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Chickpea Basil & Sun Dried Tomato Falafel ‘Meatballs’

 

Chickpea Basil Sun dried Tomato Falafel Meatballs Karen Sievwright

There are very few meat dishes I miss since becoming a vegetarian.

Yet, there are times I can feel the Kryptonite of all vegetarians calling me… also known as bacon.

Sadly, I remember how much my tummy hurts when I eat it, and I get over the craving quickly.

I can honestly say, even when I was eating the odd bit of meat, things like meatballs didn’t appeal to me. Putting ground beef in any pasta dish was always a turn off.

But I get how for most people, having spaghetti and meatballs is the normal thing to do and pretty much a classic supper dish.

Believe it or not, vegetarians don’t live on salad.

It’s frustrating to go to a restaurant and stare at a menu in hopes of finding a hot dish.

I’ve been to so many places where I have asked what the vegetarian options are, and I’m told “we have salad”.

Sometimes I get really lucky and they proudly say, we can put marinara sauce on some noodles if you’d like.  Noodles and tomato sauce! Now that’s worth going out and paying for dinner, right? (yes… insert sarcasm)

Don’t get me wrong, there are many amazing restaurants that have fantastic vegetarian and vegan options, but it can be very challenging to find places that think outside the salad or tomato sauce. Sometimes the only hot food I can get is french fries… yea! (that would be another insert of sarcasm)

At the same time, I don’t go to a steak house and expect it to be a go to place for me. I respect that at a specialty place such as this, I may be eating salad, but I am aware of this prior to going. To me this is like asking for steak at a vegan restaurant. If you’re going to a specialty place, that’s their niche.

So even though, I was never a fan of the traditional meatball, I had a craving for spaghetti and decided to find a vegetarian meatball recipe.

This recipe was so simple to make, and if you’re vegan, it could easily be adjusted.

My 10-year old daughter and I made these, and with the exception of chopping the sun dried tomatoes, and supervision with the food processor, she was able to do most of this herself.

My kids are my official taste testers for everything so when they ask for seconds and want to know if there are any left over for tomorrow, you know it’s a good one.

Chickpea Basil & Sun Dried Tomato Falafel ‘Meatballs’

Chickpea Basil Sundried Tomato Falafel Meatballs Karen Sievwright

Chickpea Basil and Sun Dried Tomato Falafel 'Meatballs'
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
By:
Recipe type: Vegetarian
Cuisine: Vegetarian 'Meatballs'
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsps Olive Oil (1 Tbsp for sautéing and 1 Tbsp for blending)
  • 3 cloves garlic – pressed
  • ⅓ cup ground bread crumbs (very fine. I do this in a Nutribullet)
  • 2 Tbsps dried Basil
  • 1 Tbsp dried Oregano
  • ⅓ cup loosely packed sun dried tomatoes (dry, not in oil) – chopped
  • ⅓ cup Parmesan cheese
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 can (15oz) chickpeas – drained, and rinsed
  • 2 Tbsps Parmesan cheese (for coating)
  • 3 Tbsps ground up bread crumbs (for coating)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Heat a large frying pan (I use cast iron) over medium heat. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp of olive oil and crush the garlic into the pan. Sauté until it just begins to brown, and stir often. Depending on your frying pan and the temperature of your stove, this will be between 1-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. You will use the frying pan again so keep it handy!
  3. In a food processor, add ground bread crumbs, basil, oregano, sun dried tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, salt, red pepper flakes, 1 Tbsp olive oil, and the egg. Pulse until there are small bits and stop to scrape down the sides as you go.
  4. Add chickpeas (make sure they are not dripping wet) and sautéed garlic, and pulse/blend until it becomes almost dough like, again scrapping down the sides as needed. The chickpeas should not turn into a paste, but shouldn’t be whole either. You want to be able to pick them up and shape them, yet have texture. If you over blend, you will get mush.
  5. Using a 1 Tbsp measuring spoon (mine is actually rounded so it works well), scoop out about a Tbsp amount of mixture and gently start forming into balls. Depending on the size you make them, you will end up with around 15 falafel balls.
  6. Roll them in the extra mixture of Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs.
  7. Reheat the frying pan over medium heat, and when it’s hot, add enough oil to form a thin layer on the bottom of the pan.
  8. Add the falafel balls to the pan but do not over crowd. If need be, split them into two batches. This depends on the size of your frying pan.
  9. Brown the falafel meatballs for 5 minutes, moving them around so all sides are browned. I gently poked them around with a pair tongs. If needed, add more oil, and watch that they are not burning.
  10. Transfer the falafel balls to a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.
  11. Once done, remove from the oven and let sit until they have a chance to cool. They will firm up even more as they cool down.
  12. Serve on top of your favourite spaghetti and sauce. We use a whole wheat noodle, cooked al dente, and add tons of finely chopped veggies to a tomato pasta sauce.

Recipe inspired by Minimalist Baker.

These would be great even as an appetizer! So good!

If you’re a batch cooker like me, you could easily freeze these. Just prefreeze them on a cookie sheet, then transfer to an airtight container with parchment paper in between the rows. When ready to use, reheat in the oven at 350 degrees until warmed through.

Enjoy!
Karen

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Comments

  1. Falafel is one of my favorite food and this one looks so delicious in those pictures!!! You added so many tasty ingredients to the original recipe. Definitely going to try making it very soon:)

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