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Vegan Black Bean “Meatballs” In Marinara Sauce

  17 rater(s)

Holy mother of flavor these are good! These black bean balls are giving traditional meatballs a run for their money. The rich, bold spices delight your palate with classic Italian flavors, but surprise them with robustness of the portobello mushroom. We recommend using crushed tomatoes that come in a glass jar as opposed to the ones that come in a can. The cans have an unhealthy toxin that can be detrimental to your health. And if you have a few secrets from your grandma’s marinara sauce, or just feel like adding a few of your own creative spices, go ahead and season the sauce to taste. You can also make some quinoa pasta to have with this dish.

  • Prep Time: 20m
  • Cook Time: 45m
  • Total Time: 1h 5m


For the Marinara

  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 26 oz glass jar of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 medium red onion – finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic – minced
  • 1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • 3 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tsp. ground sea salt
  • 2 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 c fresh basil leaves – minced
  • 1/4 c flat leaf parsley leaves – coarsely chopped

For the Bean Balls

  • 15 oz can of organic black beans – drained and rinsed well
  • 1 shallot – paper skin peeled off and sliced thin
  • 2 cloves of garlic – minced
  • 1 large Portobello mushroom cap – sliced
  • 1/4 c flat leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 tbsp. dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 c gluten-free breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp. tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp. ground sea salt
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. and 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil


For the Marinara

  1. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat. When the oil is hot add the onion and sauté until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the crushed tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, Italian seasoning, and sea salt and pepper and stir well. Reduce the heat to simmer on lowest heat possible for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the basil and parsley when you add the bean balls and simmer for 15 more minutes.

For the Bean Balls

  1. Drain and rinse the beans and put them in the food processor.
  2. Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a large skillet on medium heat. When the oil is hot add the mushroom slices and cook until browned and soft. Flip occasionally. When the mushrooms are soft add the shallots and cook until they begin to soften and brown. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Transfer the mushrooms, shallots, and garlic to the food processor.
  3. Add the parsley, Italian seasoning, gluten-free breadcrumbs, tapioca starch, sea salt, and pepper to the food processor and process until it begins to turn into a smooth and sticky paste.
  4. Remove the blade from the food processor and scoop out 1/4 cup of batter and form into a ball. Repeat until you’ve used all of the bean batter (10-12 balls).
  5. Heat the tablespoon of oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Spread the oil evenly throughout the pan. When the oil is hot add the bean balls and cook until the side facing down in the pan is browned. Turn and brown each side. This will take approximately two minutes per side. When the bean balls are browned on each side add them to the marinara (with the basil and parsley from the marinara ingredients) and roll them in the sauce to coat. Simmer for 15 minutes.