Making Chickpea Meatballs: A Vegan-Friendly Alternative

Introduction – Discovering the Delicious Alternative

In every culinary corner, there is room for innovation. Chickpea meatballs are just that – an intriguing, healthy, and vegan-friendly alternative to traditional meat-based meatballs. 

Chickpeas are protein rich

So, What are Chickpea Meatballs?

Consider chickpea meatballs as a tasty testament to the versatility of chickpeas – a protein-rich legume known for its numerous health benefits. Adding this to your cooking repertoire means opening a world of vegan-friendly cuisine that, quite honestly, doesn’t skimp on flavor. 

Step by Step Recipe 

To start, get yourself a can of pre-cooked chickpeas and breadcrumbs. One 14 oz can of Goya’s Chickpeas and 2 cups of Nature’s Path Organic Bread Crumbs should be enough to make about 15 medium-sized meatballs. These products, known for their quality, will give your chickpea meatballs a boost in flavor and texture. 

1. Gather Ingredients From List

  • Chickpeas:
    • 1 can (14 oz) of Goya’s Chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or equivalent amount of cooked chickpeas if starting from dry)
  • Breadcrumbs:
    • 2 cups of Nature’s Path Organic Bread Crumbs (or any preferred breadcrumbs)
  • Seasonings and Spices:
    • 1 teaspoon of McCormick’s Thyme, finely ground
    • ½ teaspoon of La Chinata Smoked Paprika
    • ½ teaspoon of garlic powder (optional for added flavor)
    • 1 teaspoon of onion powder (optional for added flavor)
    • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Binding Ingredients:
    • 1 large egg (or a vegan alternative like 1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal mixed with 2.5 tablespoons of water, if preferred)
    • 2 tablespoons of olive oil (plus extra for cooking)
  • Additional Flavor Enhancers (Optional):
    • 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
    • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
    • ¼ cup finely chopped onion
  • For Serving:
    • Fresh herbs, sauce, or dips as desired

2. Prepare Chickpeas

For Canned Chickpeas:

  • Drain the can of Goya’s Chickpeas in a colander.
  • Rinse thoroughly under cold running water to remove the canning liquid, which reduces the sodium content and any potential metallic taste.
  • Pat the chickpeas dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels. Removing excess moisture is important for achieving the right texture.

For Dried Chickpeas:

  • Soak about ¾ cup of dried chickpeas in water overnight, ensuring they are completely submerged with a few inches of water above them.
  • Drain and rinse the soaked chickpeas.
  • In a pot, cover the chickpeas with fresh water, bringing them to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the chickpeas are tender, which typically takes about 1 to 1.5 hours.
  • Drain and allow them to cool to room temperature.

3. Blending Process

Using the Vitamix Blender:

  • Place the prepared chickpeas in the Vitamix Blender. If you have a large number of chickpeas, you might need to work in batches to ensure even blending.
  • Pulse the chickpeas several times until they are coarsely ground. Avoid over-blending to prevent turning the chickpeas into a paste. The goal is to achieve a crumbly texture that will hold together when formed into meatballs.
  • If the mixture seems too dry or difficult to blend, add a tablespoon of olive oil or water to help it along. However, be cautious not to make the mixture too wet.

Texture Check:

  • The ideal texture of the blended chickpeas should resemble coarse breadcrumbs. It should be moist enough to clump together when pressed but not so wet that it becomes sticky or pasty.
  • If the mixture is too dry, it may not hold together well when forming meatballs. If it’s too wet, the meatballs may become dense and heavy.

4. Mixing Ingredients

After achieving the right consistency with the chickpeas, it’s time to mix in the other ingredients to create a flavorful and cohesive meatball mixture.

Combining the Ingredients:

  • In a large mixing bowl, add the blended chickpeas.
  • Stir in the breadcrumbs, which will help absorb excess moisture and add structure to the meatballs.
  • Add the seasonings: McCormick’s Thyme, La Chinata Smoked Paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. If you’re using optional ingredients like minced garlic, chopped onions, or fresh herbs, add them at this stage.
  • If using an egg or a vegan egg alternative, beat it lightly in a separate bowl and then incorporate it into the mixture. The egg acts as a binding agent to help the meatballs hold their shape.
  • Drizzle in the olive oil and mix everything together until well combined. The oil adds moisture and richness to the meatballs.

Mixing Technique:

  • Use a spoon, spatula, or your hands to mix the ingredients. Ensure that the seasonings are evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
  • The mixture should be uniform in texture and moist enough to hold together. If it feels too dry, add a small amount of water or olive oil. If it’s too wet, add a bit more breadcrumbs.

Taste Test:

  • Before forming the meatballs, taste a small bit of the mixture and adjust the seasoning if necessary. This is particularly important if you are experimenting with additional herbs and spices.

5. Forming Meatballs

Once your mixture is well-combined and seasoned, it’s time to shape them into meatballs. Here’s how to do it:

Shaping the Meatballs:

  • Moisten your hands with a bit of water or olive oil. This prevents the mixture from sticking to your hands.
  • Scoop out a portion of the mixture. A good standard size is about a tablespoon, but you can adjust based on your preference for meatball size.
  • Roll the mixture between your palms to form a ball. Apply gentle pressure to compact the mixture just enough to hold its shape, but avoid over-packing, which can make the meatballs too dense.
  • Place the formed meatballs on a plate or baking sheet. If you’re not cooking them immediately, they can be refrigerated for a short time to firm up.

