Black bean vegan sub

Perfect plant-based comfort food that’s seriously hearty


Photo: Claire Winfield

V Black beans are an amazing ingredient to use when replicating any type of beef recipe. Their colour and earthy taste make them one of my favourite beans to use every week. Meatballs are such a comforting meal and can be served with pasta or inside a large crusty baguette. Tip: You can shape these meatballs into burgers instead!

Serves: 4

Prep: 15 – 20 mins

Cook: 1 hour


1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

400 g tin of black beans, drained and rinsed

75g rolled oats

1 tsp harissa paste (I like spicy but reduce the amount if you prefer mild)

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

100g fresh breadcrumbs

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 baguette

Vegan cheese

For the tomato sauce

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsp olive oil

Small pinch of chilli (hot pepper) flakes or good splash of Tabasco sauce

400g tin chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp soft brown sugar or good squirt of tomato ketchup

½ bunch of basil, torn


l Cook the onion and garlic in a frying pan with around a tablespoon of olive oil over a medium heat for 5–10 minutes, or until softened.

l Transfer the cooked onion and garlic to a food processor, add the black beans, oats, harissa, oregano, vinegar, breadcrumbs and seasoning and blend until everything comes together. Pulse and don’t overblend. Roll the mixture into 16–20 meatballs.

l Heat around 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the same large frying pan over a medium to high heat, add the meatballs and cook for 10–15 minutes, turning every few minutes so all sides are browned.

l Meanwhile, start the tomato sauce by frying the onion and garlic in the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat for 5–10 minutes, or until softened. Add the remaining ingredients, fill the empty tomato tin halfway with water and add to the pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, simmer for 5–10 minutes and season.

l When the meatballs are ready, add them to the tomato sauce and cook for 5 or so minutes (don’t over-stir to avoid breaking the meatballs).

l You can serve the meatballs with spaghetti or make a meatball sub. Simply add to a large baguette, then scoop over the tomato sauce and a layer of vegan cheese. Toast open under a preheated grill (broiler) until the cheese has melted, then close the sandwich up and enjoy.

Adapted from Make It Vegan (Hardie Grant)

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