I came up with this recipe when, after suggesting we make plantbased cabbage rolls, a very helpful friend soaked enough beans for me to feed 20 people. I’d normally make a brown rice & bean mixture for the cabbage roll filling, but we had so many beans—I cut out the rice, added a little oats for binding, and experimented with a nearly all-bean recipe.
The outcome was delicious! To say the least. But I still had a full meal’s worth of bean & oat mixture! So I took the recipe one step further and made vegan meatballs by shaping then sautéing the mixture. They were even better than the cabbage rolls…! Crispy on the outside, soft & warm on the inside—the were delectable.
Vegan Meatballs Recipe:
I never really measure anything. Even when baking bread (it’s turned out not-so-well on occasion). I watched too much Urban Peasant when I was a kid. He just threw everything together by measurements of fistfuls & pinches. So I’m going to say, go by taste with this one.
Cooked beans (I used pinto)
Oats (just enough to soak up the moisture)
Sesame oil (optional)
Braggs (or soy sauce)
Chilli paste or sauce of your choice (I used Indonesian sambal olek)
- Cook the beans in salted boiling water. I actually kind of over-cooked them to the point where they were splitting. I feel that this added to the softness of my dough, but undercooking will add to the binding capacity of the end product.
Tip: for vegan meatballs you can simmer in a sauce, try undercooking the beans & preparing the batter in a blender before adding the oats. You will probably be better off not chilling the beans before.
2. Strain & chill the beans a bit under some cold running water. You’ll want them a bit warm still so you can smash them up a bit. Add all of your chopped up stuff along with a bit of oats to bind the mixture together and work it with your hands (just like meat meatballs). Break up some of the beans to make it a sort of half bean half mush blend.
3. Form into balls and drop into a pan with quite a thick splatter of hot oil lining it. Turn gently until browned all around.
Tip: one of the most overlooked aspects in vegan cooking is making up for the fat loss when cutting out 100% of animal fat from the meal. Don’t be shy with frying food, or drizzling good oils onto cooked food (you can safely do this with any oil—even oil you keep in the fridge will be fine on hot food—you just can’t cook the ones that degenerate with heat). Vegans love french fries for a reason (and it’s not just because that’s all we can eat on most menus) when you cut out meat and dairy there is a whole whack of fat you lose from your diet. Making sure these factors are substituted in vegan cooking is a sure way to make the diet satisfying for you longterm, but also for your friends & family who you’d love to enjoy your food too.
They can be eaten on sandwiches, with potatoes or rice, or served on their own—they go great with ketchup for the kids (think shepherd’s pie feel) or mix some chilli sauce into the red stuff for more mature tastes. You can absolutely eat them with pasta, just drizzle tomato sauce on top of them or even shape them into patties for burgers. I love bringing snacks like these camping, because they’re good hot or cold.
Hope you enjoy your gluten-free, high protein, homemade vegan meatballs as much as I did! Peace & so much LL.