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  • Writer's pictureIsabella Akshay

Walnut Wonders: Vegan Meatballs in Genovese Walnut Sauce

Introduction to Genovese Walnut Sauce

Dive into the heart of Ligurian cuisine with our Genovese walnut sauce, a staple in the coastal region of Genoa, Italy. This sauce, known locally as 'salsa di noci,' is a testament to the simplicity and elegance of Italian cooking. It dates back to the medieval times when the abundance of walnut trees in the region led to the creation of this rich, creamy sauce. Traditionally served with pasta, particularly pansotti and trofie, this sauce is a celebration of local ingredients and culinary history. Our recipe takes a vegan twist on this classic, pairing it with lentil-based meatballs for a hearty and satisfying meal.

Ingredients for Genovese Walnut Sauce

  • 1 cup walnuts

  • ¼ cup pine nuts

  • 1 cup stale bread, cubed and soaked in warm soya milk

  • 1 clove garlic

  • Fresh marjoram leaves

  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for Vegan Meatballs

  • 1 cup cooked lentils (green or brown)

  • 1 cup vegan breadcrumbs

  • ½ cup finely chopped onion

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • 1 tsp dried basil

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 2 tbsp olive oil (more for sautéing)

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari

  • 1 tbsp tomato paste


  1. Prepare the Walnut Sauce: Follow the instructions in the Genovese walnut sauce recipe above.

  2. Make Meatball Mixture: In a large bowl, mash cooked lentils partially. Mix in breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, olive oil, soy sauce, and tomato paste.

  3. Form Meatballs: Roll the mixture into tablespoon-sized balls.

  4. Sauté Meatballs: Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the meatballs, turning occasionally, until evenly browned and firm, about 10-15 minutes.

  5. Combine with Sauce: Once the meatballs are cooked, add the Genovese walnut sauce to the skillet. Gently stir to coat the meatballs in the sauce and heat everything together for a few minutes.

  6. Serve: Serve the meatballs and sauce hot, garnished with extra marjoram leaves if desired. This dish pairs wonderfully with pasta or crusty bread.

Our Vegan Meatballs in Genovese Walnut Sauce bring a piece of Italian history to your table with a modern, plant-based twist. Savor the rich flavors and enjoy a meal that's as nutritious as it is delicious!

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