Yes, these are vegetarian meatballs which technically means they’re not meat at all. But hey, who makes the rules anyway.
With the dollar constantly dropping, I’m all about trying to find ways to make healthy eating cheaper and one of the best way to do that is to cook with vegetarian meals with pulses and beans. Case in point- these vegetarian meatballs.
This recipe ticks all of the boxes. It’s super comforting for cold weather cravings- everyone loves a bowl of meatballs and noodles. It’s vegetarian and packed with protein and fibre. It’s made of canned beans, which is one of the cheapest ingredients in my house. And it’s a sinch to make. Seriously, if you can throw things in a food processor, roll them, and bake them, you can make this delicious meal.
To keep this low carb, I use a combination of spaghetti squash and zucchini noodles in place of regular pasta, but by all means, feel free to use regular whole grain pasta.
The result? This stuff literally tastes like a soft creamy falafel. Almost like if you took hummus, and then caramelized and crisped up its exterior edges. Maybe that sounds strange, but OMG it’s really good. Meatballs, you ain’t got nothing on my bean-balls (aka. vegetarian meatballs)!
What are some of your favourite ways to use canned beans? Have you ever tried using them to make vegetarian meatballs? Leave me a message below with your go-to inexpensive vegetarian ideas!
Vegetarian White Bean “Meatballs” with Low Carb Noodles
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 2 cans of no-salt added white Cannellini beans 15 oz cans, drained and rinsed
- 4 sundried tomatoes rehydrated with hot water, finely minced
- 1/2 small onion finely minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/4 cup Italian parsley finely minced
- 1/4 cup basil leaves finely chopped
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 6 tbsps parmigiano reggiano cheese finely grated
- 1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 2 tsps olive oil
- 2 zucchini spiralized into thin noodles
- 1 L low sugar marinara pasta sauce
- Parmigiano reggiano cheese for garnish
- Italian parsley finely minced, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350 F and place a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat into the oven to preheat.
- Pulse the rolled oats in the food processor until they turn into a rough powder. Add in the beans, tomatoes, onion, garlic, parsley, basil, egg, oregano, cheese, balsamic, salt and pepper and puree until smooth and well mixed.
- Roll the mixture into 2-tbsp balls (should make 20-24) and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, slice the spaghetti squash in half and place in a microwave safe dish with 1 inch of water. Microwave on high for 10 minutes, or until it “strings” easily when you scrape the squash with a fork. Set aside.
- After 15 minutes in the oven, preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat and add in the olive oil. Gently add the “meat” balls and brown on all sides. Remove from the pan.
- Add in the zucchini noodles to the pan and toss until coated and lightly cooked, about 2 minutes.
- Pour the pasta sauce into the pan and heat until hot. Add in the spaghetti squash and toss to coat.
- To serve, place the noodles and “meat” balls into four bowls. Top with additional sauce, parmigiano reggiano cheese and parsley and enjoy.
Abbey Sharp is a Registered Dietitian (RD), regulated by the Ontario College of Dietitians. She is a mom, YouTuber, Blogger, award winning cookbook author, media coach specializing in food and nutrition influencers, and a frequent contributor to national publications like Healthline and on national broadcast TV shows.