Monday, July 16, 2012

Chickpea Meatless Balls

 This is a yummy and healthy alternative to the traditional spaghetti and meatballs.

Put 2 slices of whole wheat toast, a pinch of salt, and a liberal sprinkle of Italian herbs in the food processor. Blend until bread crumbs are produced. (You could use packaged crumbs, but why, when this is cheaper, healthier, and takes 15 seconds.) Pour crumbs into bowl.

Put 2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained, (save the water) in the food processor and blend until a crumbly texture is achieved. Combine with bread crumbs, mix well. 

Add 2 Ener-G egg replacers or 2 beaten eggs to the mix, mix well.

Place entire contents back into the food processor, add water from  chickpeas a tbsp at a time while blending until a thick paste is formed. (Err on the side of less water, if it becomes liquidy all hope is lost.)

Form the paste into meatball-sized balls.

In a large saucepan, saute 1 onion and 1 garlic clove in olive oil until soft. Add the remaining water from the chickpeas, a quarter cup ketchup*, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, another generous sprinkle of Italian herbs, and a tbsp of nutritional yeast**. Stir well, then drop the balls in carefully. They should be about half covered, if there is too little gravy add a bit more water.

Simmer on low heat for about 25 min. Periodically gently turn the balls over with a spoon. They are not going to become hard, but should somewhat congeal.

Serve over pasta or alone.

*This is a recipe which as far as I know was invented by my father, who due to having lived through WWII has certain poverty foods he is attached to, such as pasta sauce made with ketchup and baked beans on toast. Having grown up eating these dishes made by him, there is a comfort-food factor in the flavor of a ketchup-based sauce for me. If you find the idea of seasoning with ketchup unbearable this dish would probably also be fine if the balls were cooked in tomato sauce.

** Nutritional yeast, which is not used in my father's version, gives the sauce a rich, cheesy flavor and is also chock-full of Vitamin B12.


  1. Love the chickpea idea. I have never heard of Ener G egg replacers? I bet my homemade tomato sauce would be delish with the chickpea balls! Coming from a Sicilian background I can't fathom the idea of ketchup as a sauce (not gravy) ;o) Maureen

  2. Fab issued with chichpea. It sounds darn appetizing and tasty. Garlic and tomato sauce just can flavour chickpea balls. Thanks for nice sharing.