Make these Italian-flavored vegan black bean meatballs with homemade marinara sauce for a family-approved meatless dinner! This recipe idea is so easy, healthy and comforting.
Legumes are a really underappreciated food group we should all be eating more of! Preparing flavorful and wonderfully textured black bean meatballs is a fantastic way to fall in love with them.
This easy meatless dinner idea is called meatballs, but it’s fully vegan and made from really accessible and healthy ingredients!
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Perfect for satisfying those comfort food cravings, you can drown them in herbed marinara sauce and serve them with your favorite pasta.
Look at the recipe
- Scrumptious meatless dinner idea
- Easy to make & customizable
- Kid-friendly & meat eater-approved
- Weight loss- and budget-friendly
- High in fiber, protein & minerals
In terms of kitchen utensils, you only need a food processor and baking sheet to make these black bean meatballs!
Find instructions for homemade marinara sauce and zucchini noodles further down in the article.
- Black beans — you’ve probably guessed that one.
- Mushrooms — adding that earthy umami flavor & wonderful texture.
- Carrots — some finely chopped veggies make the meatballs even healthier & lower in calories!
- Rolled oats — they help bring the meatballs together.
- Herbs & spices — parsley, thyme, smoked paprika, garlic and soy sauce are our flavorings of choice!
Sounds really straightforward, right? You probably have most of the ingredients already at home. If not, find some ingredient swaps below!
How to make black bean meatballs
Let’s start by making a flax egg (easy homemade binder) out of ground flax and some warm water. Give it a quick stir and let it sit in a small bowl to thicken for around 5 minutes.
Then, preheat your oven and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the black beans, mushrooms, carrots, oats, parsley, thyme, smoked paprika and garlic powder in your food processor.
Process until a crumbly mixture forms, then add soy sauce, your flax “egg”, salt and pepper. Pulse until everything is incorporated and don’t overdo it! We want some texture in our black bean meatballs.
Form the vegan meatballs
Using your clean hands, form little balls out of your black bean mixture. Line them next to each other on your prepared baking sheet, making sure they don’t touch.
Bake for 20 minutes
Once all of the beanballs have been created, place your baking sheet in the oven and bake them for around 20 minutes. Be sure to flip them halfway through so they bake evenly!
In the meantime, you can prepare your pasta, zucchini noodles or sauce to go with the black bean balls!
Storage & serving suggestions
Serve your homemade vegan meatballs warm with marinara sauce (let them simmer in the sauce for a few minutes to soak up the flavor!) and over your favorite pasta, rice or zoodles.
If you’ve never heard of the latter, read how to spiralize vegetables here!
We also love these black bean balls with BBQ sauce as a meatball sandwich topped with vegan cheese! They are also suitable for adding to a vegan appetizer platter.
Any leftover black bean balls can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days or frozen for a couple of months.
Let them thaw at room temperature and reheat them in the oven or microwave at your convenience!
Tips & adjustments
Meal prep this recipe
These black bean meatballs are a great beginner-friendly meal prep recipe! Even though they are simple enough to make during a weeknight, you can also set aside some time during the weekend to make them in advance.
In this case, we recommend that you bake them until they are almost done, then let them cool completely and store them in the fridge for an upcoming dinner.
All you need to do, once you’re ready to eat them, is to pop them in the oven for a few more minutes or let them cook for a while in marinara sauce before serving.
Don’t have cooked black beans? No problem, you can use kidney beans or cannellini beans instead! The color will just be different, obviously.
You can also add some breadcrumbs, textured vegetable protein or cooked quinoa to your mixture if you prefer these ingredients.
If you’re cooking for picky eaters, feel free to omit the carrots. Add a handful of (roasted) nuts or seeds to the meatballs to make them heartier and higher in calories!
Feel free to use different herbs and spices like mustard, tomato paste, oregano or vegan Worcestershire sauce when making the beanballs.
Instead of baking the meatballs, you can sauté or fry them in a skillet with oil (or use non-stick cookware for an oil-free version).
They need around 8-10 minutes on each side — be sure to turn them occasionally so they cook evenly.
More vegan dinner ideas
If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out the following goodness next!
Did you make our vegan black bean meatballs and like them? Be sure to give the recipe a rating, comment below and share it with your friends! You can also Pin it here.
Black Bean Meatballs
- 1 tablespoon ground flax + 2 tablespoons warm water
- 1 ¼ cups cooked black beans (215 g), drained
- 5 oz button mushrooms (140 g), roughly chopped
- 1 small carrot, roughly chopped
- 1 cup rolled oats (90 g)
- ¼ cup fresh parsley (15 g), chopped
- ½ teaspoon thyme, dry
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 14-oz cans crushed tomatoes (800 ml)
- 1 teaspoon oregano, dry
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper to taste
To serve (optional)
- 2 medium zucchini, spiralized or shaved into noodle-shapes
- Spaghetti, cooked
- Nutritional yeast
- Fresh basil leaves
- Vegan cheese shreds
Make the vegan meatballs
- Preheat your oven to 350°F/180°C and line a large baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Combine ground flax and warm water in a small bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to create an egg replacement.
- Place the mushrooms, carrots, oats, parsley, thyme, smoked paprika and garlic powder in your food processor. Pulse a few times to break everything down, then add the black beans.
- Process until a crumbly mixture forms, then season with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Add in the soy sauce and flax “egg”; pulse until just incorporated.
- Using your clean hands, form the mixture into small balls and line them without touching each other on your prepared baking sheet. Once you’re done, place them in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, flipping them halfway through.
Make the marinara
- While the meatballs are roasting, add onion, garlic and a splash of vegetable broth into a medium-sized saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Season with salt, pepper, oregano and cayenne and cook for around 4-5 minutes, until the onions are soft and fragrant, stirring occasionally.
- Add crushed tomatoes and tomato paste, then stir to combine. Turn the heat down to low and let the marinara simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the meatballs are done in the oven.
- Gently submerge the meatballs in the sauce and cook just until the sauce starts to bubble, around 2-3-minutes.
- Serve the baked meatballs and herbed marinara over zoodles (zucchini noodles) or spaghetti and top with nutritional yeast or vegan cheese shreds. Enjoy!
- You can swap black beans for kidney beans or white beans. Adding some TVP is great for more protein and chewy texture!
- Make the vegan meatballs heartier by adding a handful of nuts or seeds to the food processor when making them and frying them with some oil in a skillet instead of baking them.
- Any leftover black bean balls can be stored in the fridge for 4-5 days and frozen for 2-3 months.
- Nutrition information has automatically been calculated for the meatballs and tomato sauce only.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: ¼ recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 259Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 520mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 13gSugar: 13gProtein: 13g
Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated automatically, their accuracy is not guaranteed. Just focus on whole plant-based foods and eat until satiety!