Moroccan Chickpea ‘Meatballs’
Moroccan Chickpea ‘Meatballs’- packed full of flavor and protein, this creative plant-based meal will keep you coming back for more!
If you’ve been following my blog for a while then you know how much I love making chickpea balls. It all started with these Vegan Zucchini ‘Meatballs’ which have become one of the most popular recipes on my site.
From there I’ve continued to experiment with different flavor variations including these Thai Red Curry Chickpea ‘Meatballs’ and these Vegan Mediterranean Chickpea ‘Meatballs’. Clearly it was only a matter of time until I developed a Moroccan-inspired version.
Obviously chickpea ‘meatballs’ have nothing to do with Moroccan cuisine, however the blend of spices and the fact that they’re served in a rich tomato sauce on a bed of fluffy of couscous comes close enough.
Ingredients and Substitutions
If you’ve made any of my other chickpea ‘meatballs’ then you’ll find this ingredient list to be fairly similar minus a few different veggies and spices. Let’s a take a look at what you’ll need:
- Chickpeas- Even though you could probably substitute a different kind of legume (such as white beans), I like chickpeas the best for their texture. Not only do they bind really well but they maintain firmness to prevent mushiness. Because nobody likes mush.
- Rolled Oats- Oats act as breadcrumbs in this recipe, providing texture and absorbing moisture. If you don’t have rolled oats you can use equal amounts flour or breadcrumbs in their place.
- Fresh Ginger and Garlic- I like to use fresh ginger and garlic for their potency and also because that’s what’s frequently used in Moroccan cuisine. I highly recommend fresh if possible but dried ginger and garlic powder will work in a pinch.
- Carrot and Onion- Both of these vegetables add flavor and texture to the ‘meatballs’. I wouldn’t recommend substituting them.
- Cumin, Smoked Paprika, Coriander and Cinnamon- This blend of spices is what gives the recipe it’s Moroccan-inspired flair. I use just a pinch of cinnamon because I’m not a huge fan of it in savory dishes. That said, feel free to add more or leave it out if you prefer.
- Fresh Parsley- I love the earthiness and health benefits that fresh parsley adds to this dish but it’s not entirely necessary if you don’t have any on hand.
For this recipe I recommend a food processor, a large mixing bowl, and a baking sheet.
Technically you could make them without a food processor by chopping the vegetables *very* finely and mashing the chickpeas by hand, but the texture is so much better with the help of a food processor. Not to mention the fact that it will save you a lot of time and effort spent chopping vegetables.
How to Make Chickpea ‘Meatballs’
If you’re using a food processor then it does most of the work for you. You simply throw all of the ingredients for the balls inside, pulse until finely chopped then transfer to a large bowl with the spices. Mix everything together, shape into balls and bake until firm.
While they’re baking you make the sauce by sautéing onion and garlic with crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and spices. Super quick and easy! Then you just serve over couscous and dinner is good to go.
This recipe makes about 16 balls which comes out to about four servings (4 balls per person). Of course this could serve more or less people depending on how many balls you can eat. :)
How to Freeze Chickpea ‘Meatballs’
If you have some leftover, store them in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can reheat them in the microwave or on the stovetop with a bit of oil.
OR if you know that you will have leftovers and want to freeze them, (prior to baking) simply place them in a container or bag with parchment paper or foil lined between the balls to prevent sticking. Seal it shut and freeze for up 3 months. Then you can bake them from frozen at the same temperature, increasing the cook time by 5-10 minutes.
Moroccan Chickpea 'Meatballs'
For the Chickpea 'Meatballs'
- 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ½ red onion, roughly chopped
- 2 large carrots, peeled and rough chopped
- 3 garlic cloves
- ½ inch fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
- handful fresh parlsey
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- pinch of ground cinnamon
- 2 cups cooked couscous for serving
For the Tomato Sauce
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ red onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 15 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- In a food processor, add the oats, garlic, ginger, parsley, onion and carrot and pulse for 10 seconds, or until finely chopped. Next add the chickpeas then continue to pulse for another 15 seconds, until the chickpeas are finely chopped. You may have to scrape the sides in between pulsing to help everything blend evenly. The mixture should hold together when pressed between your fingers. If it doesn’t try pulsing it a few more times. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl along with the spices and salt.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F then line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Using a scooper (or your hands), scoop out approximately 1 heaping tablespoon of the mixture at a time. Use your hands to roll into individual balls, placing them a few inches apart. You should have about 16 by the time you’re done. Bake them in oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until light brown on the edges.
- Meanwhile, prepare the tomato sauce. In a large skillet, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, paprika, and cumin. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, until sauce is slightly thickened.
- When the balls are done baking, serve warm over cooked couscous topped with sauce and enjoy!
I’m with you on making veg meatballs.. I just made zucchini meatballs last week! They’re such a fun addition to pasta night. I dig the Moroccan twist you put on this recipe… and always yes to fresh ginger and garlic!
This looks like a great recipe. I use my Instant pot to cook dried chickpeas which I can use for this recipe.
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What a delicious recipe!!! I made this last week and my family adored it. It was something different than we usually had and I loved switching it up! I served it over couscous like recommended and it was such a filling dinner. Thank you I will definitely be making this again!
Can I use fresh chickpeas?
Yes, so long as they are cooked and the weight is equivalent to the amount in the recipe :)