Savory Mediterranean Chickpea Oat Balls
June 2, 2016

Savory Mediterranean Chickpea Oat Balls | The Full Helping

Sometimes I’m surprised by the recipes that prove to be most valuable in my kitchen. They’re not always dinner or lunch ideas or other fully composed meals. Oftentimes the recipes I cherish most take the form of a dressing or sauce, a really great dip or spread, or something else that I can use in many different ways to enhance meal after meal as the week goes on.

These savory, Mediterranean chickpea oat balls are a perfect example. I began this past week with every intention of doing a lot of constructive batch cooking and recipe testing. But a long weekend of travel, coupled with a pressing school assignment and some timely work, caught up to me, and the kitchen prep didn’t go as planned.

Savory-chickpea-oat-balls-9 copy

Still, I made this recipe, and I’m so glad I did, because it has paid off in a number of easy, nutritious meals. So far, I’ve enjoyed the chickpea oat balls on top of pasta for dinner, on top of salads (falafel style!), and as snacks. They are so versatile and tasty, and the fact that my boyfriend can’t stop popping one or two into his mouth as he passes the fridge is a sign, to me, that it won’t be too long before I make another batch.

I guess you could call these a hybrid of vegan meatballs, falafel, and veggie burgers. They start with a simple mixture of sautéed onion, pepper, garlic, and chickpeas, and you mix them up in a food processor with sun-dried tomatoes, thyme, and oregano for some Mediterranean flavor. Roll them into balls, bake them, and you have a few meals’ worth of easy, plant based protein and flavor to play with.

I first envisioned them working in a spaghetti and meatball type situation, so I piled them on to top of some simple pasta bowls–my go-to combination of pasta, marinara, and freshly chopped arugula (I love the peppery kick of fresh greens in the pasta dish).

Savory Mediterranean Chickpea Oat Balls | The Full Helping

The next day, I tried putting leftovers in a lunch salad bowl, similar to what you see below: greens, cherry tomatoes, quinoa, tahini, and crumbled chickpea oat balls. It was delicious, and I may even have appreciated the herbs and flavor more more this way.

Savory Mediterranean Chickpea Oat Balls | The Full Helping
Savory Mediterranean Chickpea Oat Balls | The Full Helping

The chickpea oat balls would also be delicious stuffed into a pita with some tahini dressing, served with a rice pilaf, or mixed with a quinoa or couscous tabouli. They make a terrific, savory snack option, too–perfect for when you’d like something nutritious and with a dose of protein, and easy to transport to work or class.

Savory Mediterranean Chickpea Oat Balls

Author - Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Yields: 18 -20 balls

Ingredients

  • 8 sun dried tomato halves either packed in oil and patted dry, or dried, rehydrated in water, and then patted dry, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seed flax meal
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup white or yellow onion chopped (about 1/2 large onion)
  • 1/2 cup chopped red or yellow bell pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, divided
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon red wine or apple cider vinegar you can substitute 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Instructions

  • If you're not using oil-packed sun dried tomato halves, begin by re-hydrating the sun dried tomatoes. Pour hot or simmering water over the halves in a small bowl and allow them to get plump and soft (about 30 minutes). Drain them and pat them dry, then chop them roughly.
  • Preheat your oven to 350F. Mix together the flax meal and 3 tablespoons warm water. Allow it to turn into a gel while you prepare the chickpeas.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and pepper. Saute for 5 minutes, or until onions are soft, stirring frequently. Add a tablespoon or two of water if the onions start to stick. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the chickpeas. Stir everything together to warm the chickpeas through, then remove the skillet from heat.
  • Place 1/2 cup oats in a food processor fitted with the S blade. Process till the oats turn into a coarse flour. Add the chickpea and onion mixture, the flax "egg," the sun-dried tomatoes, the nutritional yeast, the salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, and vinegar. Pulse everything together until the mixture is uniformly mixed, but still has some texture. Quickly pulse in the remaining rolled oats to help firm the mixture up. Season to taste with extra salt and pepper, if needed.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment. Use clean hands to shape the mixture into 1-inch balls and place them on the baking sheet (it might be helpful to rinse your hands off a few times between making the balls, so that they don't get super sticky). Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the balls are getting crispy on the outside, stirring them around gently halfway through cooking. Serve the balls over your favorite pasta and sauce, crumble them over a salad, or simply enjoy them as a super nutritious, savory snack!

