Chickpea Meatballs

Meatless meatballs, SAY WHAT?! Hear me out ok. I love meat as much as you do, but I have a new found appreciation for cutting out meat most days of the week, and my body is thanking me. I would say it’s been about a year now that we have pretty much cut out meat during the weekdays. We first decided to do it just to see how many meatless dishes we could come up with that we actually liked – but then it turned into more than that. My body and digestive system felt less bogged down and our grocery bill wasn’t quite as hefty anymore which was an added bonus! These chickpea meatballs are great to add to your weeknight recipe rotation!

Don’t get me wrong, we still go bonkers over a fat juicy burger, a Sunday pot roast, or copious amounts of bacon during Saturday brunch. But for the most part, I love eating meatless during the weekdays and there’s so many fun alternatives to keep things interesting.

It would be hard for me to go fully vegan because I love cheese. I mean I LOVE CHEESE. As you can see from this recipe that I didn’t skimp on parmesan – but if you wanted to make this vegan you definitely could by using a cheese alternative and making a flax egg to bind the meatballs and not a real egg.

These chickpea meatballs can come together in a snap on a busy weeknight! I like to make my own tomato sauce, but you could easily use your favorite marinara to speed things up!

Keep in mind, these aren’t as dense as normal meatballs, so as you start eating them they will break up slightly. Don’t fret my friends – when that herby garlicky chickpea glory mixes with the rich tomato sauce and you scoop it up with a piece of crusty bread, you will be the happiest little chickpea in the house!

Chickpea Meatballs

A perfect alternative for meatless Mondays!
3 from 1 vote
Servings 4 People


  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 oz sun-dried tomoatoes
  • large handful of chopped fresh herbs, I like to use basil and parsley for these
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • Crusty Bread - 1 slice saved for the meatballs
  • 1/4 cup milk or dairy free milk
  • Hefty sprinkle of salt
  • a few grinds of black pepper

Tomato Sauce

  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 bulb of fennel, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • Salt to taste


For the tomato sauce

  • In a large skillet or pot, heat oil over medium high heat and cook onions and fennel for 5 minutes or so until they start to look translucent.
  • Add in garlic and cook for another minute or two before stiring in the tomato paste. Pour in red wine and cook out for about a minute.
  • I like my sauce blended and not too chunky, so I add in the crush tomatoes into a blender along with the onion fennel mixture and blend until smooth. Add it back into the pot to simmer and reduce over medium heat for about 15 minutes or until your meatballs are ready.

For the meatballs

  • In your food processor or blender, pulse together chickpeas, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes. Keep pulsing (and scraping down the sides when needed) until smooth and combined. It doesn't need to be perfectly smooth though! There can be some large chunks of chickpea which is fine!
  • Transfer mixture into a big bowl and add in your chopped herbs, egg, another pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
  • Soak one slice of crusty bread in the milk and then tear into little pieces into the chickpea mixture. I prefer adding soaked bread instead of panko bread crumbs because it gives the meatballs a little more flavor and moisture!
  • Mix everything in the bowl with your hands - really get in there! Form medium sized balls and set aside on a plate or tray.
  • Heat a tablespoon or two of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Gently place chickpea meatballs in the skillet to sear. Let sit for 2-3 minutes before carefully flipping to the other side.
  • Gently add the meatballs to the warm tomato sauce. Garnish with extra chopped herbs, parmesan cheese, and serve with crusty bread!


  1. May 13, 2019 / 5:36 pm

    I love these alternative to meat meatballs- you can bet itll be cheesy garlic bread I’ll be eating these with

  2. May 13, 2019 / 7:39 pm

    5 stars
    I have never tried chickpea-based meatless meatballs before, and these look and sound so tasty! What a great Meatless Monday meal to add to the rotation!

  3. May 13, 2019 / 8:50 pm

    5 stars
    I just bookmarked this meatless meatballs recipe to make this summer, when my in-laws stay with us. I’m mostly vegetarian and my FIL is mostly meatatarian, haha – but I think I can please both of us with this recipe!

  4. May 14, 2019 / 2:00 am

    5 stars
    My kids keep telling me they’re sick of chicken and steak, so maybe this is a new thing they can try… chickpea meatballs! Why not? It sounds good to me!

  5. May 14, 2019 / 2:23 am

    5 stars
    Yummmmm! These chickpea meatballs looks delicious. I often “steal” the chickpea water from canned chickpeas for other recipes, but I’ve run out of creative ways to use up the chickpeas themselves. I’ll definitely be giving this a try!

  6. May 14, 2019 / 4:32 pm

    5 stars
    I love the idea of using chickpeas for meatballs. What a great meatless Monday dish that I’m positive I could even get my meat and potatoes loving fella to devour!

    • crumbkisses
      May 16, 2019 / 3:50 am

      My husband love traditional beef/sausage meatballs, so the fact that he loved these was also a win 😉

  7. May 14, 2019 / 7:09 pm

    What a great idea to use chickpeas in meatballs! They’re my favorite bean and I’m a huge meatball fan! Love that you added in sun dried tomatoes too!

    • crumbkisses
      May 16, 2019 / 3:49 am

      I have been using chickpeas in so much lately! They are so versatile!

  8. Barb
    January 2, 2020 / 2:46 am

    These look so good. Do you use sundried tomatoes in oil and dried?

    • crumbkisses
      January 5, 2020 / 12:44 am

      Thank you! I’ve used both! The ones in oil actually helps the meatballs stay moist since chickpeas have a tendency of getting crumbly! Let me know what you think if you try them 🙂

  9. Katie
    January 6, 2020 / 12:04 am

    3 stars
    Flavour was quite good, but the balls turned to mush, in spite of being so yummy and browned before adding the sauce. I would recommend not adding the sauce until ready to serve – simmer them separately and even serve the balls on the side. Perhaps finishing up in the oven would also help keep them crisp. Definitely don’t want to skip the pan frying altogether though!

    • crumbkisses
      January 17, 2020 / 1:48 am

      Thank you for the feedback Katie! It might have been too hard of a simmer so they fell apart – I’ll make sure to specify that in the recipe and to keep it very low and decrease the simmer time.

  10. Kirsty
    October 2, 2020 / 9:09 pm

    Love this recipe, just wondering if the meatballs themselves are suitable to freeze? Thank you!

    • crumbkisses
      October 11, 2020 / 8:44 pm

      Hi Kristy, thanks so much! absolutely – you can definitely make them ahead and freeze and either thaw in the fridge over a day or two or on the counter at room temp same day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating