Vegan Mexican Jalapeno Black Bean “Meatballs” with Cheese Sauce


New years eve is almost here, and I don't know about you, but I like to celebrate with cocktails and appetizers.  When I was in high school, I always had new years parties with lots and lots of food, all snacky type stuff.  You know, the 10 layer Mexican dip, and mini BBQ meatballs, and chex mix.  Not a lot of healthy stuff I can tell you that.  But it was tasty, and I enjoyed it.  In the spirit of that, I thought I would make an appetizer type dish, some vegan meatballs.  I know someone is going to be all like..."Those are not meatballs, cause they don't have meat!" But too bad, I am calling them that cause I can. I usually make lentil walnut Italian meatballs, but I wanted to try something a little different this time.  I had lots of black beans cooked off, and I love spicy Mexican food, so I went that direction.


I added fresh jalapenos to them, and they ended up tasting like really damn good refried beans.  Which I am a fan of. I baked them in the oven until they were nice and warm, then decided that they would be even more awesome with a nacho cheese sauce.  So I whipped up a batch. It was a delicious combination. I wish I had healthy and delicious appetizers when I was younger!  The best part about these is they are quick to make.  If you prefer to serve them as a main dish, whip up a Mexican red sauce and serve over pasta instead of with the cheese.



Vegan Mexican Jalapeno Black Bean "Meatballs" with Cheese Sauce

Makes about 18 meatballs and about 2 cups sauce


2 cups cooked black beans

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp chili powder

2 garlic cloves

a good pinch cayenne pepper

2 Tbsp pumpkin seed meal (ground pumpkin seeds) or as needed

2 scallions, sliced

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

Cheese Sauce:

2 medium carrots, chopped

2/3 cup raw cashew butter

1/2 tsp sea salt (or to taste)

2 Tbsp cider vinegar

2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1 garlic clove

filtered water as needed

1 jalapeno, seeded and minced

For the meatballs, combine all ingredients but the jalapeno and scallions in a food processor and blend until smooth and holding together when squeezed (if it seems way too sticky, add a little more pumpkin seed meal.  You want it to be soft, but not too soft). Add the jalapenos and scallions and pulse to distribute evenly but not blend up (you want flecks of green color).  Shape the mixture into about 1 1/2 inch meatballs, and place on an oiled baking sheet.  Place in a 375F degree oven, and bake for about 20 minutes until heated through.

Meanwhile, to make the cheese sauce, combine all ingredients but the jalapenos in a high speed blender and blend until smooth (adding a little more water if too thick). Add the jalapenos, and buzz for a second at low speed to incorporate.

Serve the cheese sauce with the meatballs to dip them in.

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