Red Lentil Penne with Vegetarian Meatballs & Spicy Tomato Sauce

  • Yield : 24
  • Prep Time : 0m
  • Cook Time : 0m
  • Ready In : 0m

These meatless “meatballs” are the perfect choice for a plant-based main dish.


Step 1

1. Bring salted water to a boil in steam-jacketed kettle or large stockpot on stovetop. Cook pasta as directed on package; drain.

Step 2

2. Meanwhile, combine garlic, eggs, chickpeas, cheese, oregano and panko in food processor until smooth. Form mixture into balls using #110 scoop. Heat 1/3 cup oil in large rondeaux on medium heat. Working in batches, cook formed chickpea balls 3-4 min. until browned on all sides. Drain on rack lined with paper towels.

Step 3

3. Add remaining oil, red pepper and onions to same pan; cook 2-3 minutes or until onions are softened. Add tomatoes; simmer and season sauce to taste. Add pasta and chickpea balls to tomato sauce; toss gently to combine. Serve with additional cheese.

Step 4

Chef Notes: These chickpea balls can also be baked in a 400F oven for 15-20 min. lightly sprayed with olive oil on sheet pans until light golden brown.


  • 3 lbs Barilla Red Lentil Penne
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 6 eggs
  • 3 cups canned chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1-1/2 cups grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, plus additional for garnish
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1-1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup Extra Virgin olive oil
  • 3 quarts San Marzano tomatoes, crushed
  • 1-1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 3 large yellow onions, chopped
  • Kosher salt & ground black pepper
Recipe Type:

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Nutritional Info

This information is per serving.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1
Servings Per Container 24

Amount Per Serving
Calories 346
Calories from Fat 81
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g
Saturated Fat 2g
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 51mg
Sodium 725mg
Total Carbohydrate 50g
Dietary Fiber 10g
Sugars 8g
Protein 21g

Vitamin A 11%
Vitamin C 17%
Calcium 10%
Iron 26%
Allergy Information:
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Please note: for the purpose of the nutritional assessment, total sodium does not include salt added to the cooking water. When salt is listed "as needed" in the ingredient list, 1 tsp total is included in the analysis.