These meatballs are exploding with flavor! This recipe is a great option for vegetarians because they contain protein from the chickpeas and the ingredients are versatile. For this lesson, there are three different styles: curry, Italian, and Greek. Within each style, we included suggested veggies you can use for the recipe but it is entirely up to you. We encourage making the sides to compliment the dish: mango chutney, pesto, or tzatziki depending on which version you create. This is a recipe you can make with the whole family while exploring a variety of flavors.
Adaptable Chickpea Meatballs
Adapted from Food and Wine
1 1/2 cups chickpeas (equivalent to one can of beans, drained)
½ cup onion, diced
1-3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups diced vegetables
1 cup to 1 1/2 cups dry ingredient (the amount needed depends on the consistency of the other ingredients)
1/2 cup texture ingredient
2 tablespoons oil for sautéing the onions and garlic
3 tablespoons liquid flavorings
4 teaspoons seasoning, such as an herb and spice blend
Salt to taste (the amount needed depends on the saltiness of other ingredients)
1 to 2 eggs
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the minced onion, diced vegetables, and seasoning. Sauté until the onions are soft and golden.
- Add the minced garlic and sauté for a couple more minutes.
- Transfer the cooked ingredients to the food processor. Add the base and liquid flavorings, and pulse just until everything is combined, but not puréed. Most people prefer chunkier meatballs.
- Add the texture ingredient. Pulse until just combined.
- Add 1 cup of the dry ingredient. Pulse until just combined.
- Taste the batter; add salt as needed, probably 1/2 to 1 teaspoon, depending on the saltiness of the other ingredients. Pulse until just combined.
- Lightly coat your hands in oil to keep the batter from sticking. Try to form a meatball. The consistency will vary slightly depending on the ingredients, and some adjustment may be necessary.
- If the batter is too wet to mold, add more of the dry ingredient. If the batter is too dry, add a little water or oil. If the meatball doesn’t hold together, add one or two eggs or an equivalent amount of an alternative binding ingredient. (Eggs make meatballs more dense and spongy. Since most people prefer light, airy meatballs, it’s best to use the least number of eggs needed to bind everything together.4)
- Form the meatballs. The size comes down to preference. Consider how you will serve them. For soups or curries, bite-size balls are usually best. For spaghetti and appetizer skewers, larger golf ball-size balls are often preferred.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Flip meatballs halfway through. Serve with corresponding accompaniments.