional)

Pomodoro Sugo

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 700g tomato passata
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • few basil leaves (optional)
Image supplied by Nadia Fragnito


Walnut Polpette

Into a blender or food processor, pulse walnuts and bread briefly.

Add remaining ingredients except the water and process until it begins to resemble mince. Now with the blender still running, add the water. The mixture should now be moist and malleable.

Roll the mixture into balls the size of a walnut shell (or slightly larger if you like) and place on an oven tray lined with baking paper.

Bake in a preheated 180C oven for 25 minutes. Turning over carefully half way through.

Meanwhile, make the pomodoro sauce.

Pomodoro sugo

In a medium saucepan, heat the oil over a low-medium heat and add the garlic. Allow the garlic to infused for 1-2 minutes, stirring often, ensuring it doesn’t brown.

Stir through the passata, salt and basil leaves. Cover and simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once out of the oven, stir the polpette gently through the tomato sugo and simmer on low for a few minutes so the balls soak up some of the liquid.

Remove from the heat and stir through your favourite pasta or enjoy on their own as a side or starter along with fresh crusty bread for dipping.

NOTE: This dish can easily be made gluten free – just replace with slices of your favourite gluten free bread/breadcrumbs.

Nutritional Guide

Amount per serving:

Calories / Kilojoules633 / 2650
Total Fat35g
Total Carbohydrate64g
     Dietary Fibre21g
* The nutritional information provided above is to be used as a guide only and your meal may differ
** The above guide does not include pasta if that is your serving preference
Author Bio
Nadia shares her passion for vegan Italian food and travel through The Vegan Italian Kitchen and her cookbook Discovering Vegan Italian. Nadia is a food writer and also runs cooking classes and retreats. 
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