I am loving these vegan meat balls subs! (Some may say a little too much…given that I’ve made these black bean balls almost every day for lunch this week). They are so quick and easy to make (literally you only cook them for 12 minutes), and a great substitution for meat-balls in any recipe! The balls are made with black beans, walnuts and mushrooms; little guys that pack a big flavour punch. Drizzled with tomato sauce and served on a homemade garlic bread… they’re seriously delicious!
Corn meal makes for a more chunky texture, and allows the meatballs to soak up a lot of sauce. GF oats can be substituted as well, but I found the oat-based balls a little too soggy with the sauce, so if you have cornmeal, definitely use that!
How to Use Your Vegan Bean balls:
Serve them with a generous dosing of tomato sauce and you’re away to the races! They are great atop pasta, or sandwiched between a ciabatta bun, as part of a slider, like I made for dinner last night. They store well in a container in the fridge as leftovers, though I suspect they wouldn’t keep well for more then 2 days. I haven’t tried freezing them, but suspect they would be fine, so if you try freezing them, let me know!
You can also try crumbling them on top of a pasta or salad dish, really the possibilities are endless!
This recipe was inspired by my cross country skiing get away last weekend. There was…well a lot of meat present to put it mildly, including a giant, Costco-sized bag of meat balls. While everyone else was digging into their meat balls, I had a black bean-based pasta on chickpea penne, which was actually really good (FYI the Costco Tomato sauce is vegan and seriously good for those of you who have a membership). I haven’t eaten meat in so long that I’m at the point where I don’t see it as food anymore (usually when I see people eat it, I feel either a little grossed out or neutral), but I thought it’d be fun to try my hand at making my own version, and that some of you might appreciate having a replacement for pasta night or meat ball sandwiches (and because pre-race pasta is basically my religion). So I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as I did!
- 2 cloves of Garlic, finely minced
- 3-4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- GF ciabatta, see notes for brand I used
- 2 c or 1 can of Black Beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 c Cremini Mushrooms, sliced
- 4 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
- 2 Tbsp Walnut Pieces
- 1 tsp Oregano
- 1 tsp Basil
- 1/2 Tbsp Tamari, or use 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 c of Corn Meal
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
- 1 container vegan Tomato sauce (I used marinara)
- Vegan cheese, optional
Preheat the oven to 410F.
Slice the cremini mushrooms, and cook with the basil and oregano in a pan on medium heat for about 7-10 minutes or until softened. If cooking them oil free, you may need to add a bit of water to prevent sticking.
While the mushrooms are cooking, add the black beans, nutritional yeast, walnuts, garlic, tamari and pepper to the blender.
Prepare the garlic bread by slicing your ciabatta buns in half and then mixing the olive oil and garlic in a small bowl. Using a basting brush, brush the garlic oil onto the "sandwich surface" of the bread (see photo if unsure where to put it).
Once the mushrooms are cooked, add them to the blender with the bean mixture and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides once or twice as needed.
Next, add your 1/2 c of cornmeal to the blender and pulse until combined. The dough should be sticky and hold a ball shape. You can adjust the wetness of the dough by adding more cornmeal as needed.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or tinfoil). Using a Table spoon or mini ice cream scooper, scoop the dough and place it on the sheet in rounded tablespoons (like you would if baking cookies). You can reshape them to make them more rounded with your fingers, if desired.
Bake at 410F for 12 minutes, flipping halfway through if desired. (I usually do not flip, but reshape them a little once they come out of the oven).
Next, switch the oven to broil and toss in your garlic bread. Watch it carefully to avoid burning! Remove once lightly browned.
Gently remove the meatballs from the baking sheet (I use a spatula if they stick a bit) and place them on your garlic bread. Douse liberally with your marinara sauce. Add a sprinkling of vegan cheese and broil in the oven briefly to melt, if desired.
Top with second piece of bread and enjoy!
1. Gluten free ciabatta: I had a great find at Fortinos, that is vegan as far as I can tell. The packaging says "suitable for vegetarians" and "lactose free", but I couldn't find any eggs in the ingredients list. I used the brown ciabattas, and they are really great toasted! This is what they look like, the brand is "Schar". 2. Vegan Cheese: a nice addition to fancy it up. Use your favourite brand of store bought, or make your own, use the vegan mozzarella from this recipe.
Another short post today, but I hope you enjoy the recipe (I definitely did!). Some of you may have noticed I missed #SVKMeatFreeMonday this week. I’ve decided to move the party on over to YouTube. You can find my YouTube channel here. Feel free to subscribe to check out my recipe videos. I’m also going to be doing dedicated talks on nutrition, weight loss, running etc. I was finding the Facebook live format kind of cumbersome and the video quality was pretty poor, so I’m excited to try out making some higher quality videos, and separating the topics a bit, so you guys don’t have to watch a full half hour if you only want the nutrition tips or whatever. The plan is to publish on Wednesdays, I’ll also be posting them to my Facebook page, and sending the link to my email list (which you can sign up for on the little green bar below). I love questions, comments and feedback, so if you want to ask something or have a video idea, just get in touch via my contact me page.
Have a great week everyone!