Italian Bean Balls

italian bean balls

This meatball recipe from Oh She Glows is a great alternative to tofu based vegetarian meat balls. They are great on top of salads, in a sandwich, or eaten traditionally with pasta sauce. They also freeze well.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped and toasted
  • 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats, processed into a coarse flour
  • 1 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons finely chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (about 2 large)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax + 3 tbsp water, mixed
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Toast the walnuts for 7-9 minutes until fragrant and golden.
  2. Meanwhile, add the oats into the food processor and process until finely chopped. You want the texture to be like a coarse flour.
  3. Add the grated carrot, chopped parsley, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, walnuts, and oat flour into a large bowl. Stir to combine.
  4. Add the drained and rinsed beans into the food processor and process until finely chopped. You want the mixture to be a coarse paste with some beans still intact, but don’t completely puree the mixture. Stir the processed beans into the bowl with the vegetables and oat flour.
  5. In a mug, whisk together the ground flax and water. Let it sit for only 15-20 seconds, any longer and it will get too thick. Stir into the vegetable bean mixture until fully combined.
  6. Stir the oil, oregano, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using) into the bowl, adjusting amounts to taste if necessary.
  7. Shape the mixture into 18-20 balls (the size of golf-balls), packing each ball tightly between your hands so it holds together well. Place each ball onto the prepared baking sheet an inch or two apart.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes, then gently flip the balls and and bake for another 15-20 minutes until golden on both sides.
  9. After baking, place balls on a cooling rack for 10 minutes to cool slightly.
  10. Serve with spaghetti squash or pasta and tomato sauce (either homemade or store-bought). I also sprinkled some of my vegan Parmesan on top.

Notes: 1) To make this recipe nut-free, omit the walnuts and use sunflower seeds instead (or omit entirely – but keep in mind they add a great crunch!).

Recipe and photo courtesy of OhSheGlows.com.

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