That’s a Spicy Unmeatball

We have a pasta dish once a week in this house. We love our pasta. On a rare occasion I’m in the mood for a more nostalgic simple spaghetti and meatballs pasta dish like you had as a kid. This week was super tight for buying groceries so I picked up a few things from the store that are cheap and I know we could easily make something out of. One of those things was a large can of kidney beans. When I got home I realized we already had marinara sauce and spaghetti in the pantry so meatballs seemed like a perfect pairing. I was going to look up a recipe to make meatballs using kidney beans but then an idea struck that this would be the perfect opportunity to share my creativity with all of you.

Disclaimer: these balls are not that spicy. I think it’s the right amount of heat. It’s more of an after taste of spicyness, not a lingering-on-the-tongue-I-can’t-taste-anything-else-chug-a-glass-of-water heat. Also, this recipe makes 15 unmeatballs.

Spicy Unmeatball


  • 26 oz. can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs)
  • 1 flax egg (2-1/2 tablespoons ground flax seed mixed with 3 tablespoons warm water)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian herb mix
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • salt and pepper, to taste (I used 1/2 teaspoon each)



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper or foil.
  2. In a medium bowl mash beans using a potato masher until there are no big chunks left. You can use a fork but it will take a lot longer and your hand will be killing you by the time you’re done.
  3. Mix in all other ingredients.
  4. Form avocado pit sized balls (or golf ball sized, if you don’t eat avocados) and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes. Turn half way through cooking time.
  6. Add balls to prepared marinara sauce just to coat. Be careful not to squish your balls if you care about them staying whole, they are delicate.
  7. Serve on top of your favorite pasta and enjoy!


This recipe got another thumbs up from the husband. He actually said he liked them better than the other meatball recipes we have tried. I was hoping they would be a little more firm than they turned out. I would like to try making this recipe again except fry them instead to see if that cuts down on the mushy quality. Making the balls smaller might also help with that. Even so the flavor was great, I wouldn’t change any of that. I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.

2 thoughts on “That’s a Spicy Unmeatball

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