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Full of Bean-balls – makes approx. 28 (serves 4)

Some beans seem a little trickier to ‘advertise’ to my boys than others, they’ll happily eat all the white kinds, but turn their noses up when they are dark. Whenever I make these “no-meatballs” using black beans there aren’t any complaints though (I’m not sure they know they are eating them, but as long as they love it that’s good enough for me). They taste great on their own (they make a great addition to any lunchbox) or with tomato sauce and can be served with either mash or pasta, why not let the kids decide!

What you need:

For the bean-balls:

1 tin of black beans – opt for a salt free brand, drained and rinsed

3 tbsp sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds – I tend to do 50/50

3 tbsp porridge oats

10 dried apricots – roughly chopped

2 tbsp tahini

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

juice of half a lemon

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp garlic granules

For the tomato sauce:

2 tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves – minced

2 tins chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp tomato puree

1.5 tsp driend oregano

1 tsp date syrup

How you do it:

Preheat your oven to gas mark 5 (190C)

Pour all the ingredients for your bean-balls into a food processor and blend until you get a coarse paste.

Add a splash of water if it feels too dry, taste and add salt if necessary.

In the palms of your hands form balls the size of falafels.

In a frying pan heat up a little rapeseed oil and fry the balls, frequently shaking the pan for them to roll around and brown evenly.

This will only take a few minutes and you might have to do a couple of batches to fit them all in.

Transfer the bean-balls to a lined baking tray and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a little crunchy outside.

Meanwhile make the tomato sauce and boil the potatoes for your mash (or cook the pasta).

Reheat the same frying pan and add a little more oil if necessary.

Briefly brown the garlic, then add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree and date syrup and simmer on low heat until it starts to thicken.

Season to taste and sprinkle in the oregano.

Serve with mash or mix the tomato sauce with the pasta, only adding the bean-balls in the very end (DON’T MIX THEM WITH THE SAUCE) as they loose their crunch and get a little mushy otherwise.



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