“For these hearty and healthy vegan meatballs, we’ve swapped out the traditional ground beef and pork for protein-packed chickpeas and quinoa—without skimping on any of those Italian flavors that you look for in a classic meatball. Mushrooms up the umami factor, and a simple tomato sauce completes the picture. Serve over your favorite pasta.”
2½ cups small cauliflower florets
8 ounces white mushrooms, halved
½ small onion, coarsely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, divided
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1½ teaspoons Italian seasoning, divided
½ teaspoon salt, divided
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cup canned chickpeas
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
1 (28 ounce) can no-salt-added crushed tomatoes
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
2Pulse cauliflower, mushrooms, onion and 1 garlic clove in a food processor until finely chopped, about 15 pulses. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the cauliflower mixture, ¾ teaspoon Italian seasoning and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper; cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute more. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool, stirring a few times, for 5 minutes.
3Add chickpeas to the food processor; puree until smooth. Add the chickpea mixture to the large bowl along with quinoa and tamari (or soy sauce); stir to combine. Form the mixture into 24 balls (about 2½ tablespoons each) and place on the prepared baking sheet.
4Bake the meatballs until heated through and firm, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes.
5Meanwhile, finely chop the remaining garlic clove. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, tomatoes, crushed red pepper and the remaining ¾ teaspoon Italian seasoning and ¼ teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer. Cook until the flavors have melded, about 5 minutes. Serve the meatballs with the sauce, sprinkled with basil.