If you follow my blogs on a regular basis, you’ll know that I’m a little obsessed with anything in meatball form. How can you not love them? They’re perfectly shaped morsels of whatever you choose as a base loaded with a variety of spices and herbs. One of my favourite ways to serve them is to smother them in a spectacular sauce, like this one.
Over the last few months, we have tried to steer towards eating fully plant based meals at least three times a day. It hasn’t really worked that well for me because I love my cottage cheese and fruit in the mornings BUT I really love the recipes that I have created for lunch and dinner. So much so that I’m going to take a leap and say, these are one of the best meatball dishes I’ve ever tasted. It is packed with nutrients and beyond versatile. You can 100% swap out this sticky, hot sauce with any sauce you wish or just eat these meatballs plain. They are just as delicious.
Oh, and the reason why I chose to use blueberry jam in the recipe was simple. It was in my fridge. When it was cooking on the stove I’m 100% guilty of dipping my finger into it several times. It’s one of those sauces that can be schmeared on EVERYTHING.
While experimenting with faux “meatball” recipes I noticed how stinkin’ easy they are to throw together. Even easier if you have a food processor. You literally toss all the ingredients into the processor bowl, pulse, pulse, pulse and voila, DONE. Just a few ingredients, completely dairy free, meatless, and can be made vegan by subbing the egg with a mix of flax/water. Perfect if you put in long hours, need to take something to work or school for lunch and to be quite honest are just as good cold. I’ve been known to sneak one straight from the fridge now and then. One more thing. You can make a double batch and freeze them too! Freezer friendly meals mean less fussing around because you can reheat them in a jiffy during the week! Simply marvelous, dontcha think?
Here’s a question. Are we strict vegans? NOPE. We may one day be classified as “plant based eaters only” but for now, we just want a change of menu selections geared towards healthy eating.
I know I’ve mentioned that this recipe is versatile and you can change up the sauces but why not use different spices or add in chopped veggies? Good idea? YEP.
FAQ’s + TIPS ON THESE BALLS:
- Can these be made gluten-free? Try using gluten-free panko breadcrumbs and gluten-free tamari in place of soy sauce. You could also use gluten-free rolled oats in place of the breadcrumbs.
- Are these meatballs spicy? Um ya. THEY SURE ARE! What if you are not into spice or making these for the kids? Easy, just turn down the heat in both the meatballs and the sauce.
- Make ahead options! I have really good news here. Both the meatballs and sauce can be made ahead and stored in a container until ready to use. You can also blend up the meatball mixture in advance and chill until you’re ready to use. All you would need to do is ROLL, BAKE, TOSS IN THE SAUCE and SERVE when you’re ready to go!
- Why did my meatballs come out mushy? Nine times out of ten it means that your finger was on the food processor way too long. I know it’s tempting to focus on blending well but this is one of those times it’s not. Take it slow and lift off the top to have a look at the mixture. You want it to have some texture. A little confession here. I was trigger happy with these the first time I tested out the recipe and basically ended up with something that looked like hummus. DUH!!
A super low maintenance recipe for you today. And, if you’re not a fan of black beans, feel free to use chickpeas or canned lentils as a substitute.
Lastly, I want you to know that I ate these for 4 days in a row. With the exception of having them for breakfast (which was tempting), they showed up on my plate for my lunch and dinner. I didn’t complain AT ALL.
Finger licking good, knock-your-socks off meatballs all in under 30 minutes. Can it get any better than this? I don’t think so.
- 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained + rinsed
- ⅓ cup panko crumbs (gluten free breadcrumbs or rolled oats work too)
- 1 egg (for vegan mix 1 tablespoon flax seed meal + 3 tablespoons water)
- 1 teaspoon italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- dash of smoked or hungarian sweet paprika
- pinch of chili powder (omit if you don't want it spicy)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- Optional add-ins:
- ½ cup chopped veggies (do not need to be precooked but mine were) such as sliced mushrooms, red pepper, spinach, etc.
- FIRECRACKER SAUCE RECIPE BELOW
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Rinse and drain the can of black beans
- In your food processor add ALL of the above ingredients except the sesame seeds.
- Pulse until combined, but still somewhat chunky. DO NOT OVER MIX or you will end up with a puree!
- Scoop and roll into golf ball sized balls. (I use a 1½ tablespoon size cookie scoop for this)
- Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 12-15 minutes, flipping/turning around halfway through! The edges should be crispy and brown and the middle is soft. Remove from oven and immediately toss in sauce. Place back into the oven to caramelize the sauce for about 5 minutes. Remove, top with toasted sesame seeds, additional desired garnishes and serve with rice or noodles.
- Store in the fridge for up to a week or freezer for up to 3 months!
- ½ cup blueberry jam
- ¼ cup sweet chili sauce
- ¼ cup barbecue sauce
- 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sriracha sauce
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
- pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- Mix all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a slow boil and cook for two minutes until all ingredients are dissolved. Toss meatballs in sauce and serve any leftover for garnish.