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Vegetarian “Meatballs” with Spaghetti

October 17, 2012

Lately, I’ve fallen into a bit of a cooking rut. It’s not that Joe and I have been eating takeout every night, but I haven’t really been cooking anything interesting. Most nights, I find myself falling back on easy staples like roasted veggies, baked chicken breasts for Joe, and some whole grain, such as quinoa, whole wheat pasta or brown rice. Tasty? Sure. But I’ve hardly been pushing myself out of my culinary comfort zone.

This week, I set out on a mission to get back on my cooking game by making our meals from real, actual recipes. Beef stew and biscuits one night, sweet potato and black bean enchiladas another. It’s amazing how putting a little extra effort into meal planning can have incredibly tasty results. But the recipe I was most excited to try was a recipe I found on Cooking Canuck’s site for Cannellini Bean “Meatballs” made with beans, bread crumbs and Italian herbs.

I tweaked the recipe slightly to suit the ingredients I had in my pantry, and added a little bit of grated Parmesan cheese to the mix, too, since I don’t think adding cheese is ever a bad decision. And although Joe was pretty skeptical of the recipe while it was cooking, he was pleasantly surprised with the end product. I don’t think anyone will be fooled into thinking these are actual meatballs, but once they are tossed with marinara sauce and served over whole wheat pasta it creates an incredibly satisfying, flavorful dinner that will keep you full for hours.

We had quite a few leftover “meatballs” and I found that they heat well in the microwave for lunch the next day or dinnertime leftovers. The second time around, I served them alongside a bowl of roasted Brussels sprouts. So tasty!

Vegetarian “Meatballs” with Spaghetti
Inspired by Cooking Canuck’s Bean Balls
*2 1/2 cups canned white beans, drained or cooked dried beans (such as cannellini beans or my new favorite, cranberry beans)
*3 cloves garlic, minced
*1/2 medium yellow onion, grated
*1 1/2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
*1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
*1 large egg, lightly beaten
*1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
*1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
*1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
*1 1/2 cups marinara sauce
*Whole wheat angel hair pasta (enough to serve 4)

*In the bowl of a food processor, combine the beans and garlic and process with on-off turns until beans are broken up and begin to hold together but are not so processed that they form a paste. Transfer bean mixture to a mixing bowl and add in the onion, Italian seasoning, bread crumbs, egg, Parm, salt and pepper. Stir until well combined.
*Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or lightly grease with nonstick cooking spray. Scoop bean balls by heaping tablespoons and shape into circles with your hands, about 2-inches in diameter. Place balls on the baking sheet and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown and crisp around the outside. Remove from oven. Toss with warmed marinara sauce and serve atop whole wheat angel hair pasta. Makes 4 servings

Happy Cooking!

Southwestern Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers

August 16, 2010

Wow, thank you all so much for making the one-year anniversary of Espresso and Cream better than I could have imagined. I loved hearing about your favorite desserts and gaining a little insight into who you all are. Day to day I think about what recipes I want to share with the readers on this site without really knowing who those readers really are. Every time you post, comment, or e-mail it gives me a little bit better picture of you all, the readers who make this site so worth pouring my time, energy, and heart into.

With that said, there’s a giveaway to get to. And the winner is… Heather (13th posting) whose favorite dessert is a fruit tart. To claim your prize, e-mail me at with your name and address and I’ll ship them your way!

Today’s post offers another peek into what I’ve been munching on over my lunch breaks and dinners when I need a quick meal after a trip to the gym. I love recipes that can be made in advance and heated up throughout the week for ease and versatility and homemade veggie burgers like these certainly do the trick.

Based on my love for sweet potatoes, I knew I wanted to use them as the base for these burgers. The decision to use corn and kidney beans was based more on what I had available in my pantry than anything else. The selection of spices came after that. The point being, take liberty in your own kitchen to substitute ingredients you have on hand. If it doesn’t turn out perfect the first time, keep experimenting and playing around with flavor combinations that suit your taste. 

Southwestern Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers
(Printable Recipe)

*1 medium sweet potato
*1 (15-oz.) can kidney or black beans, rinsed and drained
*1 (8.5-oz.) can whole kernel corn, rinsed and drained
*2 Tbsp. all-purpose or whole wheat flour
*2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced 
*1 Tbsp. olive oil
*1 tsp. salt
*1/4 tsp. black pepper
*1/4 tsp. ground coriander
*1/4 tsp. paprika
*1/4 tsp. chili powder
*1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese or grated Parmesan cheese
Additional Parmesan cheese for sprinkling

*Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
*Microwave the sweet potato in the microwave for 5 minutes. Remove from microwave, split in half and scoop out the flesh. Discard the skin. Place the flesh in the bowl of your food processor (this all can be done by hand with a potato masher if you do not have a food processor) along with half the kidney or black beans, half the corn, the flour, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, coriander, paprika, and chili powder.
*Process until almost completely smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Transfer blended mixture to a bowl and add in the remaining beans, corn, and the crumbled feta cheese.
*Form mixture into four patties (mixture will be soft) and place on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired, and bake in the oven for 45 minutes, flipping gently half way through baking.
*Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes.

Happy Cooking!