Spicy Black Bean Meatballs

Spicy Black Bean Meatballs
Just so you know, these aren’t the kind of meatballs you serve with spaghetti. If you’re looking for those kinds of meatballs, I will direct you here and here. But if you’re looking for a different kind of meatball, pull up a chair and grab yourself a fork because I have some Spicy Black Bean Meatballs for you and they are deeeelicious!

These vegetarian meatballs are made with a black bean and oat base (this means they’re gluten-free, as long as you use gluten-free oats!) and seasoned with a whole mess of spices and garlic and salsa. Yes, that’s a spicy meatball! You can use a little less cayenne or omit it altogether to make these more kid-friendly, but after experimenting with several different amounts of cayenne, I think 1/2 teaspoon is perfect—it’s spicy, but in an enjoyable way.

Spicy Black Bean Meatball Ingredients
While it’s true that these meatballs aren’t exactly a good fit for pasta and marinara, you can put them in wraps, tacos, or burritos and even make them into meatball sliders. They’d be delicious in a taco salad or in a bowl full of rice and fajita veggies. But if you don’t want to mess with all of that, just serve ‘em up as is with a little salsa, sour cream, or smoky garlic aioli. And then stick a little flag in them. Or not! I happen to like little flags, okay?

Spicy Black Bean Meatballs

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 12 meatballs

Spicy Black Bean Meatballs

These Spicy Black Bean Meatballs are perfect served with a little salsa, but they also make great wraps, sliders, and subs!


  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained (or 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans)
  • 1/3 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons salsa (tomato-based)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Salsa, for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Put the oats in the small bowl of a food processor and process until coarsely ground—it shouldn't be flour-like, but there should be very few whole oats left when you're finished.
  3. Place the black beans in a medium bowl. Use a fork to partially mash them, then fold in the oats, corn, green onions, garlic, and salsa. Sprinkle the cumin, chili powder, oregano, paprika, and cayenne over the top of the mixture and then stir them in too. Add salt and pepper to taste, then mix in the beaten egg.
  4. Spray a mini-muffin tin with oil. Form the black bean mixture into 12 balls and place each in a muffin cup. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the tops of the meatballs are dry to the touch and just beginning to brown. Let the meatballs cool for about 5 minutes, then carefully run a butter knife along the edges of the muffin cups to loosen them and pop them out of the muffin tin. Serve with salsa or in wraps, burritos, as meatball sliders or subs, etc.
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Kiersten Frase

About Kiersten

Kiersten is the founder and head writer of Oh My Veggies. She lives just outside of Raleigh with her husband and their 4 wonky-eyed rescue cats.   Read more from Kiersten →

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  1. says

    These look fabulous! I’m attempting to make vegetarian meatballs in a harissa tomato sauce. Do you think these ones would be best or would you suggest the lentil mushroom ones? I’m not pairing them with spaghetti but would love to hear your suggestion. Thanks Kiersten!

  2. Liz says

    It’s your BIRTHDAY?! I know, I know — you’re not a birthday gal. But, well, don’t think of this as a birthday. Think of it as a day for everyone who loves you and is thankful that you’re in their life, in some way or another, to voice their gratitude and wishes for you to stick around another year or so. :) So, let me take the time now to tell you I’m glad you’re here and hope you’ll consider hanging around for awhile. :)

    • Kiersten Frase says

      HA! Did I mention before that I wasn’t into birthdays or are you just making the assumption based on my general curmudgeonry? :) I just feel awkward being the center of attention! It’s weird! But thank you! :D

      • Liz says

        You’ve mentioned your non-celebratory nature in previous posts. :)

        I’m like you on the front of being the center of attention, even on birthdays — it all makes me very uncomfortable, as well. I appreciate recognition and acknowledgement, but I do NOT want any fuss to be made over me so I get here you’re coming from. Regardless, I hope you don’t mind the birthday wishes. :)

        • Kiersten Frase says

          Ha ha, yeah, that’s me, very non-celebratory. And then people think I’m a jerk. No! I’m not a jerk! I just get embarrassed when people make a big deal about my birthday. :)

  3. says

    I have been wanting to try out meat-free meatballs. These sound delicious. I’m also appreciating that you tested the recipe using gf oats — a stable for me. Thanks for sharing another great recipe, Kiersten. Have a great week.:)

  4. Jill says

    Hi they look wonderful, thank you for the recipe!
    What can I use to sub out the egg? I am assuming it is a binder?

    • Kiersten Frase says

      I was thinking that too, actually–that you could use salsa in place of pasta sauce and top it with avocado, cheese, etc. I was going to suggest that in my post, but then I thought people would think that was crazy, so I didn’t. :)

  5. says

    Oh yum, these look absolutely delicious- I love how you can see all the different ingredients in that little ball- makes them look more colourful and appetizing than just grey mush- like regular meat balls! Also one of my favourite meals are meat-less meat ball wraps and subs :)

  6. says

    Oh my gosh I need these meatballs in my life! haha I love the play on regular meatballs – with two of my favorites – black beans and corn! I would definitely enjoy these just by themselves with some salsa!

  7. says

    I love that these have so much texture with the black beans and corn, and that they don’t look like regular meatballs so I wouldn’t feel as weird about eating them! Meatball sliders sound like the perfect idea for them (actually, I don’t think I’ve ever had a meatball sub or slider, but it sounds good here!)

  8. Brooke says

    Have been wanting to make these since they were first posted…..and they are DELICIOUS!!! Just the right amount of heat without being too much but makes you come back for more and more!! I did use an egg replacer and they came out great. Loving all your recipes! Your website has been one of my go-to for great veggie recipes! Thanks for the wonderful ideas and inspirations! Keep them coming!

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