These vegetarian sesame chickpea meatballs are so easy to make and full of flavor. This simple recipe is perfect to meal prep for the week and naturally gluten free. These meatballs are healthy and can easily be made vegan!
I’ve been really obsessed with sesame turkey meatballs recently, but I wanted a vegetarian version so I opted for some sesame chickpea meatballs instead!
If you have already tried my sesame cauliflower or sesame noodles, you’re going to love this recipe. It’s incredibly easy to make, perfect for a simple family dinner or meal prep recipe if you’re only cooking for one!
I love to serve these with rice or right rice for extra protein, plus a veggie like broccoli or green beans.
This high protein vegan friendly recipe is a fun and creative way to get more beans into your diet! Try my sweet potato falafel next!
Vegetarian meatballs can be made from a whole host of things. My lentil meatballs are delicious with spaghetti, but vegan meatballs can also be made from walnuts, mushrooms or even a plant-based meat substitute.
For this recipe, you’ll need a few simple, pantry staple ingredients.
Chickpeas. You just need one can of chickpeas which will make up the base of this recipe. They’ll add a good serving of both fiber and protein which make these a really filling recipe.
Eggs. Two eggs will help bind all of the ingredients together since vegetarian meatballs can easily fall apart. The eggs also add some more protein since this recipe is totally meatless!
Breadcrumbs. I used plain gluten free breadcrumbs, but any kind of plain breadcrumb will work. I do not recommend any Italian style breadcrumbs since this is more of an Asian recipe.
Cilantro. This is optional, but the cilantro adds so much flavor to the meatballs before they simmer with the sauce. If you have a cilantro aversion, you can definitely leave this out!
Sesame sauce. We all know I love sesame anything. This simple sesame sauce was inspired by my sesame chickpeas, but with a few changes. It has a base of soy sauce or tamari, sesame oil, chili paste and sesame seeds.
How to make chickpea meatballs
Step 1: Add all ingredients for the meatballs to a food processor. Pulse until everything is well combined and the chickpeas are mostly broken up.
Step 2: Use a small cookie scoop or a spoon and roll the batter into 1 tablespoon meatballs.
Step 3: Bake for about 10 minutes just to help the meatballs set. Meanwhile, whisk together all ingredients for the sauce.
Step 4: Remove from the oven and add to a pan on the stove. Once hot, pour the sauce on top and let simmer until it thickens. Let it simmer for about 10 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
Step 5: Serve with rice, cauliflower rice, right rice and a veggie of choice! I love broccoli but green beans or asparagus would also be delicious.
Make them vegan!
This recipe does call for 2 eggs, but you can make these chickpea meatballs vegan!
The eggs are included to help bind all of the ingredients together, but you can instead use two flax “eggs” or a store bought egg replacer.
To make the flax eggs, you want to whisk together 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds or flax meal plus 6 tablespoons of water. Let that sit until it’s thick, then add to the recipe as usual!
Frequently asked questions
Do they keep?
These chickpea meatballs store well in the fridge for 3-5 days. I suggest reheating them on the stove or in the microwave for best results.
They may firm up a bit as they sit, so adding a splash of veggie broth to add some moisture will really help.
Can you freeze vegetarian meatballs?
Yes! These can definitely be frozen. You can freeze before or after adding the sauce.
If you freeze before, you’ll want to bake them, then let them cool and freeze. When you’re ready to eat, let them defrost, make the sauce, then simmer on the stove with the sauce until warm to the center.
If you freeze after adding the sauce, just let them cool and freeze in a freezer safe bag or container.
You may want to make extra sauce to simmer with the meatballs when they’re frozen, but they’ll still be delicious!
Should I bake or fry meatballs?
I prefer to bake meatballs, whether they are vegan, vegetarian or made with regular meat. I find they are less likely to fall apart when baked, which is especially true of a vegetarian version.
For this recipe, we’ll be baking then frying lightly before letting them simmer in the sauce.
This will allow the texture to hold up but also give them a delicious crispy coating while the sauce simmers into the sauce.
More chickpea recipes you’ll love!
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Vegetarian Sesame Chickpea Meatballs
by: claire cary
- 1 can chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 2 eggs see notes for vegan
- ½ cup gluten free breadcrumbs can sub regular
- ½ cup cilantro
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons corn starch
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari
- ½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon chili paste such as sambal oelek
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons honey can sub maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- Preheat the oven to 400 degres Fahrenheit.
- Add all of the meatball ingredients to a food processor and mix to combine. You want the texture to retain some chickpea chunks, but in small pieces, not too large.
- Let the mixture sit for a few minutes to allow the cornstarch to thicken the mixture.
- Use a small cookie scoop or take one tablespoon of the mixture and roll into a ball.
- Add to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for 10 minutes. They won't bake fully, but we're going to pan fry them in a bit, so don't worry!
- Meanwhile, whisk together all sauce ingredients in a bowl until the cornstarch has compeltely dissolved.
- When the meatballs are done, remove from the oven.
- Add some toasted sesame oil to a pan and heat over medium heat. Once hot, add the meatballs and cook on each side for 1-2 minutes or until slightly toasted.
- After a few minutes, pour the sauce on top and let the meatballs simmer in the sauce until thicken.
- Let simmer for about 10 minutes over low heat to allow the meatballs to absorb some of the sauce.
- Serve with rice and steamed broccoli and enjoy!