I’ve been looking for a while for some really tasty Meatballs which can be Vegetarian or Vegan with just a few adjustments. These are by far the nicest I’ve made. Let me know what you think. Enjoy!
Makes about 15 meatballs
1 egg ( or if Vegan – flax egg (1 Tbsp (7 g) flax seed meal + 2.5 Tbsp ( ml) water)
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided, plus more for sautéing
3 cloves garlic , minced
20g panko bread crumbs ( I just use ordinary bread and whizz it in the food processor )
20 g fresh basil, chopped
30g chopped sun-dried tomatoes
20g parmesan cheese, plus more for topping ( omit if vegan )
pinch each sea salt and red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
1 Tbsp dried oregano (or 2 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped)
425 g chickpeas, drained, rinsed and dried
For the meatball coating :
2 Tbsp (10 g) vegan parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp (12 g) panko bread crumbs
Preheat oven to 190c degrees and , if using, prepare flax egg in your food processor or high speed blender.
Heat a large metal or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp (15 ml) olive oil and minced garlic. Sauté until slightly browned, stirring often – about 3 minutes.
Remove from heat and cool slightly, then add to food processor or blender with egg or the flax egg.
Next add bread crumbs, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan cheese, salt + red pepper flakes, dried oregano, and 1 Tbsp olive oil . Pulse/blend until small bits remain, scraping down sides as needed.
Next add rinsed/dried chickpeas and blend/pulse until a “dough” is formed, scraping down sides as needed. You don’t want the chickpeas to turn into a paste, but you also don’t want any left whole.
Scoop out rounded 1 Tbsp amounts of dough and gently form/roll into balls – about 15 total. Then roll in additional parmesan cheese-bread crumb mixture to coat.
Heat the same skillet you used earlier over medium heat. Once hot, add enough olive oil to form a thin layer on the bottom of the skillet (about 2 Tbsp), then add meatballs in two batches, as to not crowd the pan. Add more oil as needed.
Brown for about 5 minutes total, shaking the pan to roll them around to brown all sides. Turn down heat slightly if browning too quickly.
Add sautéed meatballs to a bare baking sheet and transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.
At this time, prep any pasta you want to serve with your meatballs, as well as your favorite marinara sauce . I used spaghetti and made a sauce with a tin of chopped tomatos& passata. Cook it on a low heat for about 20 minutes and it thickens up nicely.
Once meatballs are golden brown and fairly firm to the touch, remove from oven. Let cool briefly before serving. They will firm up the longer they cool.
To serve, top cooked pasta with marinara sauce and desired number of meatballs. Top with another sprinkle of vegan parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
Leftover meatballs will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, though best when fresh. Reheat in a 350 degree F oven until warmed through, or in the microwave.
To freeze, sauté meatballs as instructed, then transfer to a baking sheet and freeze until completely firm. Then transfer to a freezer safe bag or airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 1 month. Reheat in a 190 degree c oven until completely warmed through.