Back with Bean Balls

I’m back.  Not that I’ve been anywhere.  In fact, I’ve posted more regulary in the last few weeks than I ever have.  It’s just that I wasn’t been in the mood for saying very much and thought that a couple of weeks of silence might help me regain my blogging mojo.

And it has.  I have my voice back, I have my enthusiasm back and I have a whole bunch of recipes to share with you over the next few weeks.  

Going to start with bean balls – partly because “bean balls” is fun to say and partly because I’m rather proud of how good these are.  Just as well, they’re going to be the joint main feature of next week’s Lucia party.

Lucia (St Lucy’s Day in English) is a Scandinavian feast day celebrated each year on December 13th.  The Swedish version of the festival traditionally involves a procession of children in white dresses carrying candles and singing carols.  It must be a very pretty sight but I have to admit I have never personally seen an authentic celebration of Lucia.

My own experience of Lucia comes from my student days when my Swedish friends and I would hold a party with candles and mulled wine and lots of Swedish food.  Lingonberry jam, gingerbread, saffron buns, pickled herring, Jansson’s temptation and, of course, meatballs.  It was great. 

This year we have decided to all meet up again on the 13th and hold another Lucia party.  Can’t wait!  

I’ve been put in charge of the meatballs.  A great responsibility, indeed.  Though I shall be practising and posting about the traditional beef meatballs later in the weekend, I have to say it’s the following vegetarian “meat” balls that I’m most excited about.

 Made with adzuki beans, these little nuggets have a wonderful texture (crunchy on the outside, soft in the middle) and are far tastier than I ever imagined they would be.  A true success.

Bean Balls (inspired by Veganomicon)

400g tin of adzuki beans (kidney would work well too)

2 tblspn fine oatmeal

2 tblspn BBQ sauce

1 tblspn soy sauce

Grate rind of 1/2 a lemon

Dash of Worcestershire sauce

1 clove of garlic, crushed

1/4 tspn dried thyme

1/4 tspn dried oregano


2 tblspn plain flour, seasoned

Olive oil

  • Whizz the beans in a blender for a few seconds.  You don’t want them totally blended – keep some texture.
  • Add the beans to a bowl along with the pepper, oatmeal, soy sauce, BBQ sauce, Worchestershire sauce, lemon rind, garlic and herbs.  Phew.  Combine well with a fork.  Taste, adding extra pepper or Worchestershire sauce if required.
  • Roll the mixture into walnut sized balls and roll in the seasoned flour.
  • Fry in 2mm of olive oil over a medium-high heat until browned and crispy and cooked through.

11 thoughts on “Back with Bean Balls

  1. glad your voice and blogging cheer is back! And love this recipe. Your St Lucia celebration sounds great fun. My favourite mulled wine recipe comes from my swedish boss from when I worked in Scotland, so I hope will will hear more about your swedish feast!

  2. Oh, this sounds nice! My mum always make vegetarian soy balls which taste great and there are mighty fine ready ones to buy here too, but I’m all for new recipes like these.

    I remember when we celebrated Lucia when I was a child, the chosing of which one was going to play the role of Lucia in the procession, her maids, gingerbread boys and girls plus the gnomes, I always found it fun but I know there can be *slightly* messy, with the chosen and the not chosen ones etc…

    These days I have no issues with such things, my only real tradition is that I bake the yearly batch of “lussekatter” (the Lucia saffron buns) on Dec 13:)

    Sadly, for many years now, the Swedish Lucia partying for teenagers is often out of control with too much alcohol and violence, if I’m not completely mistaken I think this Swedish celebration is also the worst when it comes to teenage drunkeness and disorder.

    Your Lucia party sounds lovely, hope you’ll have a great time!

  3. So pleased to have you back (though the photos have been stunning!). I work with a Swedish girl who always brings in goodies to the office for Lucia. The saffron buns are a particular favourite! I’m a little concerned this year though as it falls on a Saturday… Wonder if I can persuade her to bring them in a day early…!
    These bean balls look terrific.

  4. Oh yum! I just had an adzuki bean disaster (I tried to cook them with rice in my rice cooker after soaking the beans overnight, but apparently you’re supposed to pre-cook them as well). Your recipe looks much more successful. 🙂

  5. I haven’t heard of this festival before, but it sounds like fun, especially if there are treats this to be had. I love the sound of the bean balls. I think they would be great on pasta too.

  6. Johanna – There’s lots more to come!

    Giorgia – Awww, that’s sweet. 🙂

    Jules – Thank you! Good to be back.

    Pia – I knew the real name was glogg but I couldn’t be bothered finding the o with two dots!!! Lazy me. Shame Lucia is just about getting drunk for some people. The same thing has happed in Finland on Vappu (May Day).

    Antonia – Good luck with the saffron buns! Worth pursuing, I think. 😉

    Salena – Oh dear. I’ve had more than a few bean disasters in my time too. The worst being forgetting about soaking chickpeas and going on holiday for a fortnight. The smell when I returned!!!

    Christina – Hello. 🙂 Some of the cans of adzuki beans can be a bit mushy. Took a few different brands before I found a good one.

    Holler – The recipe that inspired these was for spaghetti and “meat”balls. Might have to try it sometime.

  7. This looks so good, I’ve been looking for this kind of recipe for ages. Thank you so much for posting it! I’ll try it once the Christmas festivities are over.


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