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Pan Seared Vegan “Meatballs” with Garbanzo Beans, Brown Rice, Toasted Walnuts and Warm Spices served with a Garlic & Dill Infused Almond Milk Based Greek Yogurt Sauce
Total: 45 minutes
Prep: 40 minutes
Cook: 5 minutes
Makes: 24 pieces/6 servings
Allergens: tree nuts
A simple can of chickpeas can be turned into an easy hearty vegan lunch with a few other ingredients, spices and herbs added to it. Dip these into a light but lusciously creamy almond based herby yogurt sauce as is or serve with a light salad full of chopped vegetables for a nutritious meal.
These meatless “meatballs” are made from chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, and are packed with protein, vitamins and fiber. There’s a lot of good fats that come from the hemp hearts and walnuts as well.
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- 1 cup of cooked brown rice
- 1 tablespoon of hemp oil
- 1 shallot, minced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 small red bell pepper, de-seeded & minced
- 1 cup of walnuts
- ¼ cup of hemp hearts
- 1-½ cups of canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- ¼ cup of whole wheat bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons of BBQ sauce
- 1 teaspoon each of salt, ground ginger, ground cumin, sweet paprika, smoked paprika, ground coriander and brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon each of cinnamon and black pepper
- ¼ cup of olive oil for frying
- 1 cup of plain unsweetened kite hill Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons dill
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 medium clove garlic, pressed or minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
1.) Start by cooking the brown rice as instructed by the packaging, usually about 40 minutes or so. You’ll need 1 cup of cooked brown rice for this recipe so make ¾ of a cup of dry rice and you’ll have some leftover.**
2.) Preheat an oven to 350F. Lightly toast the walnuts for 5-7 minutes, do not cook for any longer or they will burn. Turn the oven off.**
3.) While waiting for the rice, combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth, refrigerate. When the rice is done, transfer the steamed grains into another bowl to cool a little.
4.) In a bowl, combine the spices and mix until fully incorporated.
5.) In a small pan, cook the onions, garlic and bell peppers for 3 minutes on medium or until translucent.
6.) In a food processor combine the chickpeas, rice, toasted walnuts, hemp hearts, BBQ sauce, bread crumbs & spice mixture. Pulse a little bit at a time to break everything down while being careful to not turn the mixture into mush, scrape down the sides and repeat until everything is well combined.
7.) Using a 2 oz ice cream scooper, scoop and form 24 little balls. Working in batches, heat a non-stick pan or skillet to medium and sear each chickpea ball for 2-3 minutes on each side or until toasty and golden brown. Repeat for the rest of the balls.
8.) Transfer the seared chickpea balls onto a paper towel lined tray to drain the excess oil. Serve on a large plate with the garlic dill yogurt sauce drizzled or placed on the side as a dipping sauce!
- I used brown jasmine rice for this recipe. You can use any long or short grain brown rice as well.
- If you do not want to heat up the oven to toast the walnuts, you can also toast them in a pan. Keep the heat on medium low and shake the pan often to avoid burning the nuts. They develop an acrid taste if you happen to do so.
- If your mixture seems wet for any reason, add one tablespoon of chickpea flour at a time until the dough is a good consistency.
- When frying the balls in the pan, make sure to handle them carefully to not ruin the integrity and shape of them.
- Can I bake these instead? Yes you can. Preheat an oven to 375F. Place the balls on a greased parchment paper lined baking tray, carefully brush them with olive oil and bake for 10 minutes.
- I don’t have dill on hand. Can I use something else? Of course. Cilantro, parsley, chives or a combination of any of these soft green herbs are a great choice.
- I don’t have a food processor. What should I use? Use a potato masher or a hard metal whisk to mash everything together until fully incorporated.
- Can I use pre-cooked minute rice instead of steaming my own batch? I wouldn’t recommend it. I’ve tried it and it made the texture mealy.
- Can I use a different type of yogurt? Yes you can. There are many different types of nut milk based yogurts available in grocery store shelves nowadays made from hemp, cashews and macadamia nuts just to name a few.
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