Using black beans to replace meat probably didn’t cross your mind until now. Besides being a healthy option (we’re all about that life), it’s also a cheaper alternative to your regular meatballs. Plus, this Easy Vegan Meatballs in Marinara Sauce is a kid-friendly meal that will please most children.
This Italian-American-inspired meal’s star of the show, black beans, is filled with protein and fiber. Protein and fiber can help with losing weight and lowering cholesterol levels, delivery of natural anti-inflammatory nutrients, improving gut health, and lowering blood sugar levels. In addition, the fusion of Worcercestire sauce and mustard gives the meatballs that unexpected meatiness. This is the comfort food of your dreams!
If you want to mix it up, instead of eating the meatballs with pasta, you can make a meatball sandwich. Add some nutritional yeast or non-dairy cheese for more flavor, too! Oh and don’t worry, the sunflower seeds and breadcrumbs will bind the meatball ingredients together even without an egg.
For those who have intolerance for tomatoes, you can substitute the marinara with nomato sauce. See recipe notes below.
As the Italians say, mangiare per vivere e non vivere per mangiare (eat to live, don’t live to eat)!
Easy Vegan Meatballs in Marinara Sauce
- 30 oz black beans rinsed and drained
- 1 onion
- 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
- 2 small handful fresh basil
- 1½ Tbsp Worcestershire sauce vegan and gluten-free options exist, can substitute low-sodium soya sauce if needed.
- 2 Tsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp mustard
- 2 tsp oregano
- ½ tsp fine salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 cup breadcrumbs use gluten-free bread, if needed
Tomato Marinara Sauce
- 2 Tbsp olive oil or extra virgin olive oil plus extra for drizzling
- 2-4 garlic cloves chopped or finely sliced
- 30 oz tomato sauce
- 2 Tsp oregano
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place black beans in food processor with onion, seeds, basil, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, mustard, oregano, salt and pepper. Pulse to combine until a textured dough forms (don't overmix, you don't want a puree).
- Transfer mix to a bowl, add breadcrumbs and mix all the ingredients with your hands.
- Form small meatballs, about 18-20 pieces, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake them for 20 minutes at 360F.
Tomato Marinara Sauce
- Simultaneously in a medium skillet/pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sauté garlic cloves for 3 minutes, then stir in the tomato sauce and cook for 5 minutes. Season with oregano, salt, and pepper according to your taste.
- Reduce the heat and cook the sauce for a further 10 minutes.
- When the meatballs are baked and crispy, add them to the tomato sauce and stir gently to coat.
- Simultaneously, cook spaghetti in a large pot of boiling water. Salt water, if you prefer.
- Drain spaghetti and stir in the skillet along with tomato sauce, vegan meatballs and shredded basil leaves.
- Place pasta, sauce, with meatballs on plate. Top with lightly drizzling of extra virgin olive oil and some fresh basil.