Notes

The balls can be shaped up to 1 day in advance and kept in the fridge until you're ready to bake them. Leftover balls will keep for up to 5 days in the fridge and can be frozen for up to 2-3 weeks.

Savory Mediterranean Chickpea Oat Balls | The Full Helping

I’m so excited to make another batch of these, perhaps playing around with some of the seasonings. I’d love to try adding fresh parsley or dill, green onion, or even basil. And I can imagine that some other approaches–such as using curry or five spice powder–would be delicious, too. These days I’m all for recipes that I can rely on and adapt over time!

I hope you enjoy these tasty little morsels, and if you make them, let me know how it goes.

Savory Mediterranean Chickpea Oat Balls | The Full Helping

With that, I’m wrapping up a hectic week and looking forward to pausing this weekend for a weekend reading roundup. Enjoy the rest of your week!

xo

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    29 Comments
  1. […] I’ve come to see vegan cakes, balls, and burgers this way. On first inspection, they’re all just different forms of a vegetable patty. But they’re actually far more generous than that. A great vegan patty/ball/burger/falafel can be used to add protein and heft to salads. It can be quickly added to a grain bowl, folded into a sandwich or a wrap, turned into sliders, stuffed into lettuce cups. It can even be piled on top of pasta (one of my favorite ways to enjoy my savory chickpea oat oat balls). […]

  2. Loved the recipe!! I adjusted it to my taste (no flax seed and no nutritional yeast) and it worked perfectly. I added a bit of olive oil when I was processing the mixture so I’d have no need to add an egg substitute.
    Definitely a recipe to keep!

  3. […] is Mexican-spiced falafel bites, made from chickpeas and cauliflower. The idea reminds me of my Mediterranean chickpea oat balls, which have become a staple. It will be fun to have a new, versatile chickpea bite to play around […]

  4. 5 stars
    So I did it using 3 tbsp Chia ‘egg’ and it’s amazing!
    I also left out the capsicum (not in season) and subbed it for mushroom, coriander and watercress, to even out the flesh and moisture content. And I didn’t have sundried tomatoes so I dried some tinned ones off in the oven.
    I couldn’t roll them straight away so I put them in the fridge and I must say they are much easier to roll: a lot less sticky!
    Thanks for your recipe, these are going in my recipe book for sure 😀

  5. 5 stars
    Yus this looks epic! About to undergo the challenge as I have everything in my pantry… except flaxseed. It looks like it’s used mainly as a binder, so I’m going to use ground hydrated Chia instead. If anyone can confirm if this will work before I take the plunge let me know, otherwise I’ll let you all know how it goes 🙂

    • Hi Cat!

      Chia ought to work very well. I haven’t tried it, but I’m confident you’ll have good results. Hope you like the recipe!

      🙂

  6. Chickpea oat balls are my favorite…I love them..And since this recipe has lots of oat balls in it..this recipe becomes my favorite too…Thanks for sharing this recipe!!

  7. These are so versatile! I love making bean balls or patties to keep in the fridge for easy, quick meals. You can really do anything with them! I’m a sucker for falafel, so these have me hooked!

  8. These sound really good. Is there anything you can sub for the nutritional yeast? Not a fan of it.

    • Hi Laurie,

      Sure. I’d substitute a pinch extra salt (to taste, beyond what’s recommended) and 3 tablespoons chickpea four to help replace the binding/dryness that the nutritional yeast adds. I hope it works out!

      G

  9. These look beyond handy.

    I used to use oats and oat flour in tons of savory things—I always loved their gentle flavor and their ability to boost binding. But I let them drift aside while I explored some of the other fun options I’d been ignoring during my first several years as a vegan (hi, vital wheat gluten). This is a great reminder that the old standbys shouldn’t be forgotten. Thanks thanks thanks.