Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sweet and Sour Chickpea Balls

I am just obsessed with chickpeas.  They taste great and are so versatile.  And, since I am not a big "faux meat" type I find that for me they are the best meat substitute. I have done "crab cakes", "tuna salad" and a variety of other things with chick peas, but until now, not a "meat ball".  I actually saw a young fourteen yoear old girl "The Veggie Chef" make a very similar ball out of chickpeas and she inspired me to make these. How great is that!?!

They held together really well. The flavor was good, though next time I think I will increase the spice in them as they were just a little bland.  For this dish, that is OK since the sauce has a some serious flavor.

This is a definite keeper. I will do these for spaghetti and "meatballs", "meatball sandwiches" and who knows what else. I think by adjusting the seasoning according to your dish these will go a long way.  And, though I baked them I think they would be excellent done in a frying pan with some oil to get a nice crispy outside.

Enjoy and happy chickpeas!

Sweet and Sour Chickpea Balls

For the chickpea balls:
1 15 oz can chickpeas drained and rinsed
1 stalk celery finely minced
2 green onions minced (white and light green parts only)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
Salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce:
4 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3 green onions minced (white and light green parts only)
2/3 cup apricot preserves
6 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp hot sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

To prepare the chickpea balls pulse the chickpeas in a food processor until smooth but not completely pureed.  Add the celery, onion, whole wheat flour, salt and pepper.  Form the mixture into small balls and place them on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake for 30 minutes turning once during the process.

To prepare the sauce mix all ingredients and pulse until smooth in a food processor.  Transfer the mixture to a small sauce pan and heat over low heat. Once heated through add the meatballs and coat them in the sauce. Remove the meatballs from the pan and serve.  These make a nice appetizer type dish and can be eaten easily with a toothpick.


  1. Looks good! Do you have a gluten free option instead of the flour? Do you think corn starch would work?

  2. Lidia, I am not an experienced gluten free cook at all. I am thinking perhaps rice flour might work? Or maybe gluten free bread crumbs? Instead of corn starch what about corn meal? I wish I could be of more help. Let me know if you try any of those and if they work!

  3. These look so good and I can't wait to make them. Thanks, Lee!!!

  4. These look tasty and I was considering using besan (chickpea flour) to make them gluten free, so that's another option for you.

  5. Made for supper tonight - I sauteed/steamed some sliced onion, red pepper, green pepper & carrot 'til crisp tender and added to sauce and meatballs to make a lovely sweet & sour main dish over quinoa. We decided we could use these balls as the protein in a coconut curry, swedish "meat" balls (with vegan sour "cream"), and with spaghetti, among other things.

  6. Hi there! I am acually the "VeggieChef's" mom and we LOVE these chickpea meatballs! I LOVE the sauce idea and Kelsey ( the would LOVE to hear that you were inspired by her recipe!

  7. Please give Kelsey a big THANK YOU!! They are wonderful and she is an inspiration!! Keep it up Kelsey!!

  8. This looks really good! I too love chickpeas and am always looking for ways to use them. Can you tell me how many balls this made? (though I suppose that depends on how big they are!).

    1. Thank you! I want to say this made somewhere around ten to twelve. Next time I make this I will have to count!