A slightly spicy dish which can be served as nibbles or as a meal of its own

Phytonutrients, macro and micro nutrients are well combined in these little balls, including:  carbs – fibre, protein, B vitamins, vitamin K, and minerals. They provide a good source of energy, boost cardiovascular and brain health, promote stable blood sugar levels, protect blood cell and platelet function, and are also beneficial to the nervous and immune systems. In my last recipe, I mentioned Sulphites – an additive in foods – Black beans are rich in Molybdenum, a mineral that counteracts acidic substances, thus neutralizing these negative effects.
This recipe is a good option for vegan and vegetarian diets, as well as coeliac sufferers.

Serves: 2-3

150g dried black beans, soaked overnight
400ml of vegetable stock
4cm piece of kombu seaweed
1 tbsp olive oil
2 small red onions, finely chopped
¼ lemon
½ tsp tahini
100g young spinach, coarsely chopped
2 big garlic cloves, finely chopped
½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp Himalayan salt
about 5 grind of black pepper
20cm green jalapeno, remove seeds, finely chopped
45g fresh coriander, finely chopped
100g quinoa flakes, toasted and cooled
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chia seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds

1.   Bring the black beans, the kombu and the vegetable stock to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover and simmer until the black beans are fully softened and the liquid is absorbed, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and mash well with a potato masher. Set aside.

2.   In a non-stick skillet or frying pan toast the quinoa flakes to colour them, it will be slightly darker but not brown. Take off the heat and set aside to cool.

3.   Separately wash thoroughly the spinach and the coriander, let them drain in a salad strainer while you peel and finely chop the onion and garlic. Prepare the jalapeno -  is recommended to use gloves for this procedure - removing the seeds and finely chop it, set aside. Take the spinach and coarsely chop it.

4.   Preheat the oven to 190ºc (gas mark 5).

5.   In a non-stick frying pan or skillet add the olive oil and sauté half of the chopped red onion. Add the lemon and tahini and sauté until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

6.   Add the spinach, half of the chopped garlic, ground cumin, Himalayan salt, grind the black pepper, jalapeno and stir until the spinach become limp and there is not much water left. Set aside.

7.    In a small bowl mix the chia seeds and sesame seeds. Line a baking tin with baking parchment.

8.   Remove the thicker stalks from the coriander. Finely chop the leaves and combine with the spinach mixture, toasted quinoa flakes, garlic powder, the rest of the onion and garlic. Add a generous pinch of salt to the black beans and mix thoroughly by hand. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.

9.   By hand, shape the black bean mixture into a medium-large meatball size. Repeat, until all the black beans balls are formed, about 8.

10.   Coat in chia and sesame seeds mixture and transfer to your prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until they get golden.

11.   Remove them from the oven and allow to cool slightly – they will become increasingly firm the longer they are cooled.

To serve:
Cover the black beans balls in a pumpkin seed sauce. This is a delicious option for moisture and flavour and also enhances the Omega 3 values of the dish. A lettuce cup is other good option for optimal flavour combinations and as a garnish for presentation.

Soaking is important when preparing legumes, especially beans. This will enhance the nutrient content and eliminate undesirable substances such as phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors which disturb the absorption of nutrients by our body and can even cause digestive discomfort.
Kombu contain high amount of minerals and digestive enzymes which support optimum digestion and great absorption of nutrients.

Source: Patricia Nunes natural Chef in training, inspired by Dana at minimalistbaker.com

Allergen information: sesame seeds.