That’s right, the word really is meatless! I didn’t spell it wrong. When I showed my 19 months old son, Leo, these meatless balls, he pointed at them with his little wiggly finger and said “ball”, one of his favorite words recently. I don’t remember how many times I have made these black bean meatless balls, but I do remember each time after my husband, Brad, took a bite, he would say his recent, most favorite words: “Put it on the blog!” Well, here they are.
I am going to switch gears for a moment and share with you some of my childhood memories of meatballs. With the Chinese New Year just around the corner, I’m reminded of all the different delicious dishes my parents would prepare for our Chinese New Year’s Eve dinners. Deep-fried pork meatballs were a favorite that made it to our table on this one day every year. The bread crumbs used in these meatballs came from some left-over, slightly dried out steamed buns. It was my job to remove the outer skin from these buns, which I did while enjoying the New Year’s special entertainment on TV.
Let’s get back to the black bean meatless balls. This recipe was inspired from Angela @ oh she glows. I have tried many times using Bob’s red mill gluten free oat flours or my homemade all-purpose gluten-free flours in assembling the meatless balls, but sometimes in an effort to get a consistency that holds together, I end up with a bean batter that’s a little bit too wet and wants to stick to my hands more than to itself.
So this time I used Bob’s red mill gluten-free quick oats instead. I made enough batter for one dinner plus a few extra balls to sample right away. I put all but the five meatballs worth of batter in the refrigerator for the next day’s spaghetti and meatless ball dinner. The batter I used for the balls that I made right away was a little bit wet but still manageable. The balls I made from the batch that sat in the refrigerator overnight was much easier to work with. The extra standing time for the batter actually gives the oats opportunity to absorb the moisture from the beans and other ingredients. After the absorption, the oats expand and release their starchy content that makes the batter sticky. After baking in the oven for 40 minutes, you’ll have perfectly golden brown black bean balls. Healthy and tasty!
It doesn’t matter whether you decide to use these meatless balls with your favorite Italian spaghetti sauce, filling in your sandwich, or making Chinese sweet and sour meatballs, they will taste fantastic for all of them. The list is endless.
- 4 cups cooked black beans, rinsed and well drained
- 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Quick Cooking Oats
- 1 cup walnuts
- 2 medium carrots
- 1 medium onion
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp paprika powder
- ½ tbs kosher salt
- ½ cup chopped parsley leaves
- In a food processor, chop black beans to small chunks but do not puree. Transfer the chopped black beans into a large mixing bowl. Add oats and mix briefly. Set aside.
- Finely chop walnuts, carrots, onion, fennel seeds, garlic in food processor. Stir the mixture into the black bean-oat batter. Mix in the rest of ingredients and combine well.
- Cover the mixing bowl with lid or plastic wrap and let it chill in refrigerator for at least on hour.
- Remove the mixing bowl from refrigerator. Preheat oven at 350 ºF. Line the baking dish with parchment paper or lightly spray the baking dish with oil (use canola oil instead of olive oil). Scoop a golf ball size of batter and shape it to form a ball. Finish all the batter. It will yield approximately 42 balls. Bake for 20 minutes until one side is golden brown. Use a spatula to carefully flip the balls over. Bake for another 20 minutes until both sides are golden brown.
- Remove the balls from the baking dish and carefully transfer them onto a wire cooling rack for 5 minutes. Use as meatballs in other recipes if desired.