Chickpea Balls with Tomato Sauce

These chickpea balls are delicately seasoned with coriander, nutmeg and cinnamon before being tossed with tomato sauce and green peas. Kids will have fun mashing the chickpeas and shaping the balls with their hands. This recipe comes to us from Trudy of veggie.num.num.

Food for Thought: Chickpeas are a healthy, fiber-filled protein source. Because canned chickpeas and beans are packaged with salt, draining them and rinsing off the packaging liquid is an important step in cooking to make sure your food isn’t too salty. Plus, it’s a great task for kids!

For the chickpea balls:

Kid: Drain and rinse the chickpeas. Mash the chickpeas using your hands, taking care to keep some of the chickpeas texture in tact. The chickpeas should have a chunky, not smooth, consistency, when you are done mashing. Transfer the chickpeas to a large bowl.

Together: Add the garlic, lemon zest, bread crumbs and egg to the bowl. Mix with your hands. Season the chickpea bread crumb mixture with the coriander, nutmeg and cinnamon. Mix again with your hands, taking care to ensure that the spices are well distributed.

Kid: Scoop tablespoons of chickpea breadcrumb mixture and roll them into balls using your hands. If the chickpea breadcrumb mixture is too dry, add a little lemon juice until it reaches a consistency that will stick together. Transfer the chickpea balls to a plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Adult: Place the olive oil into a large frying pan over medium heat. Place as many chickpea meatballs as you can comfortably fit with a little space in between. Cook for about 3 minutes per side, or until golden on all sides.

To complete the Chickpea Balls with Tomato Sauce:

Adult: Place the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook 2-3 minutes, or until the onion begins to soften. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more, or until it becomes fragrant.

Together: Add the wine to the skillet and allow it to simmer for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and veggie stock to the skillet and let simmer for 8-10 minutes.

Together: Season the sauce with the cayenne pepper, if using. Stir in the peas and chickpea balls. Allow the sauce to simmer for 5-10 more minutes, or until the sauce has reduced slightly. Remove from heat, divide into 4 servings, top each with the parsley or cilantro and enjoy!

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