Recipe: White Bean and Mushroom “Meatballs”


I love putting interesting new spins on classic recipes and this week I decided to reinvent the Italian staple–spaghetti and meatballs. While the spaghetti and sauce stay the same in this recipe, the meatballs get a complete facelift and go vegetarian. Yes, vegetarian.

It seems a little sacrilegious to take the “meat” out of “meatball” but I have been on the lookout for a decent vegetarian/vegan option to share with family and friends. This version does not use tofu or soy meat product, but white beans and mushrooms, which make them much less intimidating (in my opinion) to make. Trust me, once you try White Bean and Mushroom “Meatballs,” you will definitely find a new weeknight staple!

The meatball mixture starts with a large, high-sided skillet set over medium heat. When the skillet is hot, add in some onion and cook for 3-5 minutes until soft and golden.











Then add in chopped button mushrooms and some minced garlic. Cook the veggies for another 2-3 minutes until the mushrooms are soft and golden and the garlic is fragrant.











Finally, add in some seasonings–salt, black pepper, dried oregano, and chili flake. Stir the seasonings in.











And then toss in the drained and rinsed white beans! Stir everything together for one final time and cook for an additional minute until the white beans are heated through.











Transfer the bean mixture to a food processor and pulse until the beans just start to break apart and the mixture starts to become smoother. Stop the food processor and add in a mixture of seasoned breadcrumbs and panko breadcrumbs (Japanese-style breadcrumbs) and lemon juice and then continue to pulse until the mixture is completely smooth. Let the mixture stand for about 3-5 minutes to allow the breadcrumbs to absorb some of the moisture.











To make the meatballs, grab a tablespoon and portion out slightly heaping tablespoons of meatball mixture–roll the mixture into a ball.











Then roll the meatball in a plate of seasoned breadcrumbs that have been seasoned with additional black pepper.











Place the meatballs onto a parchment-lined baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.











Bake the meatballs in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30 minutes, turning the meatballs halfway.











To serve, pop the meatballs in warm marinara sauce for 5 minutes before serving.











I served my meatballs over whole wheat spaghetti and garnished with some fresh basil, but these will definitely be delicious as a “meatball” hero sandwich too!











Check out more of Catherine’s delicious recipes by visiting Simply A (RD) Foodie and come back here every Wednesday for new recipes!

Recipe: White Bean and Mushroom “Meatballs”

Total Time: 50 minutes

Serves: 16 meatballs

Serving Size: 4


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 8 oz button mushrooms, wiped down and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flake
  • 1-15 oz can white beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly
  • 1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs seasoned with 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, for rolling
  • Cooking Spray


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly spray paper with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large, high-sided skillet set over medium heat, add in olive oil. When oil is hot, add in onion and cook for 3-5 minutes until soft and golden brown.
  3. Add in mushrooms and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until mushrooms are golden brown and tender and the garlic is fragrant.
  4. Season the vegetable mixture with salt, pepper, oregano, red pepper flake. Add in the white beans and stir to combine. Cook for an additional minute to heat the beans through.
  5. Transfer the bean-vegetable mixture to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse the meatball mixture until the beans are starting to break down and become smooth. Add in the 1/4 cup seasoned breadcrumbs, panko bread crumbs, and lemon juice. Continue to pulse until mixture is completely smooth. Allow meatball mixture to sit for 3-5 minutes to allow for the breadcrumbs to absorb some of the moisture.
  6. To roll the meatballs, portion out slightly heaping tablespoons of the meatball mixture and roll into a ball using your hands. Roll the meatball in the seasoned breadcrumbs that have been further seasoned with some black pepper. Place the formed meatball onto the baking sheet.
  7. Bake the meatballs for 30 minutes, turning them over halfway through.
  8. To serve, place meatballs in heated marinara sauce for 5 minutes prior to serving. I like serving my white bean and mushroom meatballs over whole wheat pasta but they can be served in a sandwich if you prefer!

Nutritional Information:

(4 meatballs): 283 calories | 5gm fat | 1gm saturated fat | 50gm carbohydrates | 885mg sodium | 7gm fiber | 14gm protein | 0mg cholesterol

Recipe lightly adapted from Sobremesa

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Catherine is a registered dietitian, whose love of all things food and cooking started during her study abroad in Italy. She believes that all foods fit into a healthy diet (even chocolate cake), food tastes better when you cook it yourself, and that a well-stocked pantry is a lifesaver. Check her out at Simply a (RD) Foodie.

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