Cravings are a funny thing …. I saw someone on tv make a meatballs & spaghetti dish and not the making or the ingredients of it but the visual end result really inspired me to cook / eat something like these vegan white bean meatballs with a tomato basil sauce and of course pasta. Btw these balls would go crazy good in a sub or pita bread with lots of delicious sauce, tomato slices and pickles. Full recipe below this post.
The base of the “meatballs” are made of mushrooms and onion which give moisture and flavor to the beans. I chopped them really fine in my small food processor and sauteed it for a few minutes together with some chopped bell pepper to give it some color and texture. Precooking the onion ensures that they are soft and done inside the ball.
To bind it I used a few slices of my two day old multi grain bread which is delicious and gluten free but you can use any bread of your choice. I pulsed it into a fine consistency.
Mixing everything together. The white slush you see are the pulsed white beans, not totally fine, I like some texture in there. Also some dried oregano and flat leaf parsley.
I formed these vegan white bean meatballs with an ice cream scoop, the texture firms up if you let it rest in the fridge for an hour or so which I obviously didn’t do. I like the scooping technique, fast and clean hands.
Bake on 200C / 400F until the outside is golden and crunchy. I always use these bpa free baking sheets, everything always turns out crispy, golden and delicious.
While the white bean balls are baking I made the tomato basil sauce, added in some zucchini for volume and nutrients. Zucchini makes it kind of Mediterranean and I love it. The longer you cook the sauce the better it seems to get. Lycopeen found in tomatoes is proven to boosts collagen production in the skin and acts as a natural sunblock. Also rich in vitamin C, needed for the formation of new collagen for a younger looking skin. Read HERE more about how to nourish the skin naturally and enhance collagen production.
How delicious does this look!? Because I left the vegetables more chunky I used a brown rice fusilli pasta, a finer sauce would go well with spaghetti. Or whatever you like. In Italy there are rules with what you serve with a specific kind of pasta.
Generally the lighter, more delicate or thinner sauces are best suited to thinner pasta shapes or filled pasta, stuffed with gently-flavored ingredients. Chunky, like mine or heavier, more concentrated sauces are best served with bigger, thicker pasta shapes that can collect more sauce in their grooves or ridges.
Comfort food …. nice with a fresh green salad on the side. Splash of balsamic vinegar and a dusting of cashew Parmesan cheese. Easy to make, some cashews, nutritional yeast, garlic and onion powder and a dash of salt processed into a Parmesan like powder.
If you would like to keep this recipe you can print it or pin the picture below to your Pinterest board. Let me know how it turned out if gave it a go,
Vegan White Bean Meatballs, Tomato Basil Sauce
- 1 medium yellow onion diced small
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 cups mushrooms finely chopped (button mushrooms work best)
- 1 small red bell pepper in tiny cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 15 ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed (navy beans work best)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley chopped
- 1 cup "fresh" bread crumbs made from some two day old gf bread
- 1 yellow onion chopped fine
- 3 tins of 400 grams / 15 oz. canned plum tomatoes chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 2 medium zucchini, cubed
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 1 cup vegetable stock
- 1 Tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 tso sea salt to taste
- 1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, torn or chopped
- black pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the onion, garlic, bell pepper and mushrooms to a hot pan with a tbsp of water and cook for about minutes.
- Pulse the beans or crush them with a for until fine but not a puree. Process the bread into a crumb and mix everything together, beans, bread and seasonings. Set it in the fridge for 30 minutes to make making the balls easier.
- Form the meatballs into 1 inch balls, about 2 tablespoons per meatball or as I did, make the balls with a small ice cream scoop. Bake for 20 minutes, turn and bake for 15 to 20 minutes further until golden. It makes between 16 to 20 meatballs depending on the size.
- Saute the chopped onion in a tbsp of water for a few minutes. Add in crushed garlic, bell pepper and zucchini and bake for about 5 minutes.
- Add in the canned tomatoes and juice, you can chop these or crush them with a fork or potato masher. Add in the stock, salt black pepper and coconut sugar. Simmer on low for about 45 - 50 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so. When almost done add in the chopped basil.
- Cook the pasta when the balls and sauce are almost done. You can add the white bean meatballs to the sauce or on top. Serve with a dusting of cashew Parmesan.