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White plate with several brownish-redish balls on top of each other sprinkled with sesame seeds. In the background a small glass jar with red sauce.

BBQ Chickpea Meatballs (Vegan, Gluten-free)

To make these easy Chickpea Meatballs you need a food processor and a couple of pantry staples and you are good to go. Enjoy them in as many ways as you can. Make meatballs sub, or dip them in BBQ sauce and stick them on a skewer or add them on top of your spaghetti marinara. 
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine American, Dairy-free, Egg-free, Gluten-free, Nut-free, Soy-free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword chickpea meatballs, meatless meatballs, vegan meatballs
Prep Time 15 minutes
Baking time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 20 balls
Calories 100kcal



  • Cook rice as per package instructions. Cook chickpeas until tender if you don't want to or don't have canned chickpeas.
  • Take a food processor. Add drained canned or cooked chickpeas, walnut, cooked rice, seasoning and spices: olive oil, tomato paste, basil, parsley, garlic powder, onion powder, nutritional yeast, turmeric. Pulse the mix gently. Don’t puree it! You need some chunks and bits for a better texture. Depending on the size of your container, work in batches.
  • When the mix is ready, add oat flour and/or quick oats 1 Tbsp at a time. You know you added enough when it is easy to form a ball (1-2 Tbsp per ball), though it is still soft.

Baking or frying

  • Now you are ready to form the chickpea meatballs. Take 1-2 Tbsp of the mixture and form the balls with your hands.
  • Take a baking mat or a sheet pan with parchment paper and bake them on 350 Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius) for 20-30 minutes until they get a crispy crust. Flip half time! You know they are ready if they are lightly brown and a crust is formed. In my experience with gluten-free cooking and baking, whatever mixture I make it is usually soft when hot, but firms up after cooling. 
  • If you prefer on stove top, take a frying pan and heat it on medium heat. Add a bit of coconut oil or olive oil if you don't have a non-stick pan. Fry them for a couple of minutes each side to give them a nice brown color. 
  • Serving suggestions above the recipe card!!!



Top tips to make perfect eggplant meatballs
  • Immersion blender or food processor - It can be tricky to get the right consistency with immersion blender especially if you don’t have walnut meal and you need to make it using whole or chopped walnuts.
  • Size matters - Baking and frying time depends on the size of the meatballs you make. The smaller they are, the cooking time will be shorter. 
  • Balls or patties - You can make burger-shaped veggie patties, the mixture will hold it together. 


Serving: 1ball | Calories: 100kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 125mg | Potassium: 103mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 23IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg