I’ve been trying super hard to reduce my meat intake as I’m slowly moving over to eating solely plant based and it’s been honestly very fun/challenging getting to mess around in the kitchen while on a budget. These chickpea “meatballs” are so good especially accompanied with the tomato sauce that I find myself making them very often. Check it out! All of the ingredients can really be interchanged as you please, get creative, but I will provide you with the premise of it all so you can do the same!
1/2 Cup Rice (cooked)
1 Can Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans
1 Can Diced Tomatoes
Red Pepper Flakes
Parsley (Fresh or Dry)
Sesame Seeds (For Texture)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
If you’re like me, you probably don’t have any cooked rice at your disposition, in that case, cook the rice while you prepare everything else. We won’t need it until it comes to actually forming the “meatballs.”
I start by rinsing off the chickpeas with a strainer and some running water and then proceed to empty them onto a mixing bowl to season with all of the spices. I know, what are the measurements for each spice?! Honestly, add as much as you think is fit, I’ve gotten to a point where I just eyeball it, but if you insist on knowing measurements I would do 1 teaspoon of each. Except for salt, season generously to taste. Once you’ve added all the spices mix it all up until your chickpeas are evenly coated and just put them aside for now. Next up we work on the tomato sauce.
For the tomato sauce you’ll for sure have extra, which is a good thing because it’s always good to have some laying around in case a pasta craving comes along, or you know, you get hooked on these “meatballs” like me.
Mince up some garlic (2-3 Cloves, can’t ever have enough garlic) and sauté it in some olive oil until it browns, don’t let it burn. Add in your diced tomatoes and bring it to a simmer. Once it’s simmering and bubbling I like to go ahead and spice it up to taste with some black pepper, salt, oregano, Italian seasoning, parsley, etc. Let it simmer for ten minutes (make sure to taste test that it’s flavored to your liking) and while it’s simmering I like to go in with a fork and press down on the tomato chunks, this is important as you will see your sauce consistency change. Once your sauce is looking bright red and delicious, put it aside for serving with the “meatballs” later.
By now, your rice should be cooked and ready and we can continue with the “meatballs.” In a sauce pan add some olive oil, minced garlic (1-2 Cloves) and let it sauté until browned. Add in your chickpea mixture and cook for a few minutes until they start to brown (or test a chickpea, I personally know they’re ready when they don’t taste grainy.) Add your rice to the mixture and incorporate it all. Remove mixture and place in bowl to cool off.
Once the mixture is cooled down we are ready to form these “meatballs!” Depending on how big you want your “meatballs” will determine how much to get and roll into the shape. It helps if you squeeze the mixture almost like dough to help it all stay together. Usually yields about 12.
Once you have your “meatballs” formed and ready, use a deeper pan to fry them on every side. I usually just drizzle a bit of olive oil, and cook each ball for a minute or two or until golden. Plate them in a bowl or plate with the tomato sauce and enjoy!
Let me know how you guys like it! I’d love to hear some feedback. Always looking for new fun recipes to try so cannot wait to share with you all!