Spaghetti and Bean Balls!

Just like so many runs recently, the 15-miler went great yesterday.  And it didn’t rain at all like I thought it would.  I actually did slightly more than 15 miles in 1:52:06, for the 7:25 pace that I was going for.  Since 15 seems like nothing compared to 20, I had been sort of downplaying this run in my mind.  But I noticed during the run that my legs are definitely starting to feel the effects of all this mileage recently.  Even so, I finished this one relatively easily (relative is the key word here), a now I have a lot more confidence about the upcoming 20 at 7:30 pace.  So all is well on the running front, but taper time will be a welcome friend once my last long run is done.

Fun with Bean Balls

[spaghetti and bean balls photo]

After a decent-but-not-great butternut squash lasagna from The Vegetarian Mother’s Cookbook, Erin and I tried another recipe from it yesterday—spaghetti and bean balls!  You might recall that last week I made spaghetti with lentil sauce, in an attempt to assuage Erin’s recent meat craving.  It was pretty good, but this was better.  Don’t be turned off the subtitle of this cookbook if you’re not a “pregnant or breastfeeding woman”—it’s really just a lot of good, whole foods.

It’s a simple recipe to make, requiring just a little bit of chopping/processing and 15-20 minutes in the oven.  You could probably experiment with other flavors and vegetables here.  I’m thinking onion, garlic powder, crushed red pepper.  But they were pretty tasty even without this stuff.  Soft, but tasty.

It seems like there should be so many “bean ball” jokes I could make, but I can’t think of any.  So I won’t try.

3 Fun Things Around the Blogosphere

  1. Robin from Westford Mommy, who is trying to BQ on the same day I am, wore a No Meat Athlete technical shirt in her recent 5k.  And she finished 7th among women!  Congrats to Robin!
  2. There’s a fun Thrive Challenge going on where you can enter to win a 12-pack of Vega Vibrancy Bars.  All you have to do is submit a recipe or story about a Thrive-friendly snack you’re incorporating into your diet.  Even cooler: they told me it was inspired by my 30-day challenge!
  3. At my other blog, Health Blog Helper, I just wrote a new post about basic search engine optimization.  SEO is something that has been such a huge part of the success of No Meat Athlete, and other bloggers can get very similar results to what I have just by doing these three easy things.

Here’s my adapted recipe for the bean balls.  You can serve them over pasta or on a sub roll.

Spaghetti with Bean Balls

Vegan Spaghetti with Bean Balls
Serves: 4 servings
  • 2 15-0z cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 carrot, minced (or processed)
  • A big handful of fresh parsley, minced (or processed)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (or processed)
  • ½ cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil or canola oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp your favorite Italian seasoning (basil, oregano, garlic, salt, etc)
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 cups of marinara sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, combine carrot, parsley, garlic, Italian seasoning, bread crumbs, oil, and beans. Mash with a potato masher (or use a food processor) until the mixture is sticky and relatively homogeneous. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Form the bean mixture into 1-inch balls and align on a cookie sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes, turning once midway through, until the bean balls are nicely browned all over. While the bean balls bake, heat up the marinara sauce in a saucepan, and add the bean balls to the marinara when they're done. Let sit for 5-10 minutes to combine the flavors. Serve over pasta or on sub rolls.




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  1. Those sound excellent! And not too complicated too make – even better 🙂
    .-= Allison (Eat Clean Live Green_´s last blog ..First Day of School =-.

  2. glad you had a good run!

    this recipe looks so, so good.
    .-= brandi´s last blog ..Muesli Melon =-.

  3. Great run! Don’t worry about the 20 miles. If 15 felt good, 20 really isn’t much more!
    .-= Pam (Highway to Health)´s last blog ..My Interview with Kathrine Switzer =-.

  4. wow! i never thought of making veggie meat balls! what a cool idea, i have to try it sometime!

  5. After many mentions on Caitlin’s posts I have finally made it over here, and damn glad I did! It’s always great to read about vegetarians and of course the fact that you are working on such an extreme fitness goal might just make you my HERO! Love it, will be back often.
    .-= Morgan (lifeafterbagels)´s last blog ..Family Vacation Part 2 – FUN =-.

  6. Those bean balls look so so good, yummy!

    Thanks for the shout out, I love my shirt, and plan on wearing it for the marathon if the weather works.
    .-= Robin´s last blog ..My day in pictures =-.

  7. Hey guys! How are you two? Dinner looks fabulous! I have tried a few bean ball recipes and have loved them all! I am putting this on my to make list as I’ve never tried the carrot addition.

    Great job on the run! Very exciting that you’re hitting your goals.

    Got your email- will respond too …its been a crazy busy day!
    .-= Erica´s last blog ..Pulled Pork, Corn Bread, Pole Beans =-.

  8. i am going to read your SEO post…i need some schooling because i am not sure if i am doing it right.

    LOVE the bean balls!

  9. Your beanballs look yummy, I am going to try them subbing black beans for the pinto beans.
    My hubby is also looking forward to NFL, gives me more time to work on the blog. Thanks for all your helpful tips.
    .-= meatlessmama´s last blog ..Plum Quick Bread =-.

  10. Glad that you had a good run today. I did too though I just did 4 miles today. I haven’t started really training for my marathon yet, so my long runs are still to come. Your recipe looks delicious. I will have to try that one for my boyfriend since I usually don’t use pinto beans. Thanks for sharing.
    .-= Lori – pure2raw´s last blog ..Great 4 mile run today =-.

  11. Much better than the ‘real’ meaty balls. The picture testifies that!
    .-= Alice´s last blog ..Pizza with rocket, figs and almond-thyme ‘cheese’ =-.

  12. I just made the Veganomicon beanball recipe a couple days ago! It’s delicious. I used wheat germ/flaxseed for the breadcrumbs and found it worked perfectly, too.
    .-= Sagan´s last blog ..Day 15 of the Vegan Challenge =-.

  13. I made these bean balls this week! They were great! I used a can of Pink beans left over from Sweet-Tooth Friday and replaced the other can of beans with TVP (just what I had in the pantry.) I also added a couple of dashes of worcestershire sauce.

    They were softer than regular meatballs though so I tried pan frying them after baking to get them firmer but it didn’t work. Anyway, they were still great on pasta and even better the next day. Definitely will put this into my repeat cycle of recipes!

  14. This sounds great. Some good ol’ spaghetti & bean balls!

  15. Spaghetti with vegetarian meat balls! What a great combination. It is always a pleasure to read great recipes about vegetarian meals to look forward to…Being a vegetarian myself, this is appreciated. Thank you.

  16. The bean balls came together easily and were nice and browned on the outside but super soft on the inside (almost raw). Not sure what I may have done wrong.

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