Southwestern Black Bean Balls

Southwestern Black Bean Balls – a meatless or vegetarian alternative to a meatball with a Mexican/Southwestern flare. Such a simple recipe and oh so good!Southwestern Black Bean Balls

My oldest daughter has always been my least pickiest of eaters and my most exploratory. I remember going to Olive Garden with her when she was just a toddler and she’d order the steamed mussels in wine sauce each and every time. Very grown up tastes for a little girl of that size! For her birthday dinners, she’d always request either baby back ribs or crab legs. I just knew to expect that’s what she would want.

Well, about a year ago, she abruptly decided to become a vegetarian. Seriously, abruptly. Like for lunch she was not a vegetarian and then at dinner, in the middle of eating her chicken dinner, she decided to become one. I’m still hoping that the crab leg, baby back rib, mussel loving girl in her will come back at some point but in the meantime, I’m doing my best to make some meatless dishes for her.

Her favorite meatless recipe that I make to date are these Southwestern Bean Balls. She loves Mexican flavors and these bean balls definitely fit the bill. Even the meat eaters in my household are loving them.

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They are really simple to make and don’t require much work or many ingredients at all.

I love to make these in larger batches and freeze them for later – so yes, they do freeze wonderfully if that’s something that you are wondering. Once they have cooked, I just place the black bean balls on a clean baking sheet lined with parchment paper and pop them in the freezer for about an hour, until they are hard to the touch. Then, I pile them in a freezer safe ziplock bag and store them in the freezer. Par-freezing them on a parchment lined baking sheet first eliminates any sticking together issues that you would have.

Even if you’re not a vegetarian – if you love southwestern/Mexican flavors, you are going to love these. It’s perfect for a Meatless Monday too!

You can also add a little corn to these if you’d like. They’re good with or without.

Southwestern Black Bean Balls

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans black beans, drained
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed & minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • hot sauce, to taste (optional)
  • 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • salt & pepper to taste

Optional:

You can add half a can of drained corn to this recipe too if you’d like.

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Crush the drained black beans with your hands or with a blender (I use my hands for the whole process!). Mix in the onion, cilantro, jalapeno, garlic powder, taco seasoning, & hot sauce (if using). Now, mix in the egg, 1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs, & the shredded cheese. Season with salt and pepper. If the mixture is too wet, add more 1/4 cup more bread crumbs.
  3. Using your hands, pack into bean balls – about the size of a golf ball or larger. Place on a parchment paper or aluminum foil lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
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