I’ve been a vegetarian officially for more than two years. But even before making it “official”, I wasn’t eating meat so much. Instead, I liked and ate vegetarian “meatballs”. The recipe here is of one such kind of balls, and it’s one of my favourites.
Using beans in vegetarian balls is something I do and like a lot. Beans make the veggie balls more filling and add more plant-based protein. I usually do not make the beans completely pureed and leave some relatively larger pieces to give the balls a nice texture.
One other thing I like about most of these vegetarian/vegan balls is how easy they are to make. Especially if you buy your beans cooked, all you need to do is put ingredients in a food processor and then maybe add one or two extra ingredients after that. And then you’re done!
I like baking my veggie balls instead of frying them. But before I eat them, whether they are freshly baked or leftovers, I put them on a pan with a tiny bit of olive oil to make the outer surface more crispy. And this is what I highly recommend for this recipe as well.
I hope you like my balls! oops…!
(makes 40-42 balls)
2 cans of cooked chickpeas, drained and washed (each can has 230 gr net weight)
1.5 dl (or 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp or 100 gr) chopped sun-dried tomatoes
15 large basil leaves
3 garlic cloves, mashed
1 heaped tsp dried oregano
2 tsp red pepper flakes (add more if you want it spicier)
1.5 tsp salt
2 dl (or 3/4 cup + 4 tsp or 80 gr) grated parmesan
2 dl (or 3/4 cup + 4 tsp or 110 gr) breadcrumbs (I used gluten-free) and more if needed
- Preheat the oven to 200C. Put a baking paper on an oven tray (or two trays, up to you: I bake all the balls in one batch, but you may need to prepare more than one tray if your oven is smaller).
- In a food processor, put all the ingredients except parmesan and breadcrumbs and process until all ingredients are mixed well. You can leave some of the chickpeas in larger pieces to give the balls a nice texture.
3. Transfer the mixture into a bowl, add parmesan and breadcrumbs and then fold until you have a uniform mixture. If the mixture is too sticky and soft, and cannot be made into balls, gradually add a bit more breadcrumbs until you have the desired texture and hardness.
4. Take about a tablespoon from the mixture (or about small walnut size) and turn it into a ball. Put all the balls on the prepared oven tray(s). The balls will not expand, and they shouldn’t be too sticky, so you can put them very close to each other. Bake them in the oven for 25 minutes and then let them cool for about 5 minutes before eating.
5. If you wish (and I highly recommend this step), cool the baked balls a lot longer (at least 20 minutes) and then slightly “fry” them on a pan with just a bit of oil (as in the last step of this recipe). This will give a crispier surface, and it will be much tastier to eat. For a light but nutritious lunch or dinner, just have a light salad with the balls. Enjoy!