8 May 2018 / Food

Spaghetti and Black Bean Meatballs

Spaghetti bolognese or spaghetti and meatballs was the first dish that my mum ever taught me how to make when I was a kid. I used to love making it every week for my family and whenever I had friends over we would make it together and wear swimming goggles to cut the onions. To me, this dish represents love and warmth and family.

There’s also no doubt that any dish with pasta is the ultimate comfort food. A classic that’s enjoyed by the whole
household! Who doesn’t love a good spagbol or spag and meatballs?

This time around I’ve created a recipe for vegetarians and vegans. If you are choosing to eliminate red meat from your diet it’s important to find other sources of iron to include in your diet regularly. Iron deficiency is common amongst vegetarians who don’t include enough sources of iron in their diets. There are two types of iron haem, and non-haem, red meat is a great source of haem iron while other plant-based sources, such as black beans, contain non-haem iron.

To increase the amount of non-haem iron that you absorbed, it’s important to combine with foods high in Vitamin C because non-haem iron is harder to absorb then haem iron found in meats.

Now that we are heading into the colder winter months this dish is perfect for colder nights spent by the fire.

You don’t have to be vegetarian or vegan to enjoy this recipe, try a meatless Monday night.

I really hope you enjoy this recipe and make sure to post a photo on Instagram and hashtag #gabbypalmereats or send it to me on @gabbypalmereats Instagram so that I can see your great creations!

Bon Appétit
Gabby Palmer xx

*gluten free
*diary free
*nut free


Black bean meatballs:
- 1x can black beans, drained
- 1T chia seeds + 2T water (chia egg) or 1x egg
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- 1tsp dried oregano
- 1tsp dried basil
- 1 cup fresh parsley
- pinch salt/pepper
- 3/4 cup chickpea flour
- 1T tomato paste
- 1T olive oil for cooking

Tomato Sauce:
- 1 red onion, finely diced
- 1 cup leek, thinly sliced
- 1-2T olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, crush
- 1x can 400g chopped tomatoes
- 2T tomato paste
- 1tsp dried oregano
- 1tsp dried basil
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 8-10 olives, I used Kalamata
- ¼ cup olive juice (liquid from the jar that the olives sit)
- salt/pepper

- your choice of pasta cooked per packet instructions (gluten-free if you need).

- a sprinkle of nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese
- Chopped fresh parsley leaves (optional)


1. To make the sauce combine the leeks and red onion into a medium saucepan over
medium heat with the olive oil and sauté until it starts to go golden brown.
2. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
3. Add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil, bay leaves, olives and
olive juice.
4. Cover with lid and reduce heat to a simmer and leave to cook for 30-40mins stirring
5. Season with salt/pepper to taste.
6. To make the black bean meatballs combine all the ingredients apart from the
chickpea flour and olive oil in a food processor and blend to combine but still leaving
a bit of chunkiness to the mixture.
7. Add in the chickpea flour and mix in with a spoon.
8. If the mixture is too wet to form balls then add in a little bit more chickpea flour until
you get a tacky, rollable mixture.
9. Form small sized balls by getting the mixture out with a spoon and forming a ball
with your hands, the mixture will stick to your hands but this okay. If the mixture
sticks wet your hands under the tap and roll with wet hands.
10. Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat and add olive oil
11. Cook the meatballs for about 5 minutes each side until golden brown and cooked
12. Add cooked, drained pasta onto plates. Add the tomato sauce and meatballs then
top with nutritional yeast or a nice grating of parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with
chopped parsley leaves or even basil leaves if you can get your hands on it.