Growing up, spaghetti was my all time favorite meal. What could be better than a huge plate of pasta, meatballs, tomato sauce, and parmesan cheese? Even since becoming a vegetarian, spaghetti (sans meatballs) is still very high up on my list of favorites. It’s such an easy, hearty, and inexpensive weeknight meal. I love spaghetti plain, but sometimes you are just craving “meatballs.” I’m not very into using commercial/packaged/processed meat substitutes that have an ingredients list a mile long. I figured the best way to enjoy “meatballs” was to make them myself. I came across a recipe for vegetarian meatballs a few years ago and gave them a shot, not really expecting much from them. I was absolutely blown away by this recipe. I tweaked it a tiny bit to my taste, but it’s basically the same as the original. This recipe uses chickpeas as the base for the “meatballs.” Baking them in the oven gives them a really nice crunchy outer layer and a soft middle, just like a traditional meatball. They contain less fat and calories than meatballs, but still have a good amount of protein. I served these meatballs with red sauce over spaghetti squash, but feel free to serve over whole wheat pasta, gluten free pasta, or in sub rolls. This recipe can easily be made gluten-free by subbing gluten-free breadcrumbs.
Active Time: 10 minutes Total Time: 35 minutes
1 can chickpeas, rinsed
½ sweet onion
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup plain breadcrumbs
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
3 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 garlic glove, minced
¼ cup fresh parsley, or about 1 tbsp dried
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with nonstick foil. Thoroughly mash chickpeas in a large bowl with a potato masher or fork until no whole beans are visible. Combine all remaining ingredients. Roll 2 tbsp of bean mixture into a ball and place on baking sheet (feel free to add additional breadcrumbs if mixture is not binding.) Continue with the rest of the mixture. Bake in preheated oven 20-25 minutes, or until slightly golden and firm. Be careful not to overbake, as they will dry out. Serve with your favorite tomato sauce over spaghetti squash, pasta, or in sub rolls. Top with parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
Nutrition Information per serving (3 “meatballs”):
Calories: 171 Fat: 5g Carbs: 24g Protein: 9g Sodium: 503mg Sugar: 5g
*Nutrition information is based on the products I used personally in this recipe. Different products may yield slightly different information.
Source: Vegetarian Meatballs