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!
Kitchen Clean Out
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.
Stocked up on Beans!
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, slow cooker veggie chili, 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 burritos, 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. (Of course, I didn’t tell him they were in these meatballs!) Another one of my favorite ways to use them is tossed with pasta.
Farm Share Staples
And in my refrigerator, I had parsley, basil, and extra carrots because I recently got some through my farm share. In my original version of this recipe, I used all of these ingredients, but for simplicity’s sake, I have updated it to include just the basil.
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 to guide and inspire me: 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!These cannellini bean meatballs are a great way to get more veggies into your family! Click To Tweet
Recipe updated January 2021.
Cannellini Bean Veggie Meatballs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/3 cup chopped onion or shallots
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- ⅓ cup old-fashioned oats certified gluten-free if needed
- ¼ cup hemp hearts
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- 3 tablespoons sundried tomatoes
- ½ cup shredded carrot optional; this was included in the original recipe but can be skipped to save time
- ½ cup fresh basil, lightly packed
- 1 15-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- ¾ teaspoon salt (use ½ t if you have salted sunflower seeds)
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 large 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 the onion and saute for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another 1-2 minutes, until fragrant but not browned. Remove from heat.
- To a food processor, add the sauteed onion through beans. Pulse to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper and then mix in the whisked egg either with a wooden spoon or by pulsing a few times.
- Transfer into a large bowl or a cutting board lined with parchment for easier clean-up. Use spoons or a mini scooper to form about 25 small veggie balls. (They can be a bit free-form and rustic or you can use wet hands to form them into more perfectly round balls).
- Place on the prepared baking sheet and cook for about 15 minutes, or until golden. Serve immediately or let cool and refrigerate for up to 4 days or freeze.