Chickpeas. Ballz. Pasta. You literally cannot go wrong. Or, I should say, I couldn't go wrong since I'm the lovely lady who made it all. Okay, okay, I didn't make the pasta from scratch, but I did make the marinara. Yes, I was a marinara virgin. And, get this, I didn't use any recipe. I'm full of awesomeness!
I got the idea for the chickpea balls from Veganomicon, which has a recipe for beanballs and spaghetti (pg189) using kidney beans, which I don't really love. So, being the thinker that I am, I decided that chickpeas would be about 100 times better along with some extra spices. So, I set to work making a most tasty ball. But, what to serve with chickpea ballz? Pasta! What else? Haha. I had 2 jars of marinara in my cupboard, but I really wanted to test my kitchen skills and make my own. So I did. And, I could not believe how easy it was. And, get this: I actually used whole wheat penne...and liked it. I never used to like whole wheat pastas! Maybe I am growing up after all? NAH.
Chickpea Ballz Ingredients: (mine made 19 ballz)
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 2 TB olive oil
- 2 TB Braggs liquid aminos
- 1 1/3 TB steak sauce
- 1 TB or more minced garlic (I ran out of fresh and so used jarred)
- 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/8 tsp thyme
- 1/4 tsp dried basil
- 10 leaves fresh basil, minced-ish
- 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
- 1/4 slightly heaping cup vital wheat gluten
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet and then set aside.
- I threw my chickpeas into a food processor and pulsed a few times until there were no whole chickpeas, but a they were also not pureed, either.
- Remove from the processor into a large bowl. Add in oil, Braggs, steak sauce, garlic, lemon juice, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, dried and fresh basil. Mix/mash together with a fork.
- Now use your hands to mash in the bread crumbs and gluten until well combined. Let set a minute or two for the gluten to start bonding a bit. I mashed mined down in the bowl. I don't know why, I'm just giving the facts!
- Now, use your paws to scoop out enough to make the size of a walnut in its shell. Maybe 1 1/2 TB? I don't know. Then squeeze the chickpea mix into a ball and set on the oiled baking sheet. Be sure to make them all roughly the same size so they cook about the same amount of time.
- Once all the ballz are made, you'll bake them for about 15 minutes. Then use tongs to flip them over and cook another 8-10 minutes. You want them lightly browned.
- 1 - 14oz can diced tomatoes, partially drained
- 1- 8oz can plain tomato sauce
- 1/2 of a 4-oz can tomato paste
- 1 TB oregano
- 1/2 TB basil
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- lots of pepper
- some garlic salt
- 1 TB garlic powder
- 2 TB Braggs liquid aminos
- 1/2 tsp coriander
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 TB sugar
- Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the diced tomatoes. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. This cooks your tomatoes down a bit to make them more sauce-friendly.
- Reduce heat to medium, then stir in the tomato sauce. I also added all of my spices except the salt and the Braggs. Stir again to make sure the spices are incorporated.
- After about 5 minutes, I whisked in the tomato paste and Braggs. Let simmer away for another 5 minutes. Then taste test! I needed to add sugar to mine as it seemed too acidic. So, I added 1 TB at a time and a bit of salt to the mix. You can add any other spices or herbs you'd like. See!!! It is so easy a child could do it. Well, not really that easy, but you get the picture.