SimplyGrand Dishing with Steph: From Yeh to Yah, That’s Good (V3)!

Steph is back with another #SimplyGrand Molly Yeh dish, and this time it is Spaghetti and My Ex-Boyfriend's Meatless Balls.

My son, James, asked me to make Molly Yeh’s recipe for Spaghetti and My Ex-Boyfriend’s Meatless Balls. James is 10 years old and the name of this recipe was everything to him. My son loves meat and he didn’t even care that the meatballs were meatless.

I’ve made many types of meatballs including Asian, Swedish, Norwegian (like Swedish, just better – a family joke) even a recipe for Chicken Cordon Bleu meatballs, but never meatless. I was a bit skeptical about the recipe. I even had a bag of frozen meatballs on standby just in case we were less than excited with the results.

The recipe is on page 79 of Molly Yeh’s cookbook Molly on the Range. Molly has a great story about how she discovered this recipe.

Tools and Ingredients:

  • Just a few ingredients are needed to make these meatless balls. I found everything at my local Hugo’s grocery store and my neighbor, Lori’s, pantry. Right before I made the recipe, I realized that I was nearly out of dried parsley. Lori saved the day!
  • You’ll need a food processor to achieve the right consistency for your meatless mixture.

Making the Meatless Balls:

  • The recipe comes together in a food processor, which was perfect, because James got to hit the pulse button about a hundred times, which made his day. I was so impressed with how easy these were to make. I followed the directions exactly and was happy with how well the meatballs held up. They were easy to shape and didn’t fall apart during browning.
  • I drained the meatballs on paper towels for a few minutes after frying them and before adding them to the pasta sauce. I let them simmer while I made the pasta. The meal came together quickly.

Tips and Tricks:

  • The recipe calls for toasted almonds or walnuts. I chose sliced almonds because I thought they would be easier to toast. I tossed the almonds with a pinch of kosher salt and roasted them on a large sheet pan at 350° for about 10 minutes until they were slightly browned and smelled nutty. Be carefully to check the pan and give the nuts a stir every 2-3 minutes.
  • Follow Molly’s instructions, pack the meatballs just firmly enough so they hold together but not too firmly to make them tough when they brown.


I try new recipes a few times a week, every time I make something new, I ask my family “Is this a make again meal?” My family is fairly forthcoming with their responses. My daughter doesn’t ever want to hurt my feelings so she’s pretty gentle with her criticism, my husband always tells me he will eat anything, but I can tell if he likes it if he goes in for seconds. My son is usually pretty blunt.

When it comes to Molly’s recipe for Spaghetti and My Ex-Boyfriend’s Meatless Balls, the whole family asked me to make this again. The meatless balls were unbelievable! My son’s response was “They don’t taste exactly like meat, but they are so good!”. Everyone went in for seconds or thirds. This recipe was a clear winner. The combination of the nuts, cheese and breadcrumbs made a hearty meatball. Browning the meatballs in oil turned them a beautiful color. I am so glad I finally tried out this recipe.

Please let me know if you’ve tried this recipe or tell me your favorite Molly Yeh recipe. You can reach me at or post to VisitGrandForks on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.