Italian Homemade “Meat” Balls

Walnuts in your “Meat Balls? Excuse me.

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Inspired by Cassie from

There is nothing worse than creating a recipe that needs so many ingredients that the majority of your cook is spent searching and dishing them out of drawers and cupboards. Plus having to spend a silly amount of money. This recipe thankfully doesn’t need too many and you will be surprised at how many of them you already have.

One thing I am finding transitioning to veganism is how much less I am spending on food shopping. Meat is the expense in your basket. But probably the best thing, is serving a dish to my partner (big meat eater) and him commenting along the lines of ‘I didn’t even miss meat in that dish’. Win Win!

The combination of chickpeas, walnuts and rice resembles a very similar consistency to meatballs. And with the seasoning, you really can’t tell that you aren’t eating meat.

I had some soy bean pasta that had been sitting in the cupboard for far too long, so why not create this recipe to serve alongside. Although any pasta variety would work just as well (gluten free if required). I serve the meatballs accompanied by a tomato based sauce and some dairy free Italian style cheese sprinkled on top.

Eating a plant-based diet is not restrictive. You can still create versions of all traditional animal-based protein meals and using weird and wonderful alternatives to achieve this is great.

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Makes 25 meatballs approximately
takes 30 minutes in total.

1 can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
2 garlic cloves
3/4 large white onion (diced)
65g walnuts
55g porridge oats (gluten-free if required)
120g cooked brown rice
1.5 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of chili powder (hot, if you want that extra spice)
1 tablespoon of ketchup
1 tablespoon of tomato purée
1/2 tablespoon of salt
1/2 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (but feel free to use own combination of seasoning)

1. Add chickpeas, garlic, onion, walnuts and oats to your food processor. Blend until a similar consistency of ground beef is achieved. Don’t over blend – the mixture should still contain some lumps.
2. Empty mixture into bowl and add soy sauce, chilli powder, ketchup, rice, salt, and other herbs/spices. Stir thoroughly until combined.
3. On a medium heat, heat some avocado oil and roll your mixture into approx. 1 inch balls and fry until brown on all sides. This should take about 10 minutes.

If you’d prefer, you can bake the balls rather than fry.
Any uncooked leftover mixture can be refrigerated and used within 3 days. I formed the mixture into burgers and put in a sandwich for lunch at the weekend along with avocado, mushrooms and salsa – tasted amazing!

Please let me know your thoughts 🙂


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