No Meat, aka “NeatBalls” & Marinara Sauce: Raw Recipe

Long before the raw food revolution became trendy, I’ve been enjoying raw foods, just like I’m sure many of you! However, my definition of raw was limited to fruits, vegetables, juices, nuts and seeds. This new-ish trend definitely opened my eyes and expanded my raw food horizon. Several years I ago I would never even fathom making meatballs and sauce completely raw and expecting it to be uber tasty.

This is is precisely what Walker and I ate for dinner last night… uber tasty neatballs and sauce with gluten-free pasta (not raw) — per the photo.

Now a couple of weeks ago I made a similar recipe that I created for an UNcooking workshop I taught with Carol Belmonte (Toronto’s Raw Food Goddess). Since I had limited ingredients in my kitchen last night, I developed a new recipe and it was equally as deeeelicious!

Neat Balls

  • 3/4 cup walnuts (soaked for a couple of hours if you aren’t making it last minute, like I did)
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 2-3 medjol dates, pits removed
  • 4 sundried tomatoes
  • 1/2 chopped small red onion
  • 1/4 cup cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 fresh garlic clove
  • A couple glugs of extra-virgin olive oil (don’t go crazy with the evoo)
  • Squirt of half a fresh lemon
  • Dash of sea salt

Method: If you have a Vitamix or a super high power blender then you don’t have to do any pre-chopping of your ingredients. Toss all your ingredients into a large food processor or blender and combine until smooth. Roll into 1.5 inch balls and seat aside. If you’ve made my sexy maca cookie balls or any of my raw cookies, then these are definitely NOT as firm. You want them to be very tender as you will eat them with a fork on top of your pasta.

Joyous Health – Raw Vegan NeatBalls

This next recipe was inspired by one of my students at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition, Linda. She made it at her food demo, but I modified it based on my ingredients in my kitchen.

Marinara Sauce

  • 3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (use uncooked canned or bottled if you want due to the time of year — note that only glass bottles are free of BPA)
  • ½ cup sundried tomatoes
  • 3 medjol dates, pits removed
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley
  • 5 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 tsp dried or fresh oregano
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp dried red chili flakes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Method: Toss everything into your food processor or blend. Blend until fully combined. VOILA!

Joyous Health Raw Marinara Sauce & Neatballs

Cook your pasta or use your spiralizer to make zucchini noodles for a 100% raw meal. Mix your sauce with your noodles and then top with 2-3 neatballs.

Serves 2 with plenty of leftovers for lunch!


Joy McCarthy

Joy McCarthy is the vibrant Holistic Nutritionist behind Joyous Health. Author of JOYOUS HEALTH: Eat & Live Well without Dieting, professional speaker, nutrition expert on Global’s Morning Show, Faculty Member at Institute of Holistic Nutrition and co-creator of Eat Well Feel Well. Read more...



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  • Hey Joy, so u don’t cook the meatballs & eat the cold on top of spaghetti?

    • Hey Jen!

      Yup, they’re meant to be raw :) If you really wanted to, you could sauté them lightly but they’re pretty tasty as is!

      Rachel – Joyous Health Team