Are these falafels or meatballs? That may depend on how long you’ve been expermenting with vegan food and meat alternatives, but either way these are absolutely delicious! Packed with flavor and made with simple, healthy ingredients, these meatballs are perfect for anyone looking to reduce their meat consumption or try a plant-based alternative to traditional meatballs. So, let’s dive in and see what makes these chickpea meatballs so irresistible!
Key Ingredients for Chickpea Meatballs
- Chickpeas: the star of the show, providing a nutritious and hearty base for the meatballs.
- Nutritional yeast: adds a cheesy, umami flavor to the meatballs, making them a great substitute for Parmesan cheese in traditional meatball recipes.
- Soy sauce: provides a savory, salty element to the mixture.
- Aquafaba: the liquid from canned chickpeas acts as a binder to hold the meatballs together, without the use of eggs.
- Flour and breadcrumbs: help to give the meatballs structure and texture, so they hold their shape when cooked.
Whilst most of these ingredients are pantry staples you probably already have in the cupboard, here’s a shopping list in case you need it!
- Canned chickpeas
- Brown onion
- Nutritional yeast
- Soy sauce
- Olive oil
- Smoked paprika
- Garlic powder
How to Make Chickpea Meatballs
Step One: Preheat your oven and prepare a baking sheet.
Step Two: Combine canned chickpeas, onion, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, aquafaba, olive oil, spices, and herbs in a food processor.
Step 3: Add flour and breadcrumbs to the mixture, and combine until it forms a dough. Form the dough into small meatball-sized balls. Let the meatballs rest in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.
Step 4: Bake the meatballs in the oven until they are golden brown.
Step 5: Serve the meatballs with your favorite sauce.
These chickpea meatballs are incredibly versatile and can be served with a wide range of sauces, pastas, and sides. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Red pasta sauce and spaghetti: For a classic Italian-style meal, serve the meatballs on top of a bed of spaghetti and smother them in a rich, tomato-based pasta sauce.
- Pesto pasta: If you’re in the mood for something a little different, try serving the meatballs with a creamy pesto sauce and your favorite pasta shape.
- Meatball subs: If you’re feeling indulgent, use the meatballs to make a vegan meatball sub. Simply place a few meatballs in a sub roll, add some marinara sauce and vegan cheese, and bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- Swedish meatballs: For a nod to the popular Swedish meatballs at IKEA, serve the meatballs with a creamy gravy, lingonberry jam, and mashed potatoes.
Here are some expert tips to help you make the perfect chickpea meatballs:
- Don’t accidentally throw out your aquafaba: Aquafaba is the liquid from canned chickpeas, and it’s a great substitute for eggs in this recipe. It helps to bind the ingredients together and makes the meatballs moist and tender.
- Blend the ingredients well: It’s important to blend the ingredients in a food processor until they’re completely smooth. This will help ensure that the meatballs hold together and have a nice texture.
- Don’t overdo it with the flour and breadcrumbs: It’s important to use just the right amount of flour and breadcrumbs to help bind the mixture together. If you use too much, the meatballs can become dry and dense.
- Let the mixture rest: After mixing the ingredients, let the mixture rest in the freezer for at least 20 minutes. This will help the mixture firm up and make it easier to roll into balls.
- Don’t overcook the meatballs: Overcooking the meatballs can make them dry and tough. Be sure to cook them for just the right amount of time to ensure that they’re golden brown on the outside and tender on the inside.
Storage instructions for Chickpea Meatballs
You have a couple of options when it comes to storing these chickpea meatballs. If you’re not planning to cook them right away, you can store the uncooked meatballs in the freezer until you’re ready to bake them. This is the best option for optimum flavor and texture. If you have leftovers, you can also store the baked meatballs in the fridge for up to three days or in the freezer for up to three months.
To prevent the meatballs from falling apart, it’s important to make sure the mixture is well combined and firm. Adding flour and breadcrumbs can help give the mixture structure, and freezing the meatballs for 20 minutes before baking can also help them hold together better.
You can try them with classic tomato-based pasta sauces, pesto, gravy or even a spicy harissa sauce. You can also serve them with a side of hummus or tzatziki for dipping.
Putting the meatballs in the freezer chills them and helps them retain their shape while baking.
The recipe as written includes flour and breadcrumbs, which are not gluten-free. However, you can use gluten-free alternatives such as almond flour and gluten-free breadcrumbs to make these meatballs gluten-free.
Yes, you can make the mixture ahead of time and store it in the fridge for up to 24 hours before shaping and baking the meatballs. You can also freeze the uncooked meatballs until you’re ready to bake them for best results.
More chickpea recipes
If you love chickpeas, be sure to try some of my other most popular recipes:
- Chickpea, Roast Pumpkin & Walnut Salad
- Thai-Inspired Peanut Chickpea Curry
- Chickpeas with Tahini Sauce
These chickpea meatballs are a delicious, healthy, and easy-to-make alternative to traditional meatballs. They’re perfect for vegetarians, vegans, or anyone looking for a meatless meal option. The combination of chickpeas, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, and herbs and spices gives them a savory and satisfying flavor that’s sure to please. They’re also high in protein, low in fat, and easy to make with simple ingredients.
I hope you give this recipe a try and enjoy it as much as I do. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. And don’t forget to share this recipe with your friends and family who are looking for a tasty and healthy meatball alternative!
Baked Chickpea Meatballs (Vegan)
- Food processor
- 800 g canned chickpeas
- 1/2 brown onion roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp aquafaba
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2/3 cup breadcrumbs
Spices and herbs
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
- Drain chickpeas and reserve some aquafaba (about 1/4 cup). Rinse chickpeas.
- Add chickpeas, onion, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, olive oil and aquafaba to a food processor. Blitz for 1 minute, then add spices and herbs and blitz for a further 30 seconds until combined and mixture is smooth.
- Transfer to a large mixing bowl, mix in flour and breadcrumbs until it forms a dough. You may want to use your hands to get everything well combined. Add a pinch more breadcrumbs or flour if the mixture feels a little too soft.
- Roll into small meatball-sized balls and place onto a lined baking tray. Place in the freezer for 20 minutes to firm up, then bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown, turning halfway through so they cook evenly.
- Serve meatballs on top of red pasta sauce, spaghetti and paired with a big leafy salad.