CHICKPEA MEATBALLS WITH ROASTED RED PEPPER SAUCE

 

FOR THE MEATBALLS

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice or quinoa, cold or room temperature
  • 1 cup pecan pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 30 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (3 cups cooked)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese OR 1/2 cup nutritional yeast to make it Vegan
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • freshly ground cracked pepper
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs (can substitute gluten free if needed)

FOR THE ROASTED RED PEPPER SAUCE

  • 2 roasted red peppers (1 1/2 cups)
  • 15 oz. can coconut milk
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • fresh parsley for garnish

In a food processor add the cooked brown rice, pecans, and garlic and pulse until finely ground. Add all but 1/2 cup of the chickpeas, parmesan cheese OR nutritional yeast, tomato paste, olive oil, and seasonings. Process until ground into a thick mixture that holds together and can be pressed into a meatball and hold its shape.

Add the breadcrumbs if the mixture is soft and needs help holding together. Add the rest of the chickpeas and pulse until they are coarsely chopped.

Preheat the oven to 375 F, and shape the mixture into balls using about 2 to 2 1/2 Tablespoons per ball. (I like to use a cookie scoop for this) Press the mixture together as you roll them to help them hold together.

Grease a baking tray and place the meatballs on the tray. Spray or drizzle with oil. Bake for 25-30 minutes, flipping halfway through for more even baking. Let cool slightly before using.

In a blender combine all of the ingredients for the roasted red pepper sauce and blend until smooth.

Heat the sauce over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Add the Chickpea Meatballs and cook until heated though, about 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve.