This Black Bean Meatballs with Marinara recipe is a meatless meal that is still packed with protein and flavor. Serve them on their own or with spaghetti! 

Overhead photo of black bean meatballs on top of marinara sauce in white bowl.

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, vegetarian fajitas, 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!

Overhead photo of pumpkin seeds, black beans, parsley and meatballs with marinara.

About these black bean meatballs:

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.

I find these just as satisfying as something meaty, like General Tso’s meatballs, Greek chicken meatballs, or air fryer turkey meatballs. And they make a great vegetarian addition to a New Year’s Eve snack board.

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.

Frijoles balls on top of marinara in white bowl, with bowls of beans and parsley nearby.

Overhead photo of vegetarian meat balls on top of tomato sauce.

Black Bean Meatballs with Marinara

Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 16 minutes


  • 1 can (15 ounces) no salt added black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds), chopped
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1-1/2 cups marinara sauce, warmed
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish


  1. In medium bowl, use potato masher to mash and stir together beans, egg, breadcrumbs, pepitas, 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.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 400Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 98mgSodium: 1614mgCarbohydrates: 55gFiber: 14gSugar: 15gProtein: 19g

Did you make this recipe?

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Other great recipes with black beans: