Chef Molly Yeh's "Spaghetti and My Ex-Boyfriend’s Meatless Balls"

35 minsPrep Time
45 minsCook Time

1 hr 20 minsTotal Time


  • 1 cup almonds or walnuts, toasted
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1/4 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Roll 1 ½ tablespoon-size balls, packing them just firmly enough so that they hold together but not too firmly because otherwise they’ll be tough. Place them on a plate or sheet of parchment paper.

  4. Warm the marinara sauce in a large saucepan over medium heat.

  5. In a skillet, heat ¼ inch of oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook the balls turning them, until they’re golden brown on all sides (Alternatively, you can deep-fry the suckers if that’s what you’re into.)

  6. Transfer the balls to the tomato sauce and enjoy over spaghetti, topped with additional cheese and chopped fresh parsley or basil.