My husband and son love my meatball recipe. When I make them, I often just have some roasted mushrooms or buy frozen vegan meatballs. But last night I decided to make my own—same recipe as the ones I make the boys, just minus the meat. I wanted to use lentils, but couldn’t find any in my pantry. I did find pink beans so went with those. Pink beans look like small pink kidney beans, but taste closer to pinto beans. They are very popular in Caribbean cooking. I bought a bag awhile ago to make a Caribbean dish and forgot about them.
Also, I always make my own pasta sauce. I like knowing what’s in it for sure, and that it’s not loaded with sodium. This is just a basic recipe, feel free to doctor it up as you like. Or use a jar of your favorite sauce, too.
This recipe makes 5-6 servings.
1 bag of pink beans Olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
28 ounce can of tomato puree
14.5 can of diced tomatoes
2 cups water
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
12 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tsp ground sage
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 cup water, as needed
Salt and pepper to taste
A bag of your favorite pasta
Soak your pink beans in cold water overnight if possible, they will cook a lot faster.
Place your soaked beans in large pot filled with enough water to cover them with an inch of water. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook as long as directions on the package say (mine took about 45 minutes). Add more water as needed. Cook until they are soft but not mushy. Drain well and set aside.
While those are cooking, you can work on the sauce…
In a large pot, heat some olive oil over medium heat.
Add the minced garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for a minute or two, until the garlic is fragrant.
Add the tomato puree, diced tomatoes, water, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
Cook for a half an hour, then season with salt and pepper as desired.
Remove from heat and set aside for now.
While the sauce is cooking you can start on the beanballs (assuming your beans are cooked now)….
In a large bowl, mash up the beans. Leave a few chunks for texture.
Add the oil, nutritional yeast, bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, sage, and fennel. Then season with salt and pepper as desired.
Add a little water at a time to help it all come together. You want it to still be soft, but be able to hold shape.
So you could make them into balls and pan-fry them in olive oil until they are golden on the outside. That was my original plan until I realized all my burners were being used (I was making lemonade at the same time as this).
I oiled up a ceramic pan and made them into little mounds. Then I baked them at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, and broiled on low for 3 minutes.
Then I scooped them out with an ice ice cream scoop to keep the ball shape.
Lastly, cook your pasta according the directions on the package (I did this while beanballs cooked).
Add your pasta to the sauce and toss together well.
Plate up the pasta, top with some beanballs, top with your favorite vegan cheese, and enjoy!
The fennel and sage really give the balls that sausage meatball kind of taste. Pair with a nice salad and you have a satisfying complete meal.
This recipe makes a lot of beanballs. You can freeze them or cut the recipe in half, too.