Flexitarian Spaghetti and Meatballs

Looking for healthy dinner inspo? Our pals at Athletic Brewing Company are here to help. Made with ground pork and lentils, these flexitarian meatballs cook right in the sauce for an easy and healthy take on a classic, and taste great washed down with a non-alcoholic beverage or two.

Pairing: Upside Down Golden Ale

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Serves: 2 (with leftovers)


1/2 lb lean ground pork
1 cup cooked brown lentils
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
3 tbsp olive oil, divided
2 tbsp quick oats
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, minced and divided
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
1 jar (24 oz) strained, puréed tomatoes
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

8 oz spaghetti
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 bunch rapini, trimmed and chopped
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

  1. Meatballs: Mix together pork, lentils, bread crumbs, egg, 1 tbsp olive oil, oats, parsley, Parmesan, 2 tsp minced garlic, oregano, salt and pepper until combined. Roll into 1-inch meatballs.

  2. Heat remaining oil in small Dutch oven or high-sided skillet set over medium heat; cook remaining garlic for about 1 minute or until starting to soften. Stir in tomatoes; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low.

  3. Drop meatballs into sauce; cover and cook for 18 to 20 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through. Stir in basil.

  4. Assembly: Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain well.

  5. Heat oil in skillet set over medium heat. Cook rapini, salt and pepper for 3 to 5 minutes or until starting to soften. Stir in 1/4 cup water; cover and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender.

  6. Toss spaghetti with enough of the tomato sauce to coat pasta; divide between 2 plates. Top with meatballs and more sauce. Serve with rapini and Parmesan.


  1. Use spelt, whole-grain or high-fiber spaghetti if desired.
  2. Serve leftover meatballs in sandwiches or add to soups.
  3. Substitute ground beef or turkey for ground pork.
Nutrition Facts


Calories: 720
Fat: 28g
Saturated Fat: 7g
Cholesterol: 90mg
Sodium: 990mg
Carbohydrate : 79g
Fiber: 9g
Sugars: 12g
Protein: 35g

*Nutrition analysis is based on 4 servings to account for the leftovers.