Faff Factor: 3.5/5 * Flavour: 3.5/5 * Fridge to Face: 30 mins
Modified from a recipe by nutriciously.com
(Serves 4 with leftovers, PLUS another bag of meatballs for the freezer)
Black Bean Meatballs
3 cups cooked black beans
3/4 cup walnut pieces
3 medium carrots, peeled & roughly chopped
1.5 cups rolled oats
1 bunch parsley (Approx 1 cup roughly chopped)
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp dry thyme
2 tsp paprika
S & P
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 flax eggs (mix 2 tbsp ground flax w. 6 tbsp warm water. Rest for 5 mins to thicken)
1 onion, diced
1 garlic clove
1 can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, (oregano, thyme, basil)
*If fresh herbs not available, use 1 tsp of each dried
2 large zucchinis, any colour
(Parmesan / feta / goat’s cheese / grated cheddar)
1. Preheat oven to 350/180 and line a cookie sheet with parchment.
2. Make the flax eggs, set aside to thicken.
3. Pulse the walnuts, garlic, carrots & parsley in your food processor until blended and in little pieces. Stop before they turn to mush. Add black beans, oats and spices. Process until a crumbly dough forms, season with salt & pepper.
4. Empty mixture into a large bowl, and add flax eggs and soy sauce. Mix together using hands, squeezing the mixture through your fingers to combine.
5. Form the mixture into balls (about the size of ping pong balls). Place 1/2 the balls onto the prepared baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes, flipping 1/2 way through.
*Place the other 1/2 onto a baking sheet and put in the freezer. Once frozen, put into a container in the freezer for a quick meal another day.
6. While meatballs are roasting, fry the diced onion & garlic in a little oil for about 5 minutes, until onions start to become translucent.
7. Add in the can of diced tomatoes, herbs, and a pinch of salt & pepper to taste. Cover, and simmer for 10-15 mins.
8. Spiralise your zucchini to make your zoodles and divide among plates.
9. Once the meatballs are done, submerge in your marinara sauce for a few minutes, before spooning over the zoodles.
10. Serve with a sprinkle of hemp hearts and nutritional yeast. Enjoy!
• Use any pasta instead of zoodles, although my wee one LOVES having noodle races with zoodles, because the noodles go on forever!
• Top with real parmesan, crumbled feta, goat’s cheese or grated cheddar. My wee one likes her plate blasted in the microwave for 30 seconds to melt the cheese and partly cook the raw zoodles.
• Topping with hemp hearts totally optional, I like the idea of the protein boost.
• Meatballs also great if you substitute in a 1/2 cup of cooked lentils for 1/2 cup of beans.
• Not going to lie, making the individual balls is a bit of a pain in the arse. As such, I always make this quantity of the recipe, so I have a whole other family dinner ready to go in the freezer. You can also double the sauce recipe and freeze that too, so the entire meal would be ready to go, bar the noodles.
• Quite a few pots and pans with this one, again why I make enough for 2 meals.
• We enjoyed this meal, as did our wee one. (She loves having races to see who can slurp up the noodles fastest). Tastes really fresh, yet satisfying. The original recipe recommended serving with a sprinkling of nutritional yeast… I was pretty skeptical, but went for it. I actually enjoyed it, but will likely have a shaving of fresh parmesan in the future. The wee one had melted cheddar on hers.
• For taking leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch, I’ll pack the meatballs separately, and heat up in the sauce just before I eat. I fear they’d be a soggy mess if they sat in sauce until tomorrow lunch.