These balls are similar to falafel in texture, and because they are bean and grain based, they will fall apart if submerged in sauce for too long. So it’s best to add them to your sauce briefly after it’s hot or pour the sauce over them.
Put the nuts and oats (or quinoa flakes) into a food processor and pulse several times to coarsely chop the nuts. Do not grind to a flour–they should be about the size of popcorn kernels. Pour into a bowl or storage bag.
Add all remaining ingredients and mix well. Keep prepared mix in the refrigerator until ready to use.
To make the entire batch of mix, pour it into a bowl and add 2/3 cup boiling water. Stir and let stand for 15 minutes as you preheat oven to 350 F.
Using wet hands, form the mixture into about 12 1-inch balls. Place on a silicone mat or oiled baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning once halfway through. Cover with hot spaghetti sauce and serve.
To make 1/2 a batch, measure out 3/4 of a cup of the mixture and add 1/3 cup boiling water. Proceed as above.
To keep these gluten-free, be sure to use gluten-free oats or quinoa flakes. Not all people following a gluten-free diet can tolerate oats, so ask first.Variations: The fennel and red pepper flakes add a sausage flavor and spiciness, but you can leave them out for a milder taste. Tomato powder adds color and flavor but can be omitted; instead, try using tomato sauce instead of some of the water to hydrate the mix.If you’re avoiding nuts and seeds, you can leave them out and add an extra 1/3 cup of oats.