I always like to incorporate a few meatless meals throughout my week, and and these chickpea and sun-dried tomato “meatballs” are one of my favorites. They’re simple enough to make and yield about 12-14 small meatballs, so if you’re cooking for a bigger group, just double the ingredients to make a batch of 24-28. These meatballs can also be made vegan with the easy swap of one batch of flax egg for the regular egg and vegan Parmesan cheese for regular Parmesan.
The base of your “meatball” will be chickpeas, so make sure to have a blender or food processor on hand to blend them up into a chunky paste. Open your can of chickpeas, strain, rinse, dry them, and transfer into your blender with about a tablespoon of olive oil. Use the pulse function to grind up your chickpeas into a smooth but chunky paste. You don’t want it to be completely blended, because you want it to resemble “faux meat,” so make sure to leave a few chunks. Transfer your chickpea paste to a large bowl, and then pile in your spices, basil, and breadcrumbs.
The last step before forming your meatballs is sautéing your garlic. Putting fresh garlic into your mix without sautéing first will leave an unpleasant uncooked raw garlic taste when you bite into your meatballs, which is no bueno, so do not skip this step! Once garlic is sautéed, add to your bowl and with your hands and mix up your ingredients evenly, making sure that the breadcrumbs are evenly dispersed and that your egg is fully mixed in. Measure out about one tablespoon of the mixture into your hand and roll into a small ball (using a small ice cream scoop is helpful to ensure all meatballs are about the same size). Roll each ball into your coating mixture. The coating gives these meatballs that extra crust when you brown them, similar to regular meatballs. Once you have your batch all set, heat your sauté pan with another tablespoon of olive oil, and brown on both sides (about 2-3 minutes on each side). Place all your meatballs on your baking sheet, and bake for 15 minutes.
I paired the meatballs with a simple olive oil and garlic pasta. This quick pasta is a great base for a main dish, as you can pair it with grilled shrimp, sausage, or just enjoy it on its own. Simply sauté some garlic, salt, pepper and sun-dried tomatoes, toss with your cooked pasta, and sprinkle with fresh basil for a fragrant but subtle addition to these meatballs.
- For the “Meatballs”:
2 tablespoons of olive oil
5-7 cloves of garlic (minced)
1/3 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
1/3 cup fresh chopped basil
1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (dry, not in oil)
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper for taste
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
1 15 ounce can of chickpeas
- For the Coating:
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3-4 tablespoons gluten-free breadcrumbs
- For the Pasta:
1/2 lb spaghetti
4-5 cloves garlic (minced)
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
1/4 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
Salt and pepper for taste
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Heat a sauté pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and sauté your minced garlic for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, and add to a large mixing bowl.
- Add your chickpeas and 1 tablespoon of olive oil to your blender. Pulse until pretty blended (a few chunks is OK).
- Add your egg, blended chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, breadcrumbs, cheese, basil, and spices to your large mixing bowl with your garlic. Mix well with your hands.
- In a small bowl, mix together your breadcrumbs and cheese for your coating.
- Spoon about 1 tablespoon of “meatball” mixture, and roll in your palm into a ball. Roll in coating mixture, and repeat with all meatballs.
- Heat your sauté pan to medium-high with another tablespoon of olive oil, and when pan is heated, place about 6-7 meatballs (so you’ll have to do two batches).
- Brown the meatballs on each side for 1-2 minutes, then place on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes.
- During this time, you can prep your pasta. I made a simple garlic and basil pasta. Boil a large pot with salted water, and cook your spaghetti for 7-10 minutes.
- In your sauté pan, heat up 1/3 cup of olive oil, add in your minced garlic, spices, and sun-dried tomatoes, and cook for 3-5 minutes until garlic is golden and fragrant.
- Strain your pasta, and add directly into your pan, tossing with olive oil, garlic, and spices. Sprinkle in your fresh basil and toss again.
- Plate pasta and then a few meatballs on top, sprinkle some fresh Parmesan cheese, and enjoy!
- Pasta, Main Dishes
- 12-14 Small Meatballs
- Total Time
- 14 minutes, 59 seconds
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Taylor Celentano