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Roasted Red Pepper Pasta wth Tempeh Meatballs

Need a new recipe for pasta night? Try this Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Tempeh Meatballs

I don't usually go for red sauce but this Roasted Red Pepper Pasta sauce is heaven. The sweet roasted peppers and garlic, fresh basil, and creamy coconut milk make a perfectly savory sauce. The soft Tempeh Meatballs soak up the extra sauce and add a hearty protein boost to make this a very satisfying meal. Since there is some oven time involved, I recommend saving this for a Sunday night pasta dinner or a time when you want to relax and cook with a glass of wine - it would also be a perfect date night activity!

While this recipe would also work with actual meatballs, I highly recommend trying the tempeh version - especially if you've never tried tempeh before. Tempeh is a plant-based protein powerhouse made of fermented soy and grains. I go over the nutritional content of tempeh compared to tofu in this recipe for Tempeh Burgers with Slaw.

Makes 6-8 servings


  • 16 oz dry pasta

  • 1 head garlic

  • 4 red bell peppers

  • 1/4 C olive oil

  • 1/2 C full fat coconut milk

  • juice of 1 lemon

  • 1/4 C fresh basil or 1 tbsp dry

  • 1/4 C nutritional yeast

  • 1 tsp salt

  • black pepper to taste

For the Tempeh Meatballs

  • 1, 8 oz package tempeh

  • 1/2 C oats

  • 1 C white beans

  • 2 tbsp ground flax + 6 tbsp water (or 2 eggs)

  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tbsp tamari

  • 1 tbsp sugar (coconut, cane sugar, whatever you have!)

  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast

  • 1 tsp paprika

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • optional: 1/4 C chopped fresh parsley

  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil for coating the Tempeh Meatballs


  1. preheat oven to 400F

  2. cut bell peppers in half and cut out seeds, place cut side down on baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silicone baking mat

  3. roast peppers for ~35 min until the skins are blistering, remove peppers from oven and take oven temp down to 350F

  4. while peppers are roasting, prepare the garlic and meatballs

  5. separate garlic cloves but keep the skin on (removing the outer thin, flimsy skin), compost or save the very small heads of garlic for later (they would burn in the oven)

  6. pulse oats in food processor until they reach a flour-like consistency

  7. crumble tempeh into food processor** then add the rest of the meatball ingredients, pulse for a few seconds, so you can still see pieces of beans ( if it's pureed you won't be able to form into balls)

  8. form into about 16 meatballs (1-2 tbsp each) with your hands

  9. put 1-2 tbsp olive oil in a little dish, dip fingers in oil and pat the meatballs until coated (carefully since they are soft and squishy at this point, they don't have to be completely covered, just enough to help them brown and not stick) - olive or avocado oil spray works really well here too

  10. once peppers are finished and oven is down to 350F, transfer peppers to a plate to cool and put meatballs and garlic (with skins on) on the baking sheet

  11. bake for 25 min until golden brown, flipping over after 15 min

  12. while meatballs are baking - rinse out food processor and put the pasta water on to boil

  13. when meatballs and garlic are finished, pop each garlic clove out of skin (they should come out easily, most of the skins will have burst open in the oven) and place in food processor

  14. peel the skin off cooled peppers (it should come off easily) and add to food processor with remaining sauce ingredients (from olive oil down to black pepper), pulse until combined

  15. cook pasta according to package instructions once water is boiling then drain, saving about 1/2 C pasta water

  16. pour red pepper sauce into a large saucepan, add in cooked pasta while warm then mix in meatballs so they get coated with sauce, adding a little pasta water if necessary to get everything coated

  17. top with extra basil/parsley/nutritional yeast if desired

** tempeh can have a slightly bitter/sour taste (similar to sourdough) so if you don't like this, you can steam the tempeh before adding to the food processor - simply cut into 4-6 slices and place in small saucepan with 1/4 C water and simmer for ~5 min, drain and let cool, then proceed with step 7


Xx, Kara

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