Lady and the Tramp-Inspired Spaghetti "Meatballs" (Vegan)

January 4, 2023
Here’s another inner child inspiration that I’ve always wanted to recreate from the cartoon Lady and the Tramp, where they romantically share a plate of delicious-looking Spaghetti Meatballs. For this veganized version, I used chickpeas and tempeh, a fermented soybean that’s rich in natural protein. Feel free to play around with your own combination and discover which you like best!
vegan spaghetti and meatballs in a white bowl

Lady and the Tramp-Inspired Spaghetti “Meatballs” (Vegan)

Recipe Type: Hearty Entrees
utensils YIELDS 5–6 servings
herb graphic for recipe card
  • 1 can chickpeas (mashed)
  • 1/2 tempeh (crumbled)
  • 1 stalk celery (diced)
  • 1/2 carrot (diced)
  • 1/2 onion (diced)
  • 3x mushrooms (diced)
  • A handful fresh basil leaves (chopped) - save some whole as toppings
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • Olive oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • Salt & pepper
  • Spaghetti
  • 1/2 onion (thinly chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 canned tomatoes
  • 1 small carton tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • Red wine
  • 2x bay leaves
  • 2 tsp mixed herbs
        graphic for recipe card


1. Drain your aquafaba (chickpea liquid) from 1 can of chickpeas and transfer into a large mixing bowl, mashed until smooth. Or feel free to leave them a bit chunky if you prefer. 

2. Add your crumbled tempeh, diced onion, carrot, celery, mushrooms, chopped basil leaves, breadcrumbs, a drizzle of olive oil, soy sauce, garlic powder, 2 tsp mixed herbs, salt and pepper and combine well. 

3. Form your vegan “meatballs” using ¼ cup as measurement and roll them neatly on a plate. 

4. Using an air fryer, place them into the basket and fry them for 10 minutes at 160°c on each side until golden brown (or pan fry them as you wish). 

5. While your “meatballs” are frying, prepare your sauce: on a hot pan, drizzle some olive oil and sauté your thinly chopped onion and then your minced garlic until fragrant. 

6. As your pan starts to get dry, add a splash of red wine to add a boost of flavor and aroma until it simmers down. 

7. Then add your canned tomatoes, tomato sauce and tomato paste. 

8. Next add your bay leaves, 2 tsp of mixed herbs and salt & pepper to taste and let it simmer on low heat.

9. Prepare your spaghetti and cook accordingly. 

10. When your meatballs are ready, add them to the sauce. 

11. Plate up your pasta, meatballs and sauce and top with some fresh basil leaves and if you want some cheesy flavor, add some nutritional yeast and enjoy!

Get more like this—Sign up for our daily inspirational newsletter for exclusive content!


Photo: Bel Faustino

Bel Faustino
Bel’s curiosity for healthy living started at a young age of 11. From mindful eating to exercise, she always had a sweet tooth struggle and her weakness are desserts. It then took her high school and uni days to find the balance to maintain the healthy lifestyle yet enjoy desserts in a more guilt-free way and veganizing them seems the way to do it. Obsessed with always finding healthier alternatives, she hopes to recreate her favorite non vegan treats and share her recipes through her culture (Filipina born in Macau, S.A.R., China), lifestyle, childhood memories and travels (Southeast Asia, USA, Mexico, UK and more to come!). Follow her journey in Instagram @belbrosasfaustino.


always stay inspired!