Prep time: 15 mins | Meatball baking time: 30 mins | Cook time: 15 mins | Total time: 1 hr | Yield: 6 SERVINGS
These are the best vegan chickpea meatballs smothered in a mouthwatering creamy roasted red pepper sauce. Very comforting and a great vegan or gluten-free dinner option!
Chickpea Meatballs (makes 24 large meatballs):
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 c. cooked brown rice or other grain, cold or room temperature
1 c. pecans
30 ounces can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (3 c. cooked)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried basil
1/2 c. nutritional yeast
1/4 c. bread crumbs (can substitute gluten-free), if needed
2 teaspoons salt
freshly ground black pepper
Roasted Red Pepper Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 roasted red peppers (1 1/2 c.)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
15 ounces can of coconut milk
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
basil or parsley to garnish
pinch of crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon salt
lots of freshly ground black pepper
How to make Vegan Chickpea Meatballs in Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Step 1: Place the cooked brown rice, pecans, and garlic in a food processor. Pulse until finely ground. Then, add the chickpeas, reserving half a cup followed by the nutritional yeast, tomato paste, olive oil, basil, salt, and black pepper. Process again until you have a thick mixture that holds its shape. If the mixture is soft, add the breadcrumbs. Next, add the remaining chickpeas and pulse again until coarsely chopped.
Step 2: Prepare the oven. Preheat it to 375 degrees C.
Step 3: Into balls, form the mixture using about 2 to 2 1/2 tbsp per ball. I use a cookie scoop to make work more quickly. Make sure to press the mixture as you roll.
Step 4: On a greased baking tray, place the meatballs and drizzle with oil. Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes, flipping the meatballs halfway for more even baking. Remove the meatballs from the oven when done, and allow them to cool a little. You can also make these meatballs ahead and simply keep them in the fridge.
Step 5: Place all the roasted red pepper sauce ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth.
Step 6: Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium heat. Then, add the chickpea meatballs and cook for another 5 minutes until heated through. If the chickpea meatballs are cold, cook them for about 10 minutes.
Step 7: Serve the Vegan Chickpea Meatballs in Roasted Red Pepper Sauce warm, garnished with some fresh herbs, black pepper, and some vegan Parmesan (optional). Enjoy!
If using a smaller food processor or the mixture ends up too thick, simply take the nut and rice mixture out before processing the chickpeas. Add them to the mixture and mix with a fork, by hand, or using a potato masher.
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