Bean Balls in Marinara Sauce

Difficulty: Easy-Medium

Makes 24

Cold winter nights call for hot, tasty meals and these bean balls certainly fit the bill. Especially great for fussy ones, you can fill these guys with a bunch of secret veggies to pack some extra punch. Smother them in my fragrant marinara sauce and serve ’em up on top of spaghetti, with salad or vegetables. They’re also soy and gluten free so they’re the perfect meal for just about anybody!


Bean Balls

  • 1 carrot
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 1/3 cup chopped basil
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (make sure it’s vegan and gluten/soy free)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Marinara Sauce

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/3 cup chopped basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Drain and rince the beans, set aside.
  3. In a food processor, combine the carrot, onion and garlic until finely chopped.
  4. Add the beans, herbs, nutritional yeast, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste. Process until smooth (some chunks are ok).
  5. Tip the mixture into a large bowl and stir through the almond meal, quinoa flakes, salt and pepper until combined.
  6. Using heaped tablespoons, measure out the mixture and roll into neat little balls, placing them on the oven tray.
  7. Bake until golden brown (about 25-30 minutes), turning half way through.
  8. While the balls are baking, make your marinara sauce by heating some oil in a saucepan.
  9. Add the garlic and onion to sauté before adding the diced tomatoes and brown sugar.
  10. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for 20 minutes before adding the herbs, salt and pepper.
  11. Allow to simmer until the bean balls are ready.
  12. Add the cooked bean balls to the marinara sauce and serve immediately.


  • Jo Lister

    we cant get quinoa flakes here in SA – any recommended replacements – I would love to try this recipe asap!!

    • Chelsey

      You could give some oats a quick blitz in a blender and use those. Make sure they’re GF if you want a gluten free option 😀

  • Siubhan

    Hi – these sound and look fabulous. Can I simply grind almonds to get “almond meal”?


    • Chelsey

      You can! That’s actually what I did with mine 😉

      • Siubhan

        Great; thanks!

  • Caeli @ Little Vegan Bear

    Mmm, looks delicious!

  • Keren @ Just One More Spoon

    This looks scrumptious! I haven’t had meatballs since I’ve gone vegan… never thought you could make them with beans.

    • Chelsey

      Thanks Keren! Let me know what you think 😀

  • Sandy

    Could I freeze these?

    • Chelsey

      I don’t see why not! The texture may change a little but there’s only one way to find out… 😉

    • Kristin

      I can vouch for the freezing! I popped half a batch in the freezer and have since pulled some out and re-heated and they are just as good!

  • Kristin

    *YUM* I made these on the weekend – I used regular oats in place of the quinoa flakes – and they were AWESOME! This will become my got-to beanball recipe for sure! Taste great and no hard to find ingredients!!

    • Chelsey

      Yay 😀 So glad to hear you liked them and that they freezed well for you also!