Lina’s fake meatball zucchini pasta

Mains, Portraits

When my sister Lina decided to move back to the city we grew up in, many people wondered why. When I finished school, I wanted to move far away, possibly abroad. Now, no one is wondering anymore. She found herself a lovely flat and a job at the cutest organic market via connections. Although she’s really busy with university, she finds time for hobbies and to come up with new recipes.

She made me wonder: Isn’t it braver to try and find happiness where you are than to hunt for it in the distance?

One of the smartest educational moves of my mother was to teach my sister and me how to make coffee. She would pay us a couple of cents and we would bring her coffee anywhere, and spend hours in the kitchen baking cake we could serve her and my dad in our café. That’s more than fifteen (20??) years ago now and still we like to get together for a good meal made from scratch.

Somehow Lina’s dish resembles her decision to return to our hometown. At first glace it seems quite traditional but then you realize how interesting and daring it really is. It consists of three components: Pasta made from zucchini, meatballs without meat and non-expensive, fresh pesto. If you use the amounts suggested, you’ll have enough pesto to use it in other dishes or as a spicy spread. If you want to keep it in the fridge, make sure that there’s always a layer of oil on top.

Zucchini Spaghetti à mia sorella


  • 1 small zucchini per person

For the pesto:

  • 180 g sun-dried tomatoes
  • 100 g grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 regular tomatoes
  • a couple of basil leaves (feel free to add other herbs such as chives, thyme etc.)
  • 180 g sunflower seeds
  • 5 tbsp olive oil (the better the oil, the better the pesto)

For the spicy no-meat-meatballs:

  • 2 carrots, finely grated
  • 1 regular tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 chilli
  • a pinch of rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper


  1. First prepare the pesto. Toast the sunflower seeds on medium heat while constantly stirring to prevent the seeds from burning. There’s no need to let them cool down completely.
  2. Next chop the fresh tomatoes roughly
  3. Then add all the ingredients for the pesto into a high mixing cup and puree them (Lina: “or into your food processor you lucky bitch”). Lina prefers quite a thick texture, but if you puree it longer the pesto will become finer. Let the flavours develop in an airtight container in the fridge.
  4. Then concentrate on the meatballs: Finely chop the ingredients listed as finely chopped if you haven’t done so already
  5. Mix the fresh ingredients and spice them, then add the dry ingredients and finally add the boiling water. All the rolled oats should be moist. Let it soak for 10 minutes.
  6. Turn to the zucchini. Cut them into noodles with a spiralizer or simply use a box grater (“Hold the grater like a freaking mandoline.”).
  7. Kneed the dough (use your hands, your electric whisk with kneading hooks or  your food processor)
  8. Form walnut-size balls and fry them in the preheated pan from all sides until golden-brown
  9. Boil water in a  big pot. On top, steam the zucchini in a colander for ten minutes. If you are in a hurry and your dishwasher is broken, toss them directly into the water and take them out after a maximum of two minutes.

Tip: The smaller the meatballs the crispier they are // Try adding cinnamon, sage, or curry to the meatballs // If you want to reduce carbs or eat gluten-free and still want to feel full, you can replace the meatballs with a fried egg


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