Black Bean 'Meat'Balls

With Sweet Potato and no meat

I love a good falafel & I am rather critical on what makes a good falafel.

Crunchy on the outside but softer on the inside.

With the exact balance of lemon and salt.

& bonus points if I can see the nuggets of unprocessed ingredients hidden within.

I love chickpeas because you can honestly make anything out of it.

Cookie dough, hummus, falafels, curries, stews, brownies, crunchy bites you name it - chickpea can do it.

Recently I have come across another bean variety that holds just as much versatility.

Black Beans!

(which are actually considered legumes and not beans)

I had a ton of black beans sitting in the pantry staring at me whenever I reach for a snack so I thought I ought to do something with it. Usually I would rehydrate them and whip up some black bean brownies but I was in the mood for a falafel experiment.

I have been pretty useless at making a falafel in the past since - for some reason it always falls apart and isn't able to hold itself together but these came out FAB - hopefully it wasn't fluke and pure luck - but I'll gladly take the win.

Maybe it's the presence of sweet potato that really pulls the entire thing together.

Quick tip: If you have dried black beans (which are always the better option over canned products) then you are going to have to rehydrate them to make them digestible.

Simply soak them for 6 - 8 hours or overnight

(Soaking them is important to break down the bean so that it does not give you digestion issues)

Then rinse and boil them in fresh water for 1 1/2 - 2 hours on a medium heat

Drain and rinse again before using them

They keep a few days in the fridge or months in the freezer.

The nutritional content of black beans:

A great unrefined and low GI carbohydrate energy source.

Good source of protein (high in essential amino acids Lycine and Leusine particularly)

Pairing this with sweet potato & buckwheat are both great because it creates a complete protein. Sweet potato/buckwheat are high in amino acids which black beans lack and vice versa.

High in fiber for bowel health and regularity and high in iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium for bone health. It also has cholesterol & blood pressure lowering properties as it is low in sodium and fats.

All in all a powerful little guy!

Used by the Mayas as a staple for centuries but greatly underrated in our modern world.

These Black Bean No Meat Meatballs are inspired by mexican flavors so it's got a bit of a spicy kick to it.

Can be eaten on it's own with a hummus dip (try my Carrot Hummus) or even in a spaghetti and meatball dish with a yum tomato sauce.


Makes +-20 balls



1 can, drained black beans (240g)

2 small or 1 medium sweet potato (about 300g)

1 cup buckwheat or oat flour

1 scallion or onion

1 flax egg (1 Tbsp freshly ground flax seeds + 3 tbsp water)

3/4 lemon (juice)

1 tsp cayenne pepper or paprika (cayenne is a spicier variant)

Sprinkle Himalayan Pink Salt

Grind or two of Black Pepper


1. Start by dicing the scallion and cutting the sweet potato into small chunks.

Prepare the flax egg and let it stand for 5 - 10 mins.

2. Next - either steaming or roasting the sweet potato. If roasting add the scallion to the sweet potato and sprinkle it with some olive oil. Roast on 200 Celsius until tender, soft and crispy on the outside (about 20 mins).

An airfyer can also be used for a oil free version by frying it dry on 200 for 15 mins. If you are steaming - only steam the sweet potato - place in a steaming machine or basket and steam for about 10 mins until it is soft. The scallion would have to be lightly fried in a pan or roasted if you have opted for the steaming option. Don't steam the onion.

3. Drain and rinse the black beans.

Once scallion and sweet potatoes are done add them - along with beans, flax egg, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper - to a food processor.

If you do not have a food processor you can try a hand blender (a normal blender gets stuck and takes a lot longer) or you can manually mash it with a potato masher (this is what I did).

4. Once you have a paste-like consistency add the flour and fold in by massaging it though with your hands

5. Roll dough into balls

6. Place balls back in air fryer or oven and bake for 15 mins on 200 Celsius

7. Immediately put the balls in the fridge after taking it out of the oven to cool down quickly - this is important for it to set and hold their shape

8. Once properly cooled heat a frying pan with a bit of coconut oil and lightly fry the balls on either side - until crispy and golden brown.

You can however skip this step for an oil-free baked version by baking it in the oven on a slightly higher temp (220 C) to reheat and crisp them up.

9. Plate and enjoy in a salad, with hummus or even in a wrap!

#blackbeanfalafels #nomeatmeatballs #vegan #glutenfree

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