Vegan Greek Beanballs
Beans, beans the musical fruit.
In terms of nutrition, the classic song holds true. Beans and legumes are a nutrition powerhouse – they’re packed full of fibre, protein, and antioxidants. A 2017 prospective cohort study showed that regular consumption of beans, along with eating vegetables and fruits, significantly reduced risk of death by any cause. So basically, if you eat beans, you could live longer.
Those who have read my blog before know that I am anti-diet, and one diet that makes absolutely zero sense to me is the Paleo Diet. In the Paleo Diet, beans are forbidden because they contain lectin, an alleged antinutrient that is harmful to your health.
Fortunately for bean lovers, there is no science to support that the lectins found in beans are harmful.
Lectin is a type of protein found in plants that can block the absorption of some nutrients like iron or calcium. However, when beans are heated with canning or cooking, almost all of the lectins are broken down; therefore the nutrient-blocking properties are lost. On top of that, 1 serving of beans or legumes has over 10 g protein, and half of your daily requirement for fibre, as well as about 20% of your daily iron needs.
Check out my recipe for vegan Greek beanballs below for a great way to add beans to your diet. They can be eaten in a wrap like falafel or on top of a salad or Buddha bowl, and make great leftovers.
As the song goes – eat your beans at every meal! Or even just a few times per week.
Vegan Greek Beanballs
4 cups cooked or canned pinto beans (I like to cook my beans from dried, so I cooked 2 cups dried beans)
1 red onion, diced fine
1 cup parsley, diced fine
3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flaxseed + 5 tbsp water, recipe from Minimalist Baker, directions below)
2 tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp turmeric, for colour
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
To make two flax eggs: mix 2 tbsp ground flaxseed and 5 tbsp warm water in a small bowl. Let stand for at least five minutes to thicken.
Preheat the oven to 375⁰F.
Place beans in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher (you may also puree them in a food processor). I didn’t mash them until completely smooth, just until they were mostly crushed and starting to stick together.
Add all of the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix well.
Using your hands, form the beanballs so they are about 5 cm (2 inches) in diameter. I wasn’t too careful about the size; I just made balls that fit nicely into the cupped palm of my hand. Place each of the beanballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment (or you can spray with cooking spray). Brush each ball with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake for 20 minutes at 375⁰F.
Serve in a wrap, or on a salad. Great with tzatziki dressing. These keep well in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.