These cannellini bean veggie meatballs are a fun way to get some more veggies into your family. Serve them with some pesto and a salad, the classic way with spaghetti and sauce, or any other way you like!
This month’s Recipe Redux theme was to spring clean our kitchens by using at least 3 ingredients that we already had on hand to create our recipes. It was a chance to search the back of our cupboards and refrigerators for ingredients long forgotten or perhaps stocked in surplus.
Well, in my pantry I have a lot of beans. Dried beans (both bought at the grocery store and through my farm share) plus canned beans of all sorts. Now, it isn’t that I don’t eat beans, but aside from a few go-to recipes such as my veggie chili, bulgur and bean salad, and homemade hummus, I admit to not using them as often I should.
Fortunately, I’m currently (as of last week!) on a serious bean kick, adding them to everything from salads, to tacos, to these veggie meatballs! I think part of the reason I haven’t cooked bean dishes more often is because my kids don’t like them. But obviously, I know this is the opposite of what you are supposed to do! How are they ever going to learn to like them if they don’t have a chance to see them and taste them in different ways?
Another pantry ingredient that needed some love was sundried tomatoes–I somehow had 2 unopened jars. I love them but my husband is not a fan so I rarely use them. And in my refrigerator, I had a big bunch of parsley (I always have parsley) and extra carrots because I recently got some through my farm share. I actually think I had all the ingredients on hand for this recipe!
Cannellini Bean Veggie Meatballs
I had been wanting to make veggie meatballs for a while. I finally tried a few weeks ago and it was a major flop. I added a zucchini and they were too watery. Then I added more oats and they were too oaty.
So after some more research and trial and error, I arrived at this recipe. I used this handy Food and Wine article and these recipes as a guide: Italian Bean Balls and Spaghetti Squash Noodles (Oh She Glows), Spaghetti Squash and Chickpea Meatballs (Nutrition Stripped), and Veggie Meatballs (from the Weelicious cookbook).
I first served these veggie meatballs with classic spaghetti and marinara sauce for dinner. My 10-year old gobbled them down happily. My less adventurous 8-year old wasn’t ready to try them, but maybe next time…or the time after that…he will be ready to taste them. I have definitely noticed a growth in his willingness to try new foods since I cut the nagging and even the “you have to try it” rule and instead just focused on making mealtimes joyful.
These meatballs also make for a great lunch. I enjoyed leftover veggie meatballs as part of my lunch today with cooked sorghum, greens, cherry tomatoes, and homemade parsley pesto. Yum!
So give these meatballs a go and let me know what you think. As for me, I’m off to try and start making use of all those dried beans I still have on hand!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup shallot, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¾ cup gluten-free oats
- 1 cup shredded carrot
- ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- ¾ cup chopped walnuts, toasted
- 2 tablespoons chopped sundried tomatoes (or roasted red peppers or tomato paste)
- 1 teaspoon Italian herbs (or oregano + thyme)
- 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- Pinch of freshly ground pepper, or to taste
- 1 egg, whisked
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with a nonstick mat or parchment paper.
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add shallot and saute for 3-4 minutes, add the garlic and saute for another 3-4 minutes, until fragrant but not browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a food processor, add oats and pulse until a coarse flour is formed. Then add the carrot, basil, parsley, walnuts, sundried tomatoes, herbs, and shallot and garlic mixture. Pulse until well combined and then pour into a large mixing bowl.
- Add the rinsed and drained beans to the food processor and process until it starts to form a paste. Use a spatula to scoop mixture into mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. After taste testing, mix in the whisked egg.
- Using wet hands, form mixture into 24-28 little balls. Place onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes, flip, and bake another 10-12 minutes, or until golden.
- Serve immediately or transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze.