These meatless, gluten-free meatballs are SO crispy, they will blow your mind! Serve them with an easy tomato sauce for a tasty, healthy dinner!
YEP, a MEATLESS meatballs recipe.
Regardless of what you’re thinking or your current thoughts on how Mondays are NOT your favorite, I PINKY PROMISE that it’s going to make you RLY RLY excited about it being Meatless Monday. It MIGHT even become your new favorite day of the week.
BOLD STATEMENT? Yep. But this vegan meatball recipe is PREPARED to jump in and make it true.
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Chickpeas are PACKED with plant protein and fiber (two things I am really trying to focus on getting more of in my diet)
- They are super versatile. You can make anything from creamy chickpea curry to vegan chickpea cookie dough bowls.
- They’re a little nutty, a little salty and have this somewhat grainy texture that is actually SO good with other ingredients.
For The Meatballs:
- 1 jar chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tsp sea salt
- pinch of pepper
- 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup onion, roughly chopped
- 1/2 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
- 6 tbsp gluten-free/vegan Italian seasoned panko
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
- cooking spray
For The Sauce:
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, diced
- 1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
- 1 jar diced tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- pinch of pepper
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
- zoodles, spaghetti squash, or noodles, for serving
How to make vegan meatballs
Making these gluten-free vegan chickpea meatballs is actually very easy and requires only a few simple, pantry-essential kind of ingredients.
- Drain and rinse your chickpeas. Then, rub all the thin, papery skin off them. Is that annoying? YEP. But does it make your meatballs have EPIC texture? SURE DOES.
- Add them into a food processor with seasonings and apple sauce. <– This is for binding and I PROMISE it doesn’t make your meatballs taste like apple pie. That would be weird.
- Sautee up some garlic and onion until golden brown. Low and slow is key here. If you burn this, it will give your meatballs a bitter, not-so-yummy taste.
- Blend it all up and then stir in your parsley (for the FRESH) and some panko, which makes the outside of these meatless bites of BLISS so crunch-a-rifici and golden brown.
Then it’s ALL ABOUT the tomato saucey goodness that your finished meatballs get to take a little swim in, wrapping themselves in this garlicky, seasoned yumminess that has JUST the right pop of natural sweetness and acidity.
They’re where meatless Monday is AT.
Tips & Tricks On How To Make Delicious Chickpea Meatballs
- Use garlic, onion, herbs, and spices to bring out the flavor of the meatballs to your preference.
- The meatballs should be evenly browned on the outside. Cooking properly to achieve this will help to seal in the flavors and moisture, and make them slightly crispy.
- Use a meat thermometer to ensure the meatballs achieve the right temperature. Undercooked meatballs can be a health hazard; overcooked meatballs will be dry and tough.
- I recommend serving the meatballs with a delicious sauce or gravy, such as marinara or a creamy white sauce. The sauce will bring added flavor and moisture should you feel they need them.
- Experiment with different types of chickpeas — black chickpeas, for instance, are delicious and would suit the recipe. Or go crazy and mix different types of chickpeas together. Play around with the ratio until you find one that suits your taste buds.
What can I serve with chickpea meatballs?
Chickpea meatballs are lovely and versatile, so you have numerous options when choosing which food to pair it with. Some possible options:
- Pasta: Good ol’ pasta and meatballs. It’s a classic for a reason. Easy to prepare and easy to personalize, given the plethora of veggies and sauces you can add to the dish.
- Salad: A healthier option would be to mount the meatballs upon a fresh green salad, along with your favorite vegetables and dressing. Depending on the size of your salad (and meatballs, I suppose), this can double as a snack or a meal.
- Rice: Looking for something more substantial? Go the rice route, serving the chickpea meatballs over a bed of rice. Then add some vegetables and sauce for a filling meal.
- Wraps: You can include chickpea meatballs as the main ingredient in a tortilla or pita bread, along with your favorite vegetables and sauce. Ideal for lunch.
- Soups: If it’s winter where you are, might I suggest adding the Chickpea meatballs to soups and stews, such as minestrone or lentil soup. Totally satisfying and a healthy addition to your soup.
Are chickpea meatballs vegan?
Yes, these chickpea meatballs are vegan, as I only use chickpeas, herbs, and spices, without any animal products. Chickpeas are a go-to for many vegans, as they are a legume that contains protein and fiber.
Are chickpea meatballs keto-friendly?
Chickpea meatballs can be made keto-friendly by using a low-carb binding agent in place of breadcrumbs or the applesauce I use for this recipe, and by serving them with low-carb vegetables and sauces. However, chickpeas themselves are not considered to be keto-friendly, as they are high in carbohydrates. If you are following a strict keto diet, it is best to limit your consumption of chickpeas and focus on other sources of protein and healthy fats.
How Do I Store Chickpea Meatballs
You can keep the meatballs in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can also freeze them in a freezer-safe container for up to a few months. To reheat the meatballs, place them in a pan with a small amount of water or sauce and heat them over medium heat covered. The microwave or oven is also an option.
Other Recipes You Might Like:
For the meatballs:
- 1 Jar Jovial Food Chickpeas, Drained and rinsed
- 1/4 Cup Unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tsp Sea salt
- Pinch of pepper
- 2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
- 3/4 Cup Onion, roughly chopped
- 1/2 Tbsp Fresh garlic, minced
- 6 Tbsp Gluten Free/Vegan Italian Seasoned Panko
- 2 Tbsp Fresh parsley, minced
- Cooking spray
To make the meatballs:
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Spread the drained and rinsed chickpeas until a paper towel and gently dry them off. Gently rub the thin, papery skins off each one and place into a SMALL food processor (mine is 3 cups.) along with the applesauce, salt and pepper.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan on medium heat. Cook the onion until it begins to soften and brown, about 4 minutes. Add in the garlic and lower the temperature to medium/low. Cook, stirring constantly until golden brown, about 1 minute.
- Add the onion mixture into the food processor and blend until totally smooth and combined, stopping to scrape the sides as necessary.
- Transfer to a bowl and stir in the panko and parsley. Use a cookie scoop to form 16 1 Tbsp sized balls and place onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Spray generously with cooking spray and bake for 14 minutes. Spray again and bake another 13-14 minutes, until crispy and golden brown.
To make the sauce:
- While the “meatballs” cook, heat the oil in a large, high-sided pan with a lid on medium hear. Add in the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is golden brown and soft, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add in the tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Boil, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
- Reduce the heat to medium/low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, uncover and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the liquid just begins to evaporate. Stir in the parsley.
- Stir the “meatballs” into the sauce and serve over your noodles of choice. *
Tips & Notes:
Recipes written and produced on Food Faith Fitness are for informational purposes only.
WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS PER SERVING: FREESTYLE POINTS: 3 POINTS+: 5 . OLD POINTS:4
(per 1/4 of the recipe)
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