Vegan Black Bean Meatballs

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by Alena Schowalter
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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.

For more meaty vegan recipes, check out our chickpea meatloaf, kidney bean burgers, lentil mushroom loaf, cauliflower chicken wings, and falafel tacos.

Top view of finished zoodles with black bean meatballs dish presented in a bowl with fresh herbs and some zoodles rolled around a fork

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.

Different small bowls on a black table filled with ingredients for the zoodles with black bean meatballs recipe: zucchini, carrots, flaxseeds, mushrooms, oats and herbs

Ingredients needed

  • 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!

Woman forming vegan black bean meatballs with her hands and putting them on a baking sheet

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.

Process ingredients

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!

Woman holding a single black bean meatball in her hand. A bowl with more balls and spiralized zucchini can be seen in the background.

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!

Another great combo is to serve them over mashed potatoes and drowned in creamy vegan gravy.

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!

Woman using wooden spoon to place vegan meatballs into a pan filled with tomato sauce

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.

Food swaps

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.

Closeup of zoodles with marinana and black bean meat balls with some zucchini noodles rolled round a fork

Stovetop instructions

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.

Vegan Black Bean Meatballs (Easy & Healthy)

by Alena Schowalter
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
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 and can be served over pasta or zucchini noodles.
Serves 4


Black Bean Meatballs

  • 1 flax egg 1 tbsp ground flax mixed with 2 tbsp warm water
  • 5 oz button mushrooms 140 g
  • 1 small carrot roughly chopped
  • 1 cup rolled oats 90 g
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley 7 g, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon thyme dry
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 ¼ cups cooked black beans 215 g, drained
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Herbed Marinara

  • 1 red onion diced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 3-4 tablespoons vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon oregano dry
  • ¼-½ tsp cayenne
  • 2 14- oz cans crushed tomatoes 800 g
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste

To serve (optional)

  • 2 medium zucchini 500 g, 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.
  • Add mushrooms, carrots, oats, parsley and spices to your food processor. Pulse a few times to break everything down, then add the black beans.
  • Process until a crumbly mixture forms, then add the soy sauce and flax egg; pulse until just incorporated.
  • Form the mixture into small balls with your hands. Place the meatballs onto the prepared baking sheet, making sure they are not touching each other, and roast for 20 minutes. Check after 10 minutes and flip them to ensure they bake evenly.

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.

Serving suggestion

  • 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.
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Nutrition Facts
Vegan Black Bean Meatballs (Easy & Healthy)
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Polyunsaturated Fat
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated automatically, their accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Hi, I'm Alena Schowalter — a Certified Vegan Nutritionist who has been a vegetarian since childhood and vegan since 2012. Together with my husband, I founded nutriciously in 2015 and have been guiding thousands of people through different transition stages toward a healthy plant-based diet. I enjoy discussions around vegan ethics, walks through nature, and creating new recipes. Read more about us here.


  1. 4 stars
    This looks so delicious and I can’t wait to try it!! I just wanted to mention that the recipe claims to be naturally gluten free. However, someone new to eating gluten free might not realize that most oats and soy sauce contain gluten, unless they specifically state that they are gluten free.

    • Hey Briana,
      thanks for checking in! And you’re totally right, soy sauce is definitely made with wheat and not all oats are 100% gf (though it does the job for most who avoid it without having celiac disease or an allergy). Will definitely correct that!
      Hope you liked the recipe :)

  2. 5 stars
    Wow! I need to save these recipes they could be used in so many dishes! Thanks for doing all the hard work for us. This looks great! ;)

  3. 4 stars
    i was in the mood for Moroccan meatballs
    i used your wonderful recipe as a springboard from Italian to Moroccan:
    i omitted basil, oregano, crushed red pepper flakes, thyme, garlic powder, tomato paste
    i substituted the spice mix ‘ras el hanout’, harissa sauce for tomato paste, added golden raisins, a bit more cinnamon, and topped with fresh mint
    it was just what i was craving!
    thanks for the delicious springboard

  4. Loved the idea, but unfortunately my bean balls turned out really mushy. Maybe it was the mushrooms releasing to much water, but I wasn’t even able to turn them while baking because they wouldn’t hold their shape. Also they promptly fell into pieces when put into the marinara. Maybe some additional flour would help to get a better consistency.

    • sure, you can just add cooked quinoa, more rolled oats or adjust with the other ingredients to get the desired consistency. The mushrooms cook down to a very small amount anyway!

    • Hi Helen,
      the sugar listed in the nutrition calculation comes from healthy foods like canned tomatoes or oats! It’s not added sugar.

  5. Hello
    I found out when using flax seeds and water that if you boil them for a few seconds in the MW they will thick much more.

  6. Can you please clarify what a serving size is? Maybe I’m just overlooking this information? I see that the recipe makes 4 servings but is one serving a single ‘meatball’ or…? I would love to make this for my potlucks, but I need to know how much to make. Thanks so much in advance. :-)

    • Hi Joy, thanks for your question! I wish I could remember exactly how many vegan meatballs this recipe makes… I think it was 3-4 per serving or so, depending on how big you make them. I’ll follow this recipe again soon and update the article with this information!
      PS: You can always freeze any leftover meatballs in case you make too many.


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