Pinto Bean “Meatballs” with Spicy Bananas & Carob Mole Sauce

roasted peppers and sauteed bananas with tortillas in the background and text reading pinto bean meatballs with spicy bananas and carob mole sauce

Up For a Challenge?

It’s time for another cooking challenge! Our prompts for today are: pinto beans, bananas, baked, spicy.

What would you make?

Ummm…Pinto Bean Banana Bread? Spicy Bean Cake?

I’ll be honest, this one had me stumped for a minute. My mind kept gravitating toward banana bread, but somehow a spicy bean banana bread didn’t sound appealing.

It was when I remembered a delicious plantain dish I’d had in Puerto Rico that inspiration struck. We don’t always think of them this way, but bananas can hang with savory dishes just fine.

For this challenge, I made a pinto bean “meatball” with a mole sauce (one of my favorite sweet and savory flavor profiles) and spicy sauteed bananas. It was a challenge that stretched me, and that’s why I love to do this.

Equipment & Ingredients

Jump to the recipe recap below for exact amounts.

  • Equipment: oven-safe Dutch oven or crock pot, food processor, immersion blender, skillet or pan of choice
  • Mole Sauce Ingredients: olive oil, peanut butter, onion, garlic, bell pepper, tomatoes, cumin (ground or seeds), paprika, nutmeg, ground black pepper, crushed red pepper, carob powder or unsweetened cocoa powder, water, sweet mini peppers
  • Meatball Dry Ingredients: paprika, ground black pepper, rolled oats, cashews or almonds (or nuts of choice)
  • Meatball Wet Ingredients: cooked or canned pinto beans, green onion, garlic, eggs
  • Banana Ingredients: olive oils, sliced bananas, paprika, ground black pepper, optional: salt

Video Overview

Start the Mole

Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).

Heat olive oil in cast iron Dutch oven or large oven-safe pot over medium heat. Add peanut butter, salt, mole seasonings, and carob powder.

Mix to form a thick paste.

Add onion, garlic, and bell pepper.

Stir to coat vegetables in mole paste. Sauté until onions are just beginning to become translucent.

Add tomatoes. Continue to sauté until tomatoes begin to break down and release their juice.

Add water and let simmer over medium heat.

While Veggies Simmer, Start Your Meatballs

Add pinto bean meatball dry ingredients to food processor. Blend into a course flour.

Transfer oat flour to mixing bowl and set aside.

Working in batches if needed, add pinto bean meatball ingredients to food processor.

Blend into a smooth paste.

You may have whole beans or chunks of garlic and green onion remaining. That’s okay! Try to get it as smooth as you can as this will help them hold together, but feel free to experiment with textures.

Add bean paste to mixing bowl and stir to combine. This will form a thick batter.

Finish Your Veggies and Sauce

Blend vegetables and mole paste into a smooth sauce using an immersion blender. You can also transfer to a traditional blender, working in batches if needed.

Roll pinto bean mixture into 1.5-inch balls and add to the sauce.

Arrange sliced sweet mini peppers in a single layer over mole sauce and meatballs.

Cover and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 10 minutes.

Start Your Bananas

While your meatballs are in the oven, start on your bananas.

Slice bananas into 1/4-inch circles.

Heat olive oil in skillet or pan of choice over medium heat until shimmering.

Arrange bananas in a single layer.

Sprinkle with seasonings.

Cook bananas for about 4 minutes or until they are beginning to caramelize.  

Flip bananas and cook an additional 4 minutes on the other side.  

Put It All Together

You did it! You have roasted sweet mini peppers over pinto bean meatballs in mole sauce AND spicy sauteed bananas.

Serve over rice or salad greens and serve with tortillas, flat bread, rolls, or anything else you like!

Enjoy!

Video & Recipe Recap

close-up photo of pinto bean meatballs topped with caramelized bananas and roasted sweet peppers with corn tortillas in the background

Pinto Bean “Meatballs” with Spicy Bananas & Carob Mole Sauce

Sweet, savory, and spicy. This Mexican-inspired dish will give your dinner rotation a satisfying twist.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6
Calories 578 kcal

Equipment

  • Dutch oven or large oven-safe crock pot
  • mixing bowl
  • food processor
  • skillet or pan of choice

Ingredients
  

Mole Sauce

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 purple onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 bell pepper chopped
  • 2 tomatoes cored and quartered
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper or to taste
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • 3 tbsp carob or unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 8 mini sweet peppers sliced in half lengthwise

Pinto Bean Meatball Dry Ingredients

  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups rolled oats.
  • 1/4 cup cashews or almonds

Pinto Bean Meatball Wet Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked pinto beans or 2 15-ounce cans
  • 1 green onion sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 eggs

Spicy Sauteed Bananas

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 bananas sliced into 1/4-inch circles
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Instructions
 

Start With the Mole Sauce

  • Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Heat olive oil in cast iron Dutch oven or large oven-safe pot over medium heat. Add peanut butter, salt, mole seasonings, and carob powder.
  • Mix to form a thick paste.
  • Add onion, garlic, and bell pepper.
  • Stir to coat vegetables in mole paste. Sauté until onions are just beginning to become translucent.
  • Add tomatoes. Continue to sauté until tomatoes begin to break down and release their juice.
  • Add water and let simmer over medium heat.

While Veggies Simmer, Start Your Meatballs

  • Add pinto bean meatball dry ingredients to food processor. Blend into a coarse flour.
  • Transfer oat flour to mixing bowl and set aside.
  • Working in batches if needed, add pinto bean meatball ingredients to food processor.
  • Blend into a smooth paste.
  • You may have whole beans or chunks of garlic and green onion remaining. That’s okay! Try to get it as smooth as you can as this will help them hold together, but feel free to experiment with textures.
  • Add bean paste to mixing bowl and stir to combine. This will form a thick batter.

Finish Your Veggies and Sauce

  • Blend vegetables and mole paste into a smooth sauce using an immersion blender. You can also transfer to a traditional blender, working in batches if needed.
  • Roll pinto bean mixture into 1.5-inch balls and add to the sauce.
  • Arrange sliced sweet mini peppers in a single layer over mole sauce and meatballs.
  • Cover and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 10 minutes.

Start Your Bananas

  • While your meatballs are in the oven, start on your bananas.
  • Slice bananas into 1/4-inch circles.
  • Heat olive oil in skillet or pan of choice over medium heat until shimmering.
  • Arrange bananas in a single layer.
  • Sprinkle with seasonings.
  • Cook bananas for about 4 minutes or until they are beginning to caramelize.
  • Flip bananas and cook an additional 4 minutes on the other side.

Serving Suggestions

  • Serve over rice or salad greens and serve with tortillas, flat bread, rolls, or anything else you like!

Video

Keyword Beans New Ways, Gluten-Free, Made from Scratch, Meatless Dinner, Roasted, Vegetarian

Nutrition Information

Serving Size: 3 meatballs with bananas and sauce

Total Servings: 6

Calories 578
Total Fat 27g
Saturated Fat 4.8g
Cholesterol 55mg
Sodium 617mg
Total Carbohydrate 72.4g
Dietary Fiber 15.8g
Total Sugars 15.9g
Protein 19.2g
Vitamin D 5mcg
Calcium 72mg
Iron 14mg
Potassium 1151mg

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