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Black Bean “Meatballs”

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Tested on the hardy appetites of my meat-and-potatoes farm family, these meatless “meatballs” provide tons of flavor and healthy, filling, plant-based protein.  They come together with ease using a food processor, a single bowl, and an oven-proof skillet, using items found right in your pantry or kitchen garden.  If you don’t have fresh herbs, don’t worry.  Although fresh always adds a wallop of flavor, you may certainly substitute with ½ the amount of the dried version.  Either way, there are so many ways to serve these versatile black bean “meatballs”, you are certain to satisfy adults and kids alike!

 Prep Time:  45 minutes

Cook Time:  45 minutes

Yield:  12 meatballs

Dietary Specifications:  Vegan (optional), Gluten-free

 

Ingredients

1 C cooked and completely cooled quinoa (I used tri-color)

1, 15oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

4 Tbls Gustare Pesto Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided

4 large cloves garlic, pressed

½ C diced shallot

¼ tsp Cape Cod Sea Salt

3 tsp fresh oregano

½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

½ tsp fennel seed

½ C vegan OR traditional grated parmesan cheese

2 Tlbs tomato paste

1 ½ Tbls fresh basil, chopped

1 ½ Tbls fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped

2 Tbls worcestershire sauce (I used a vegan version)

 

Directions:

  1. Cook quinoa according to package instructions.  Once cooked, spread in thin layer on parchment-lined plate or small sheet tray and place in refrigerator to cool completely.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread black beans onto sheet tray brushed with olive oil.  Bake approximately 15 minutes, or until beans become cracked and feel dry to the touch.  Set aside.
  3. Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees.
  4. Meanwhile, heat skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, shallot, and garlic to skillet.  Saute, stirring frequently, until slightly softened, approximately 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add black beans, cooked shallots and garlic, oregano, sea salt, red pepper flakes, and fennel to food processor. Pulse just until you attain a loose meal.
  6. Add all remaining ingredients to food processor. Pulse to combine into a textured, moldable mixture.  Avoid over mixing.  You do not want a puree.
  7. Scoop into 12 portions, approximately 1 ½ tablespoons each.  Press together and roll gently into balls.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes to set.
  8. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add 6 meatballs to skillet and cook 2-3 minutes, rotating meatballs to obtain a brown, crispy exterior on each of them. Set aside.  Repeat with remaining tablespoon of olive oil and meatballs.
  9. Return all meatballs to skillet. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown.
  10. Eat as is, add to spaghetti sauce to make a “meatball” sandwich, or serve with your choice of pasta, zucchini noodles, or “riced” cauliflower. I love to serve them on a bed of garlic sautéed baby spinach, with oven-roasted grape tomatoes (pictured above). Enjoy!