Meat free Mondays. Recipe: kidney bean ‘meat’balls


I never normally post recipes on here, but I thought that this one was just too good not to share. I wouldn’t say I was a huge fan of regular meatballs – in fact I’m not even sure I have ever had them… But my housemate told me that you could make them from kidney beans and I decided that I should try it since I ALWAYS have kidney beans in the house. It would make a change from the normal bean chilli I make on the regs. And all of the other ingredients are staples in my fridge/cupboard so there was no extra expense in making them. PLUS, as if we needed another reason, I made enough for two portions meaning I have left-overs. That counts as meal prep, right?


400g tin of kidney beans

One clove of garlic (or more if you love garlic as much as me!)

A quarter of a red onion finely chopped

10g oats

Breadcrumbs (I blitzed one slice of white bread in a food processor, but I believe you can buy them ready blitzed)

Italian seasoning (to taste)

1tsp tomato puree

1 egg

1tblsp olive oil (or cooking oil of your choice)


  • Lightly fry the chopped onion and minced garlic clove in the olive oil. Keep on a low heat and keep moving so you don’t burn the garlic. It’s done when the onion goes translucent.
  • Drain and rinse the kidney beans and then put them in a large mixing bowl. Roughly mash them up with a fork. I kept them quite chunky.
  • Add the cooked onion and garlic, the oats, Italian seasoning and tomato puree and mix well.
  • This is the messy bit (which I hate, it really freaks me out), stick your hands in and pull out enough of the kidney bean mix to form small golf ball sized balls. Roll them in your hand until the edges are kind of smooth and set aside. I made nine with this mix, but one was a bit big so maybe could have got ten…
  • In a separate bowl add the breadcrumbs (I also mixed some of the Italian herbs in there too)
  • Then in another bowl, crack the egg in and whisk.
  • Now if the handling of the kidney bean mix wasn’t bad enough, it’s about to get worse. Dip each ‘meat’ball in the egg first and then into the breadcrumbs so they are fully crumbed. I’m not going to lie, this stressed me out considerably.
  • Then all you need to do is fry them in the remaining oil from the onion and garlic, moving them often so that each side goes golden brown. They probably didn’t take any longer than 10 minutes.
  • I cooked all nine, but only served four. The other five are in a Tupperware tub in the fridge. I’ll probably re-heat them in the left-over tomato sauce tonight.
  • Serve the meatballs with pasta and tomato sauce of your choosing. I made a quick sauce with tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, garlic, vegetable stock and chilli. Yum.

This was a really simple recipe, but I ended up with so much washing up because of the pasta and tomato sauce that went with them, but it was totally worth it. They obviously don’t taste like meat, they taste like herby kidney beans, but I loved them and it was a nice change to have them instead of chilli. And I have left-overs too. I do keep banging on about those left-overs, don’t I? I imagine they would be okay to freeze too, just make sure you defrost them and cook through before.

I do love to cook and try new things. I’m very good at finding recipes online and then adapting them to suit so if you try anything different with this then please do let me know, I’d love to hear. I had thought of grating some cheese into the ‘meat’ball mix so that it’d be all melty and stingey once cooked, so maybe I’ll try that next.

Anyway, I’m signing off for now. Let me know if you make this or if you’d like to see more meat free recipes.


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