Cannellini Bean Vegetarian “Meatballs” with Tomato Sauce Recipe (2024)

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Why should you have to miss out on "meatballs" if you don't eat meat? This version of vegetarian meatballs is satisfying & easy to make. 259 calories and 5 Weight Watchers Freestyle SP
Cannellini Bean Vegetarian “Meatballs” with Tomato Sauce Recipe (1)

Cannellini Bean Vegetarian Meatballs Recipe

Vegetarian meatballs will satisfy any non-meat eater! Before I met my husband, I wasn’t much of a bean eater. It wasn’t that they didn’t appeal to me, but rather that I didn’t grow up eating a lot of Mexican food or other cuisines that might include the protein- and fiber-packed morsels. Everything changed when my husband ordered some black bean soup at a restaurant just a few blocks away from our New York City apartment. This wasn’t just any black bean soup – nope, this one was garnished with crispy chorizo sausage. I was a goner. You couldn’t stop me – cannellini beans in salads, kidney beans in chili, black beans in veggie burgers. You name it, I cooked it. As a result, my kids loved beans right from the get-go and we incorporate the healthy legumes into many of our meals.

When I heard that this round of Kitchen Play's SideCar series was to feature beans in a meal that would satisfy the whole family, I knew I had this one in the bag. The hardest part was choosing which type of beans I would use. I started thinking of comfort foods, dishes that my family likes to eat as the thermostat drops and the days grow shorter. Spaghetti and meatballs popped to mind immediately and, as we are trying to work more meatless meals into our weekly menu, it seemed fitting to make a vegetarian version.

Cannellini Bean Vegetarian “Meatballs” with Tomato Sauce Recipe (2)

When I think of oregano, garlic and parsley, I turn right to cannellini beans. In this recipe, I pureed the cannellini beans with roasted red peppers and then combined them with all of the regular meatballs ingredients, such as breadcrumbs and an egg. Baked in the oven and then simmered in tomato sauce, these bean “meatballs” are as healthy as they are tasty.

I throw everything into a large nonstick skillet and let it simmer until done.

Now, don’t expect the “meatballs” to have the same texture as versions made with ground beef or turkey. These ones have a soft texture, with a golden brown coating. They are substantial and hearty, and made me fall in love with the versatility of beans all over again.

The vegetarian meatballs recipe:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Thoroughly coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine beans and roasted red peppers. Pulse until chopped, but not smoothly pureed.

NOTE: Take care not to overprocess the "meatballs". This could cause them to fall apart later.

Cannellini Bean Vegetarian “Meatballs” with Tomato Sauce Recipe (3)

Transfer the mixture to a medium-sized bowl and stir in grated onion, garlic, parsley, oregano, egg, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper until well combined.

The amount of breadcrumbs required can change depending on the climate (dry vs. humid). If you find that the "meatballs" are not holding together firmly as you are shaping the first few, add more breadcrumbs, then reshape.

Cannellini Bean Vegetarian “Meatballs” with Tomato Sauce Recipe (4)

Using a rounded 2 tablespoon portion of the bean mixture, form “meatballs” by rolling between the palms of your hands. Place the “meatballs” on the prepared baking sheet, spacing evenly.

Cannellini Bean Vegetarian “Meatballs” with Tomato Sauce Recipe (5)

Bake until the meatballs are firm to the touch and have developed a light golden brown coating, 15 to 20 minutes.

In a large saucepan, heat your favorite marinara sauce over medium heat until simmering. Add “meatballs” and stir to coat.

Cannellini Bean Vegetarian “Meatballs” with Tomato Sauce Recipe (6)

Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve over spaghetti.

Cannellini Bean Vegetarian “Meatballs” with Tomato Sauce Recipe (7)

Other family-friendly cannellini bean recipes:



Pasta e fa*gioli

Printable Recipe

Cannellini Bean Vegetarian “Meatballs” with Tomato Sauce Recipe (8)

Cannellini Bean Vegetarian “Meatballs” with Tomato Sauce

These vegetarian meatballs will satisfy both vegetarians and meat eaters! A fantastic option for meatless dinners.

Print Pin Rate

Course: Entrees

Cuisine: Italian

Keyword: Healthy Dinner Recipes, Meatless Monday, Vegan, Vegetarian

Prep Time: 20 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes minutes

Servings: 4

Calories: 259.4kcal

Author: Dara Michalski | Cookin' Canuck

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cans 15 ounces each Bush's Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 roasted red bell pepper 2 halves, roughly chopped
  • ½ medium yellow onion grated
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ¼ cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup dried breadcrumbs see note
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups marinara sauce your favorite kind
  • Parmesan cheese for grating
  • cooked spaghetti

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Thoroughly coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

  • In the bowl of a food processor, combine beans and roasted red peppers. Pulse until chopped, but not smoothly pureed.

  • Transfer the mixture to a medium-sized bowl and stir in grated onion, garlic, parsley, oregano, egg, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper until well combined.

  • Using a rounded 2 tablespoon portion of the bean mixture, form “meatballs” by rolling between the palms of your hands. Place the “meatballs” on the prepared baking sheet, spacing evenly.

  • Bake until the meatballs are firm to the touch and have developed a light golden brown coating, 15 to 20 minutes.

  • In a large saucepan, heat you favorite marinara sauce over medium heat until simmering. Add “meatballs” and stir to coat. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, 10 to 15 minutes.

  • Serve over spaghetti and top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Video

Notes

Weight Watchers Points: 5 (Freestyle SmartPoints), 7 (Points+)

Note: The amount of breadcrumbs required can change depending on the climate (dry vs. humid). If you find that the "meatballs" are not holding together firmly as you are shaping the first few, add more breadcrumbs, then reshape.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25of Meatballs & Sauce | Calories: 259.4kcal | Carbohydrates: 51.5g | Protein: 15.8g | Fat: 2.4g | Saturated Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 46.5mg | Sodium: 1002.1mg | Fiber: 12.9g | Sugar: 9.1g

Tried this recipe?If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it on Instagram! Just use the hashtag #COOKINCANUCK and I'll be sure to find it.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Bush's Beans. All opinions are my own. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Cannellini Bean Vegetarian “Meatballs” with Tomato Sauce Recipe (2024)

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