Waitrose and Partners
Feisty black bean balls with rich tomato sauce

Feisty black bean balls with rich tomato sauce

Food Waste Action Week is a brilliant initiative that encourages us to reduce the amount of food we throw away, and it’s also the inspiration behind Sam Gates' recipe. Meat and vegetable balls are an excellent way of using up leftovers and work well at the time of year when we’re still craving comfort food, but with lighter flavours.

3 out of 5 stars(7) Rate this recipe
HealthyLow in saturated fat2 of your 5 a day
  • Serves4
  • CourseMain meal
  • Prepare20 mins
  • Cook25 mins
  • Total time45 mins

Please note, we take every care to ensure the product, allergen and recipe information displayed is correct. However, should a product be unavailable, alternatives may be displayed and/or a substitution provided. If you have an allergy or intolerance, please always check the product label before use.


  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 25g pack flat leaf parsley, stalk and leaves separated, both finely chopped
  • 2 red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 x 400g cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ½ small carrot, finely grated
  • 4 tbsp tomato purée
  • 150g breadcrumbs, made from leftover bread
  • 1 British Blacktail Free Range Medium Egg, beaten
  • 50g Parmigiano Reggiano, finely grated


  1. Line a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper or a reusable liner. Warm 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, and add the onion, parsley stalks, chillies, fennel seeds and oregano. Cook for 6-8 minutes to soften the onion, then add the paprika and cook for another minute. Set aside.

  2. Tip the beans into a mixing bowl and press with a potato masher until slightly squashed. Add the cooked onion mixture, carrot, tomato purée, breadcrumbs, egg and ½ the cheese. Season generously and mix together. Using damp hands, gently roll the mixture into 24 walnut-sized balls and place on the lined baking tray. Chill while you make the sauce.

  3. Tip the tomatoes, oil and garlic into a medium saucepan and season. Slowly bring to the boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the sauce is thick and syrupy.

  4. Remove the pan from the heat and use a potato masher to break down the tomato pieces a little, so the sauce has a chunky rustic texture. Stir in the honey, then taste and check the seasoning. Keep warm.

  5. Wipe out the frying pan, heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil and add 12 bean balls. Cook for 6-8 minutes, until lightly golden and piping hot throughout. Remove and keep warm while you cook the rest. When all the bean balls are ready, add them to the sauce and scatter over the chopped parsley and parmesan.

Cook’s tip

To freeze the uncooked bean balls, place them on a lined baking tray in the freezer for 40 minutes until firm. Tip into containers and freeze for up to 3 months. Cook from frozen, as above for 12-14 minutes until piping hot in the middle.


Typical values per serving when made using specific products in recipe


2,839kJ/ 679kcals



Saturated Fat












Book a slot to see product availability at your nearest Waitrose & Partners store

Rating details

Rate this recipe

Select your rating

Overall rating (3/5)

3 out of 5 stars7 ratings

5 Stars


4 Stars


3 Stars


2 Stars


1 Stars