Spicy vegan meatballs
These Spicy Vegan "Meatballs" are made from farro, chickpeas, oats, and can be customized to suit any flavor profile!
Alright, so about the elephant in the room: vegan meatballs. Yeahhhhhh.
Of course, one could say that these shouldn't be called "meat" balls when they are, in fact, meatless.
However, considering the utility of said balls (<–hehe, balls), they function as a substitute for meatballs in recipes that call for meatballs. Philosophically speaking, does utility trump composition? Yikes, time to back off the green tea this morning.
Alright, so these meatless-meatballs are made from all sorts of good stuff: farro, chickpeas, oats, and plenty of seasoning.
The one ingredient that you might not be familiar with is the flaxmeal. Sometimes called ground flaxseed, or flaxseed meal, flaxmeal is just that: flax seeds that have been ground into "meal." Flaxseeds contain something super scientific that works to bind ingredients together. <–FACT.
You may have seen recipes (vegan recipes, in particular) that call for a "flax egg." A flax egg is just 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed meal mixed with 3 tablespoons of water. It's sometimes used as an egg replacement in baking, but baking with those kind of substitutes require knowledge of chemistry and I'm just not there yet.
Binding together little balls of farro, chickpeas, and oats? I can handle that.
These vegan meatballs are made with sriracha, ginger, and hot sesame oil to give them a nice zing – I made them to use in Vegan Bahn Mi (recipe coming in a few days!), so I wanted the flavor profile to fit with these Vietnamese sandwiches.
The "meatballs" are super hearty, filling, and flavorful. The texture reminds me a bit of falafel, likely because of the addition of chickpeas. If you're expecting these to taste and feel like meat, you're going to be disappointed. It's just not that kind of recipe. Frankly, since I stopped eating meat I'm not huge on things that look, taste, and feel like meat because it kind of grosses me out.
I love the way these meatballs work for all of my favorite meatball recipes; they are delicious simmered in tomato sauce (seasoned with garlic and onion powder instead of the sriracha, ginger, and sesame oil), stacked into sandwiches, and tossed in teriyaki sauce. They hold their shape perfectly and form a nice crispy exterior crust. I love them, and I know you will, too!
- 1 tablespoon flax seed meal (ground flax seeds)
- 1 (14 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1½ cups cooked farro
- ¼ cup old fashioned oats
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 teaspoon finely grated ginger root
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon hot chile sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a sheet pan with foil and set aide.
- Combine the flax seed meal with 3 tablespoons of water; stir, and set aside to rest for 5 minutes.
- Place the chickpeas, farro, oats, garlic, ginger, salt, sesame oil, and sriracha in the bowl of a large food processor or blender. Pour in the rested flax mixture ("flax egg") and pulse until the ingredients have just combined. You may need to pause to scrape down the bowl periodically.
- Roll the mixture into one-tablespoon balls (about 14 to 16 total). Bake on the foil-lined sheet for 20 to 25 minutes, until firm and lightly crisped.
RELATED: How to make zucchini meatballs