Whew, this week has been a busy one! When you work full time and have things on every night it can be tempting to eat takeaway or just snack on anything random you can find in the fridge, but you pretty much always feel better if you can take half an hour to make yourself something good. This week my best effort was these tempeh beanballs with spaghetti and spicy tomato sauce.

This recipe is heavily inspired by Isa Chandra Moscowitz’s (Post Punk Kitchen) recipe for Cajun Beanballs and Spaghetti. The original recipe uses black eyed peas but in honour of it being 8pm already by the time I got home, and me being too starving to bother with the pressure cooker, I used tinned red kidney beans as a substitute. I also swapped umeboshi plum vinegar for the balsamic and used a food processor to make the mixture rather than mashing by hand. This is also easily made gluten free by omitting the breadcrumbs or using gluten free breadcrumbs instead.

Kidney Bean and Tempeh Beanballs
340g tempeh
425g red kidney beans (or black eyed peas)
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp umeboshi plum vinegar
1/4 cup bread crumbs
Olive oil
1/4 tsp sea salt

Spicy Tomato Sauce
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
2 long red chillies
1 tin crushed tomatoes
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp sea salt
Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Break the tempeh into bite sized pieces and steam it for ten minutes to mellow the flavour and prepare it to absorb the flavours from the other ingredients. Drain and rinse the kidney beans, and add all ingredients to the food processor, blending until you get a smooth consistency. You will need to scrape down the sides a few times.


While the mixture is blending, put on a big pot of salted water for the pasta and begin on your sauce. Chop onions, garlic, and chillies and saute in olive oil until translucent. Add the salt and paprika and stir through to cook the spices. Add a tin of crushed tomatoes and lower the heat, adding water as needed to thin the consistency. I was in luck and Trina made the sauce while I was out, but you could easily do it at this stage in the recipe.

Once you have the sauce going and the beanball mix is relatively smooth, take approx. 2 tbsp of the beanball mix and roll into a ball. Pour a small amount of olive oil into a bowl and roll the beanball in the oil, placing on a baking tray covered with baking paper. Repeat until all the balls are done.


This recipe will make 15-20 balls depending on how big you make them. Bake for 15 minutes, turn, and bake for a further 10 minutes. Once the beanballs are in the oven, put on the spaghetti to cook and grate some cheese. After the beanballs come out of the oven, toss them in the sauce, and serve over pasta, topped with cheese. I added some homemade basil and almond pesto I had in the fridge and it was delicious!



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