Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Beans and Mushroom No-Meatballs

Meatless Balls. A combination of beans and mushrooms, simple seasonings and a splash of red wine really boosted the flavor too. Plenty of garlic, some onion, Italian-seasoned Panko (gluten-free) bread crumbs, other spices and some parsley. I chose pinto beans simply because A. I had them on hand and B. I know their brownish color would look "faux meatball" like.

..that being said you could easily use any soft bean like cannellini or even black beans. You just need to be able to mash the cooked bean with a fork. Garbanzo beans are probably a bit too firm and flaky for this recipe. The mashed beans really help to bind the rest of the ingredients with their natural stickiness.

You can also change up the variety of mushrooms you use. I used oyster mushroom, but shiitake or portobella would work too. Even plain old white mushrooms (which are a bit firm and crumbly when raw) would work since you are sauteing them first to make them tender. 

Method. The instructions are long, but the technique is very similar to making veggie burgers. Mash and saute. 

Spaghetti & No-Meatballsvegan, makes about 8-12 no-meatballs (depending on size)

1 1/2 cups (1 - 15 ounce can) beans, drained/rinsed in hot water
*I used callenini beans or pinto beans
3/4 cup white onion, diced

1/3 cup parsley, finely chopped

1 cup mushrooms, finely chopped
I used shiitake mushrooms
2 Tbsp red wine

1/2 cup Italian-seasoned Panko breadcrumbs (fine)

2 tsp chopped garlic (roasted or raw)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp fine black pepper

1/2 tsp chili powder (or 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes)

1/4 cup nutritional yeast (or more bread crumbs)

1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, for saute

 spaghetti pasta (any variety)
 marinara sauce chopped basil or parsley garnish
 vegan Parmesan on top (optional)


1. Start by opening your can of beans and rinsing the beans very well in hot water. This will help soften the beans for easy mashing. 

2. Add the rinsed beans to a large mixing bowl and mash with a fork, very well.

3. Prep your ingredients by chopping the parsley, onion and mushrooms.

4. In a large saute pan, over high heat, add 1 Tbsp of olive oil. When oil is hot add in the onions, mushrooms, parsley and garlic. Saute for about 4-5 minutes, reducing heat to medium about a minute after cooking.

5. When the saute mixture has reduced in volume quite a bit and onions caramelizing, turn off heat and add in your splash of red wine. Turn heat back on to high for one more minute. 

6. Just before you turn off the heat you can add in the salt, chili powder, pepper and any additional spices you may like to add. You can taste the mixture and it should be slightly "over-seasoned" since the beans have not been seasoned yet.

7. Fold the saute mixture into the beans. Then fold in the bread crumbs and the nutritional yeast. Your mixture should be quite sticky and thick now. Add more yeast or bread crumbs if your mixture needs thickening.

8. You can either place your mixture in the fridge to chill for a half hour (to help with handling, or just go right into the saute process.

9. Saute the meatless balls: Heat a splash of olive oil in your saute pan and add your formed balls. I like to roll my formed balls in a bit of the bread crumbs before placing on the pan. Cook over medium-high heat for about one minute on each side. You really just want to cook and caramelize that outside edge of the balls.