Black Bean “Meatballs” with Marinara

Black Bean "Meatballs" with Marinara - A meatless meal that's a crowd pleaser! |

Somewhere along the way, I started eating A LOT of meatless meals. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but it really started when I was in culinary school. To be honest, when I quit my full-time job to attend school, my husband and I didn’t have a lot of extra money. Eating vegetarian meals was one way we saved money during those years, because meat is expensive!

Over time, we got so used to eating these mostly bean-centric meals, that it didn’t really feel like we were giving up anything, or trying to eat cheaply. It just tasted good. We ate a lot of black bean tacos, pizzas topped with only vegetables, and filling pasta dishes that didn’t need meat. Now that we’re on more stable financial ground, we still eat these vegetarian meals a few nights a week. The money we save can be spent on other things, like traveling!

Black Bean "Meatballs" with Marinara - A meatless meal that's a crowd pleaser! |

Black beans are my favorite ingredient for meatless meals, because they have so much flavor on their own, and take really well to being jazzed up with herbs and spices, too. Their dark color kind of fools your brain into thinking you might be eating meat, and they’re really sturdy, so they make for good “meatballs” and “burgers” and the like. These have an Italian slant thanks to the oregano and marinara (and would be good served with pasta), but they could also take on a Mexican flavor if you used salsa instead of marinara.

Black Bean "Meatballs" with Marinara - A meatless meal that's a crowd pleaser! |

Black Bean “Meatballs” with Marinara


  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs

  • 1-1/2 tablespoons NatureBox Roasted Garlic Pumpkin Seeds or regular pumpkin seeds, chopped

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano

  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • Nonstick cooking spray

  • 1 jar (14 ounces) marinara sauce, warmed

  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish


  1. In medium bowl, use potato masher to mash and stir together beans, egg, breadcrumbs, pumpkin seeds, oregano, salt and pepper. Form mixture into 10 golf ball-sized balls.

  2. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Spray skillet with nonstick spray. Transfer meatballs to skillet; cook 6 to 8 minutes or until browned on all sides and warmed through, turning occasionally.

  3. Serve Black Bean "Meatballs" with marinara, garnished with parsley.

This recipe originally appeared here on the Naturebox blog. Adapted from The Food Charlatan.


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