Size Considerations:

  • Consistency in size ensures even cooking. Use a spoon or a small ice cream scoop for uniformity.
  • Remember that the meatballs will not shrink during cooking like traditional meatballs, so the size you shape them is close to the size they will be when cooked.

Cooking Preparation:

  • If you plan to bake the meatballs, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • For frying, prepare a skillet with a thin layer of oil over medium heat.

Pair Your Chickpea Meatballs

Roasted vegetables are a great accompaniment or even slide them into a sub roll for a satisfying and healthier take on a meatball sub. 

Beneficial For You and The Environment

One little-known fact about chickpeas is their environmental friendliness. Chickpea cultivation, as compared to livestock farming, contributes significantly less to greenhouse gas emissions and demands fewer resources, keeping your meals green and clean. 

Tips for The Perfect Chickpea Meatballs

The secret to achieving the perfect chickpea meatballs lies in the texture of the chickpea mash. A high-performance blender like the Vitamix Blender will ensure a smooth texture. 

Vitamix Blender 

This professional-grade blender can quickly smooth out your chickpeas providing a uniform consistency, a crucial factor in forming your chickpea meatballs. Plus, it’s durable and easy to clean. 

Healthy Vs Traditional 

While traditional meatballs have their place in the kitchen, chickpea meatballs win when it comes to providing plant-based protein, beneficial fiber, and without the high levels of saturated fats and cholesterol synonymous with meat. 

Conclusion – Chickpea Meatballs

With the right choice of ingredients and equipment, you, too, can master the art of making chickpea meatballs. Here’s to discovering new tastes, eating healthy, and supporting sustainability, now in the guise of a delicious, hearty meatball. Get creative and happy cooking!

Products Mentioned In This Article

1. Goya’s Chickpeas

Product Overview: Goya’s Chickpeas are a nutritious and versatile ingredient, essential in many cuisines around the world, including Latin American, Indian, and Middle Eastern dishes. These chickpeas are known for their round shape, smooth and creamy texture once cooked, and an unmistakable nutty flavor.

They are available in both regular and organic low sodium varieties, catering to health-conscious consumers. The chickpeas come pre-cooked and canned, which is convenient for quick meal preparation.

Goya’s commitment to quality ensures that these chickpeas maintain their natural taste and are a favorite for recipes like soups, salads, chilis, stews, and hummus​​​​.

Company Name: Goya Foods

Company Website: Goya Foods

Purchase Link: Goya Chick Peas at Walmart

Price: USD $0.58 for a 10.5 oz can

2. Nature’s Path Organic Bread Crumbs

Product Overview: Nature’s Path Organic Bread Crumbs are made with organic ingredients, free of GMOs and synthetic chemical additives. The company emphasizes sustainable and health-conscious food production. These breadcrumbs are likely to be light and airy, contributing to a perfect crumbly texture for various dishes, though specific details about the breadcrumbs were not found.

Company Name: Nature’s Path

Company Website: Nature’s Path

Purchase Link: Nature’s Path Organic Products at Whole Foods Market or Nature’s Path at Target

Once you crushed the chickpeas and mixed them with breadcrumbs, add some spices to the mix to make the flavor pop. A hint of McCormick’s Thyme and a dash of La Chinata Smoked Paprika will do. 

3. McCormick’s Thyme

Product Overview: McCormick’s Thyme is a seasoning known for its hint of sweetness and a mild floral, minty taste. It’s commonly used in a variety of dishes to add a unique spice and depth of flavor. In the context of chickpea meatballs, McCormick’s Thyme plays a crucial role in enhancing the overall taste profile, contributing to a more savory and aromatic experience.

Company Name: McCormick & Company, Inc.

Company Website: McCormick & Company

Purchase Link: The product can typically be found in grocery stores or online marketplaces. A specific link to purchase McCormick’s Thyme can be found on websites like Amazon or Walmart.

Price: The price of McCormick’s Thyme varies depending on the size and the retailer. As of my last update, it ranged from $3 to $6 for a standard bottle

4. La Chinata Smoked Paprika

Product Overview: La Chinata Smoked Paprika offers a distinct smoky flavor with a mild spiciness, making it an excellent addition to dishes that require a depth of flavor. Particularly in chickpea meatballs, it complements the base ingredient by adding a smoky, rich undertone that elevates the overall taste.

Company Name: La Chinata

Company Website: La Chinata Website

Purchase Link: La Chinata Smoked Paprika can be purchased from gourmet food stores or online. Links for purchasing can be found on sites like Amazon or specialized gourmet food websites.

Price: The price for La Chinata Smoked Paprika varies, but it generally ranges from $5 to $10 for a standard jar, depending on the retailer and location.

5. Vitamix Blender

Description: The Vitamix Blender is a professional-grade kitchen appliance known for its durability and efficiency in blending a variety of ingredients to a smooth consistency. In the preparation of chickpea meatballs, it’s crucial for achieving a uniform texture in the chickpea mixture, which is essential for forming well-structured meatballs.

Company Name: Vitamix

Company Website: Vitamix Website

Purchase Link: Vitamix Blenders are available at various retailers, including kitchen appliance stores and online platforms. A direct purchase link can be found on websites like Amazon, Best Buy, or the official Vitamix website.

Price: The price of Vitamix Blenders varies greatly depending on the model and features, typically ranging from $300 to $600.No dish is complete without a bit of Smoked Paprika from La Chinata, which lends a mild spiciness and smoky flavor that complements the taste of these chickpea meatballs marvelously. 

Staff Writer
+ posts

Leave a Comment