Amazing Pesto Spaghetti with Vegan Meatballs made with Chickpeas. Vegetarian Chickpea Walnut “meatballs” over pesto pasta. 24 gms of Protein per serve. Ready in 40 Minutes. Vegan Soyfree Recipe. Can be Glutenfree.
A good Spaghetti is what I need on weekdays to feel satiated and happy. Pasta cooked perfectly, tossed in pesto or marinara with these easy Chickpea Walnut “Meatballs” / Balls.
The meal comes together quickly with some planning. Make the pesto ahead of time. Cook some onion and garlic, toss it in the processor with the ball ingredients, shape or scoop and bake. While they bake, cook the pasta. Toss, garnish, add the toasty warm balls and done. Premade pesto or tomato based sauce makes it a faster meal. Make a double batch of these chickpea balls to whip up a meatball sub sandwich, add to wraps or serve with dips. Whats your favorite way to serve these super delicious chickpea balls?
Why call them “meatballs” rather than bean balls, veggie balls, balls, is because most searches are for that not and for bean balls. I can keep creating amazing meals, but if they are not named well, no one will find them through search. Another eg is that if I call my cashew cheese, cultured cashew block, no one will find it. Eventually there will be universally accepted vegan terms, so bear with me till then.
More Pastas from the blog
- Fettuccine Alfredo with caramelized mushrooms. So Good
- Cauliflower Parmesan Pasta Bake – sliced cauliflower, baked then dressed in vegan mozz and baked over pasta. Whats not to love!
- Pumpkin Sage Pasta with pumpkin cream sauce and crisp Sage – Fall Comfort
- Black pepper Mac and Cheese with Potato Carrot Cheese Sauce.
- Chickpea Chorizo, Quinoa shells in tomato sauce. GF, this chorizo is amazing in tacos too.
- Garlic Pasta with Cajun Cauliflower – << a hit with Everyone! Make it!
In other reading, If you are transitioning to a vegan or plant based diet and need help or a mentor to make things easier, help navigate new products, foods, situations, Vegan outreach has a mentor program to help. You can join the program here.
Also, please sign this letter to help these retired greyhounds kept in filthy conditions to sell their blood (graphic, scroll to the bottom for the letter).
Balls ready to bake.
These chickpea walnut balls are great to make meatball subs, over marinara or any which way! Bake and keep these handy for quick meals. The recipe looks long because of both the pesto and meatball recipes in it. Both can be made ahead to shorten the active time. Make this Easy and Amazing meal and let me know how it turned out!
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Pesto Spaghetti with Vegan Meatballs (Chickpea Walnut Meatballs)
For the Chickpea Meatballs:
- 1 small onion
- 5 cloves of garlic
- 1/3 cup (39 g) walnuts
- 2 tbsp flaxmeal mixed with 1/4 cup water
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp pesto or a handful of basil
- 15 oz chickpeas , 15 oz can or 1.5 cups cooked
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp (0.5 tsp) parsley
- 1/2 tsp (0.5 tsp) salt , less or more depending on the chickpeas
- 1/4 tsp (0.25 tsp) red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp (1 tbsp) nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup (27 g) breadcrumbs
For the Pesto:
- 2 cups (1.69 oz) basil or basil + parsley/other greens (packed lightly)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp walnuts or cashews or toasted sun flower seeds , less or more to preference
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (use 1/2 tsp ground mustard and 1/2 tsp miso to sub)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp (0.25 tsp) salt
- water as needed , a few tbsp
For the pasta:
- 8 to 9 oz spaghetti
- black pepper pepper flakes for garnish
- Make your pesto by blending the basil, garlic, nuts, nutritional yeast in a small food processor or blender until minced. Add the salt, lemon, oil and pulse. Add water to make desired consistency. Taste and adjust flavor with more lemon, salt, nutritional yeast or basil. Pesto can be made ahead and stored in the fridge for upto 3 days or frozen in ice cubes for a month.
- Chickpea Balls: Heat 1/2 tsp oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent
- Pulse the nuts in a food processor until a coarse meal. Add the onion mixture and the rest of the ingredients and pulse to combine. I usually use the same food processor that I used for pesto. no need to clean as we add pesto to the balls as well.
- Transfer chickpea mixture to a bowl. Add breadcrumbs and mix in. Taste and adjust salt and flavor. (Add some poultry seasoning or more herbs if needed). Chill for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Make balls of the mixture or use an ice cream scoop and place on parchment lined sheet. 1 to 1.5 inch balls (16 to 18 balls). Bake at 425 degrees F for 25 minutes or until golden.
- Cook the spaghetti according to instructions on the package.
- Toss in the pesto. Serve with meatballs a very good dash black pepper and red pepper flakes and additional lemon if needed.
So delish! My kids favorite!
Vegan Richa Support
Awesome !! hope you love it too
I have been searching for a good veggie meatball recipe – this one is definitely a keeper! Very flavorful and good texture too. Thanks.
Vegan Richa Support
a keeper! love it
My daughter wants spaghetti and meatballs like lady and the tramp eat, so I am glad I found this recipe! How many dry chickpeas yields the 1.5 cooked chickpeas?
Thank you for a great recipe! Yummy!
The chickpea paste was so good I might put it on a sandwich!
