Few comfort foods satisfy like a hearty bowl of spaghetti and meatballs. Now, my vegan friends, you TOO can enjoy this comfort sans guilt! These chickpea based meatballs pack tons of flavor, come together quickly, and even provide a good amount of protein and fiber. Here’s why we think our vegan meatballs are the best:
Lots of vegan recipes call for making a “flax egg”, which is basically a stand-in for eggs. Don’t get us wrong, sometimes a flax egg is the best option. Unfortunately, flax seeds can have a fishy aftertaste—NOT a flavor you want in a dish that should taste, well, beefy. We’ve found that chia seeds soaked in water give us a similar effect, but without the aftertaste. Plus, chia seeds are rich in antioxidants, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids, benefits you’d never get from an actual meatball.
Once baked, these balls have a near-perfect texture. Not at all mushy on the inside, and perfectly firm and almost crisp on the outside. Toss them in your favorite sauce, stuff them into a meatball sub, or even serve them on top of a salad! They’re sturdy enough for any application, making them ideal repurposed leftovers or for meal prepping.
A Special Secret Ingredient
Any guesses? Fennel seeds! Don’t sleep on ’em! These little guys will give you that familiar meaty flavor. They’re smoky and savory and they make these meatballs EXTRA addictive—don’t skip!
Yields: 3 – 4 servings
Prep Time: 0 hours 10 mins
Total Time: 0 hours 45 mins
Cooking spray, for pan
2 c. canned chickpeas
2 1/2 tbsp. chia seeds
6 tbsp. water
1/2 c. rolled oats
1 1/2 tbsp. tomato paste
3 tbsp. chopped basil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. fennel seeds
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425°, then line a medium baking sheet with aluminum foil and grease with cooking spray.
Drain chickpeas, reserving liquid. Transfer chickpeas to a food processor and process until broken down.
Make chia egg: Combine chia seeds and water in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Let sit 5 minutes, until mixture gels and becomes thick.
Add chia egg, oats, tomato paste, basil, garlic, fennel seeds, and red pepper flakes into the food processor and blend until combined. If mixture is too dry, add liquid from chickpea can 1 tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. Season with salt and pepper.
Form mixture into 16 meatballs and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, flip meatballs, and bake 8 to 10 minutes more, until golden and crisp. Serve with your favorite pasta and sauce.