The perfect gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan dish. Top it with the homemade sauce of your choice – pesto, marinara, cashew cream – deeeelish.
The bean balls are the most time-consuming part of this dish, but don’t get overwhelmed by the number of steps involved. It’s completely worth the effort – and by using dry/soaked beans, you are breaking down the fibrous coating making them more digestible and more nutritious (not to mention much cheaper and without the can waste and BPA, etc!) – your guts will thank you.
Tips for soaking beans
Lentils and split peas, which are smaller, can have a much shorter soak time (even just a good thorough rinse). All other beans should be soaked (about 3 cups of water per 1 cup of beans) by the method of your choice (see Pulse Canada for method options). I tend to do the long, slow soak method, overnight on the countertop. Easy peas-y. Following your choice of soaking method, beans will require cooking (about 45 min-1 hour). Keep in mind that the beans will expand significantly, up to 2-3 times their original size, so use lots of water and a large dish. See approximate cooking times or test for doneness by tasting.
- 1-1.5 cups dry beans (rinsed, soaked overnight, boiled and strained) - yields 2.5-3 cups cooked beans
- 1 heaping Tbsp flax meal/ground flax seeds
- ½ cup finely diced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp each: basil, thyme, oregano
- ½ tsp each: cayenne pepper, turmeric
- 1 Tbsp tamari or Bragg’s aminos (either of these would be my preferred alternative to soy sauce)
- 2 Tbsp grapeseed or melted coconut oil (I use these due to their higher melting points, as they are more suited to heating), plus extra for rolling balls
- 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
- Approximately ⅓ cup chickpea or almond flour
- 2 Tbsp grapeseed or melted coconut oil (I use these due to their higher melting points, as they are more suited to heating)
- Rinse beans, soak overnight (or by your preferred method) and boil about 45 min-1 hour, or until soft and tender. For this particular recipe, overcooking isn’t as much of an issue as you will be mashing the beans up anyway (but there are some dishes where a mushy bean can truly ruin the dish). Strain off any excess water and mash beans with a potato masher (till somewhat smooth, but still lumpy).
- Add all remaining ingredients (except the flour) - and any extra spices you like!
- Okay, time to get messy. This works best if you mix and roll with your hands… begin adding select flour, one Tbsp at a time until you are able to form balls.
- Roll into bite-sized balls – should make approximately 35 balls.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Pour some oil (I use grapeseed oil) onto a cookie sheet or large casserole dish. Gently roll formed balls in oil, to cover them lightly.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove, turn balls over (add more oil here if it looks like they’ll stick). Return to oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
While it is tempting to throw the bean balls in the oven at the same time as the spaghetti squash, don't do it! ... Unless, of course, you like soggy bean balls 😉
Easy spaghetti Squash
Cut in half, so you have two oval-shaped pieces. I like to scoop my seeds out before cooking, but you can wait till it’s cooked, if you prefer.
Place cut side down in a Pyrex dish, with about 2 cm of water
Bake in 400°F oven for about 35 minutes. Remove from oven.
Place squash halves on a large plate, cut side up and allow to cool somewhat for easier handling.
With a fork, scoop or shred the inner flesh of the squash, horizontally. Flesh should come out in long strands.
Place long strands in a sieve, to drain out excess water.
Enjoy with your sauce and toppings of choice!
Stores well in the fridge for a few days, making great leftovers…