Meat Free Italian Meatballs

OK, right off the bat I need to say I used two eggs. You don’t have to. Use egg replacer, which should work fine.

I also found this to be delicious, but the meatballs were just a bit dry. I’d add:

  • Finely diced fine onions, added after the blending.
  • Diced black olives

Both of these would add a bit more moisture. Also, don’t be afraid to increase the amount of garlic.

This is how the dough looks prior to adding the two eggs. Not too fine, not too course. Just right. I used a coffee scoop to shape the balls, then rolled them in the palms of my hands. It wasn’t sticky at all and worked very well.
I fried them up on a skillet before baking in the oven. Throughout the process they remained intact.

Meat-Free Italian Meatballs

Serves: 4
Cooking Time: 45-90 minutes


  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil – divided
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1⁄3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1⁄3 cup loosely packed fresh basil chopped
  • 10 sundried tomatoes in oil Chopped
  • 1⁄4 cup parmesan cheese – more for topping
  • 1 pinch each sea salt
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes ((plus more to taste))
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 cups chickpeas or 1 can drained
  • 2 Tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 3 Tbsp panko bread crumbs



Preheat oven to 365 degrees F.


Heat your skillet to a medium heat. Add half of the olive oil and minced garlic. Sauté until lightly browned, stirring often. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Add to food processor or blender.


Add panko bread crumbs, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan cheese, salt, red pepper flakes, dried oregano, and 1 Tbsp olive oil. Pulse until you see small bits remaining,. Scrape down sides as needed.


Add chickpeas and egg, then blend until a stiff “dough” is created. Don’t overblend so the mixture is a paste, but try not to have any whole chickpeas.


Adjust seasonings as needed.


Scoop out rounded 1 Tbsp scoops of dough and gently form into balls – about 14 in all. Then roll in parmesan cheese and bread crumb mixture to coat.


Return the skillet to medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of oil, then add meatballs to the pan.


Brown for about 5 minutes total rolling them around to brown all sides. Be careful to not burn or cook too quickly.


Place meatballs on a baking sheet and put in the oven for 15 minutes.


Prepare pasta and sauce.


Remove toasted meatballs from over. Let them cool a few minutes as this helps them maintain their structure a bit.


Place meatballs over pasta, then pour sauce on top of that. Sprinkle with panko and parmesan.

For the sauce I made a basic sauce. Onions. Mushrooms. Spices. Lots of garlic. Tomato sauce.