Loved this! It is probably one of the best meatball substitutes I have ever tried. They hold their shape VERY well, which seems to always be the issue but not this time. I followed the recipe but guesstimated on spices, oil, etc. Just until it seemed like the right texture. I did substitute ground oats for the breadcrumbs just for the sake of not running to the store. Worked quite nice. Yumm! Thanks!
Love this, thank you! I swapped pumpkin seeds for the nuts as they are more locally produced. They worked out delish!
hi, is the pesto sauce freezable?
this dish is delicious, btw, thank you!!
yes,freeze pesto in ice cubes tray, remove the cubes then in a box or ziplock
I cannot find any flax/Linseed meal where I am. What can i use instead?
chia seeds will work or egg replacer for 2 eggs or just use more flour
I made these for my chickpea-loving 2 year old. He really liked them! I found they were really nice and crispy outside, but very soft inside (read: mushy).
I found the recipe ingredients exactly, but did leave them in the processor a couple of seconds longer to keep my son from picking out minced onion pieces and I let them set in the fridge for an hour instead of 10 minutes. Could this have impacted the result?
Note: I also made these oil free by sauteeing my onions and garlic in homemade veggie broth.
Yes, that will probably over process the chickpeas. You can add the onion garlic mixture halfway while pulsing the walnuts and pulse all of them to break the onions down into coarse meal size like walnuts. Then add the chickpeas and pulse only till chickpeas are mixed but there is still texture. Chickpeas can easily become a paste on over blending which will cause the mix to be pasty moist inside. You can also add some cooked rice or breadcrumbs for additional texture to avoid the pasty moistness
Is the parsley in the meatballs fresh or dried? I’m assuming by the amount it’s dried, but wondering if fresh would be OK, perhaps in a slightly larger quantity?
yes its dried. You can use a tbsp of fresh parlsey or just eyeball it.
If I’m being fully honest, I was hesitant to try this recipe because I’ve tried so many different vegan meatball recipes and they all suck (and because I’m lazy). But this one? Oh my god was it amazing. I would eat this every day of my life if it was a socially acceptable thing to do. Thank you so much for this!!
Thats amazing! So glad you loved them!
I did just the balls and cooked them on the stove, but I had to comment: they were amazingly tasty and had a very nice texture! The pesto should go delicious with them, but really, everyone should make the balls even if, like me, they don’t have fresh basil around. In my case, I did a quick capers, chilly and mint sauce with olive oil and lemon to go with the spaghetti instead of the pesto and it was really good.
Thats awesome! I also serve them with marinara and they work so well!
Just made this and it was amazing! Thank you for this recipe. I also made dinner prep easier by making the pesto and balls earlier in the day and keeping them both in the refrigerator. When it came time to start dinner, I pulled the balls out of the fridge, placed them on the parchment paper, and let them cook. I used fettuccini noodles for this recipe to try to get more pesto in each bite and it worked fantastically. When I make this recipe again in the future I am going to experiment with different types of pasta.
Can I use chia seeds instead of flax meal? Or any other substitutes that you recommend for flaxmeal? Thanks!
chia seeds will work fine
This recipe was time consuming, but well worth the effort. We had it for dinner and everyone loved it.
For the pesto, I used fresh mint and fresh basil growing in my garden. I added store-bought spinach……Delicious!!
Awesome! I usually split it up by making the pesto before and prepping the balls and keeping them refrigerated for the day and bake then at dinner.
Love you recipes..you are teaching me how to cook healthy everyday. I was thinking about “air frying”(that seems to be the thing now) the walnut balls, would that work and what do you think about “air frying vs. oven baking?
Airfrying will work for most baked recipes. For this one the balls will be slightly moist inside when airfried, thats all.
Do the chickpea “meatball” freeze well? Wondering about making a batch ahead and freezing them. Thanks – this looks good!
yes they should. You can freeze them raw or slightly baked. then thaw, bake or panfry
Sounds amazing, cant wait to try it out. For the ‘meatballs’, can I substitute any other nut (cashews, almonds, macadamias) for the walnuts?
yes totally, use any nuts.
I totally agree with you on fitting the titles into the mainstream search range. I think your blog name already establishes that your recipes are vegan-friendly, so it’s not like it’s always necessary to say veggie or dairy-free! But anyhow, this recipe looks to die for! I love the pesto sauce. YUM!
Made this today, good! But now I see the nutrition label, 23 grams of fat, really? from just a bit of olive oil and nuts? Seems very high.
Walnuts are pretty high fat. If you use cashews, it might be 17-18. 38+ gms in 1/2 cup walnuts.
If I use sunflower seeds how much would the fat be?
you can use free calculation tools like cronometer.com to calculate with changes
I saw this on my Facebook feed and automatically went to the store for pesto ingredients. It smells so good in my kitchen right now! Thank you so much.
These look good, but I would think pan-frying would make them tastier than baking (for those who don’t avoid oil). Have you tried them both ways?
The mixture would need additional breadcrumbs and flour as there is quite some moisture. Then you can pan fry them. You can also bake them a brush of oil on the balls for browning. I made them both ways. The panfried didnt keep their shapes as well because of the moisture but otherwise flavor is all good either ways.
The information about the greyhounds is heart breaking. I hope that signing the petition helps.
As usual, your recipes look amazing and I can’t wait till your cookbook arrives on Tuesday.
I couldnt get through the pictures. I hope the petition does help. Thank you for signing.
I JUST GOT YOUR NEW COOKBOOK!!! YAY!!! Thank you so much. OK, back to reading it.