Vegan Meatballs with Mushrooms and Chickpeas
These vegan meatballs get delicious flavor from sauteed mushrooms and they get great texture and protein from chickpeas. This post is sponsored by Pompeian. Thanks to Pompeian’s ongoing commitment to quality and innovation, home cooks can depend on Pompeian’s high quality olive oils and vinegars as a great-tasting base while exploring new flavors and ingredients.
Sometimes the stars do align. I went to an Ayurvedic Retreat recently and really dived into healthy and (mostly) vegan food. I learned a ton about how to make vegetables the focus of a dish and how to add flavor without meat or dairy. When I got home from the retreat, Pompeian got in touch and challenged me to come up with a hearty vegan meal. What a coincidence!
Since my sister site has been focusing on meatballs recently, that was the first thing that came to mind. Vegan meatballs were my destiny!
These meatballs are really easy to make but they do have a few steps. It’s because you have to cook up some mushrooms before you do anything else. It’s the mushrooms that really give you the great umami “meaty” flavor in here (and a boost of antioxidants too!). But once those mushrooms are cooked, it’s a breeze.
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These vegan “meat” balls have so much flavor and a nice tender texture too. I hope you love them as much as I do.
Here’s how you make Vegan Meatballs:
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. I recommend a mild organic olive oil like the Pompeian Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It’s low in acidity and has a mild but delicious flavor, and it’s also great for health-conscious people who care about the handling and production of the foods that they eat.
Add 14 ounces of sliced mushrooms. I used cremini because the darker color yields a nice color to the finished meatballs.
Leave them alone for 4-5 minutes until some color develops on the underside of the mushrooms. Then Stir.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are softened and brown, 3-4 more minutes. Add a teaspoon of salt. Stir. Cook for another 2 minutes, stirring often.
Remove from heat. Transfer mushrooms to a food processor or high-powered blender.
Puree until mushrooms are in very small pieces. Add a drizzle of water if this helps them to blend up. Transfer mushrooms to a fine mesh sieve. Push out as much liquid as possible. Discard liquid or save it to add to a sauce.
Return mushrooms to food processor and add chickpeas, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.
Pulse until it is a mixture that will hold together. You still want some texture, not a completely smooth paste.
Transfer mixture to a bowl and add 1/4 cup flour. Mix it in with your hands but don’t over mix.
Form mixture into balls. I used an ice cream scoop here.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Then pour olive oil into a non-stick or cast iron skillet. You want to cover the bottom of the pan in an even layer.
Heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs. If you use a large skillet, they will all fit in one batch. If your skillet is smaller, you’ll have to do half at a time.
Cook until browned underneath, 2-3 minutes. Turn and cook on the other side. Then turn and until all sides are browned. If the balls become less well shaped, use two spatulas to reshape.
Once browned on all sides, transfer to a baking sheet. You can use your fingers to shape them here as well.
Transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
Toss with your favorite tomato sauce. Serve sprinkled with nutritional yeast and black pepper, if desired. The nutritional yeast has a cheesy flavor and acts a bit like shaved Parmesan here.
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These vegan meatballs get delicious flavor from sauteed mushrooms and they get great texture and protein from chickpeas.
- Pompeian Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, approx 1/3 cup, divided
- 14 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1 and 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
- 2 (16 oz.) cans low-sodium chickpeas, drained
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped roughly
- 3 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp. nutritional yeast for serving (optional)
- Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over high heat.
- Add the mushrooms and spread them so they cover the bottom of the pan. Cook until browned on the bottom, 4-5 minutes. Stir.
- Continue to cook mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until they are browned and softened all over, another 3-4 minutes. Add 1 teaspoon of the salt and cook and stir for another 1-2 minutes.
- Transfer mushroom to a food processor or high-powered blender. Pulse until in very small pieces. Add a drizzle of water if that helps them to blend.
- Transfer mushrooms to a fine mesh sieve. Press out as much liquid as possible. Return them to the food processor.
- Add the chickpeas, garlic, Italian seasoning, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the pepper. Pulse until well blended. You want it to be a lumpy mixture that holds together.
- Transfer to a bowl and add the flour. Mix with hands until combined.
- Use an ice cream scoop to scoop out meatballs. Roll with hands into balls.
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Pour oil into a non-stick or cast iron skillet until it coats bottom. Heat over medium-high. Add meatballs. Cook until brown underneath, 2-3 minutes, and then turn. Continue to cook and turn until brown on all sides.
- Transfer balls to a baking sheet and put into oven for 30 minutes.
- Toss with your favorite sauce. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast if desired.